Orthodontic treatment and braces are not just for kids.
It’s not only children who want a better smile.
Most adults get orthodontic treatment because they know that your smile is one of your most important features.
As you get older you want to keep a smile that makes you look good rather than haggard.
The fact is that many people did not get braces when they were young.
That may be because their parents could not afford it at the time or that their teeth could not be fixed with the techniques then available.
Now they may have problems with their teeth and gums or perhaps they get indigestion a lot or maybe they are just unhappy with their smile.
Now they have the money and the treatment they need is available so they are going to take advantage.
There are also many people who did have orthodontic treatment when they were younger but did not get the full benefits as they stopped wearing their retainers.
Even after wearing braces, their teeth may still be crooked.
Now up to a quarter of orthodontic treatment is on adult patients.
Orthodontic treatment goes slower when you are older, and it feels different.
But people as old as 90 are getting braces.
It’s never too late to take care of yourself and have a great smile.
Some people think orthodontic treatment is only for teenagers but truth is you can get it at any age.
Your jaw is growing the quickest when your are 8 or 9 so it is usually best to expand your jaw and reshape your mouth at that age.
Permanent teeth usually come in around 12 or 13 and that is normally the best time to start full orthodontic treatment.
However some children as young as 4 start orthodontics early to avoid a problem later on.
You can get braces at any age but as you get older the treatment takes longer and hurts more.
By time you are 20, you may need surgery to expand your jaw. However, adults as old as 90 can get orthodontic treatment to fix crooked teeth.
Orthodontic treatment works best and is the least painful around ages 8 to 14 so it’s usually best to start orthodontic treatment that age.
An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed extra study in how to straighten teeth by bringing the teeth, jaw bones and facial profile into proper alignment.
The best time for a child to visit an orthodontist is between the ages of five and seven.
They are already beginning to get permanent teeth and any problems from overbite and crowding will be noticeable.
As most growth happens before age 10, it is easier to achieve the desired outcome before that age.
Even in the teenage years, results may be less effective and sometimes teeth may even need to be removed.
Visiting an orthodontist when children are younger can therefore help to ensure any possible problems are dealt with early at minimum cost and inconvenience.
Orthodontic treatment can deliver results at any age but taking action early could save money while giving your child a better smile.
Crowded or crooked teeth known as malocclusion not only spoil your smile, they also increase your risk of dental health problems.
Corrective procedures and appliances such as braces straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment.
Malocclusions are often noticed around ages 6 12, when the adult teeth begin to erupt.
The process of straightening out teeth, known as orthodontic treatment, often begins between ages 8 and 14. The best results are obtained when a child begins treatment while they are still growing.
This means its a good idea for a child to have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. At this stage, they have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth.
Its possible for braces to work later and even in adults but there are many advantages in starting as soon as possible.
Your dentist will be able to spot problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth early on, while the primary teeth are present.
Thats why regular dental examinations are important.
For adults, its not too late to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw position or jaw-joint disorders. The biological process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age.
The difference is that adult treatment takes a little longer than a child’s treatment. As an adult’s facial bones are no longer growing, certain corrections may not be accomplished with braces alone.
But, whatever your age, it’s never too late to improve your dental health and improve your smile.
While modern braces can be comfortable and inconspicuous, there are some extra steps you can take in your central hygiene to look after them better.
Firstly, you need to continue brushing your teeth regularly – your dentist will show you the best approach.
You should also continue flossing daily and making regular visits to the dentist.
When you wear braces, it’s especially useful to limit any snacks between meals.
There are also some foods that your dentist may advise you to avoid such as nuts, popcorn, hard candy, chewing gum or caramel.
Some of these may interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires.
When you wear braces, you can still enjoy sports and other leisure activities.
Your dentist may recommend a protective mouth guard to cut any risk of injury to the mouth or jaw.
When you follow good oral hygiene practices, you can continue to wear braces comfortably while making a big difference to your smile and your dental health.
Here are the answers to some common questions about what it like to have braces
What is it like having braces?,
When you have braces, you will probably find your mouth sore for a few days. It can also be uncomfortable when the braces are tightened. However, most of the time you probably won’t even notice them.
Do braces hurt?
It can depend on which type you choose but usually modern braces will not hurt except for the first few days or when they are tightened.
While the manufacturers are always looking for ways to make them more comfortable, a little discomfort at the beginning is still common. You will be able to take some painkillers if necessary. The pain may be greater if you start orthodontic treatment when you are an adult.
Will it be embarrassing to wear braces?
Over 70% of teenagers wear braces and therefore most people have some experience of them so there is no need to feel embarrassed. If you start treatment when you are an adult, the proportion of people wearing braces is lower but you will still find most people supportive.
Will braces cause sores in my mouth?
Sometimes you might experience sores on your lips in the first few days. These can easily be rinsed in water or special solution and will usually heal within a week or so. You can also put wax on the braces to prevent the braces from rubbing and irritating the sore.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
It varies a lot depending on exactly what changes need to happen in your mouth. When started young it may last a few months. From the age of 12, it can take a year or two and perhaps more for adults. However it depends very much on your personal situation and your orthodontists will be able to advise you.
Braces are devices which are used to straighten teeth, correct bite problems and fix irregular teeth.
They are made of three basic parts:
– Bonding (or band)
– Arch wire
The bonding is used to fix the brackets to the teeth.
The arch wire goes through the brackets and is held in place with small rubber bands.
The brackets and arch wire work together to move the teeth into new positions to straighten the teeth.
The arch wire works by putting pressure on the brackets to help move the teeth into the desired new position.
When pressure is applied to your teeth like this, they loosen slightly from the gums. Bone grows in to support the tooth in its new position but this takes time so the process needs to be done slowly.
That’s why you may have to wear braces for about two years and adjustments are only made every few weeks.
The arch wires work because they want to keep their original shape and will exert a great deal of pressure to do this. It is the combination of this aim of the arch wire and the person’s body heat that puts pressure on the teeth.
Braces are not always enough on their own to complete the task so the orthodontist may also use rubber bands or other devices to help pull the teeth in the correct direction.
After you have finished with the braces, you may need to wear a Retainer for a few months to hold the teeth in position until the bone has fully grown into place.
Most people get used to braces quickly and wear them for as long as they need to with no problems.
However, occasional problems can arise and taking the right steps enables you to resolve them quickly.
Here are some examples of problems that may arise.
Allergic Reaction: Some people can have an allergic reaction to the elastic or the metal used in braces. Alternative materials can normally be used so it is important to let your orthodontist know of any allergies.
Mouth Sores: There may be irritation due to some parts of the braces. This is more commons in the early stages but there are many products available such as oral rinses and dental wax that help heal sores quickly.
Build Up of Plaque: It is important to keep up your regular oral care routine of brushing and flossing to prevent food building up around braces as this can lead to build up of plaque which can cause tooth decay and bad breath.
Damaged Braces: Braces can be damaged if not cared for properly. Certain hard or sticky foods can cause damage as can mouth injuries when playing sports. If damage occurs frequently, it can mean the treatment takes longer.
Arch Wire Movement: If the arch wire becomes displaced, it can cause irritation and mouth ulcers. Dental wax helps but it is usually best to have the damage fixed by an orthodontist.
Discomfort: Pain and discomfort may occur after first installation and also after any adjustments but these usually pass quickly.
A lot of effort is made to help teenagers feel better about having braces.
However as around 70% of teenagers need braces, it’s a very common experience.
Yet adults can also need braces and it is less common amongst their peers so adults often have more issues about what other people think of them when they go to work and to social events with braces.
Feedback suggests many men feel a bit geeky with braces while women often feel unattractive.
Of course, some adults don’t care what other people think but many do.
The fact is the braces may seem like a big deal for you, especially at first because they are in your mouth. However, most other people barely notice or may just mention it in passing.
Many adults wore braces as kids or have kids who are in braces.
They are likely to be sympathetic and may even admire you for taking action to improve your appearance.
Several high profile actors and musicians have also worn braces as adults and this makes it much easier.
Of course, you may need to be prepared to answer questions – especially when some people meet you for the first time. So you may need a plan for dealing with certain events such as important business meetings.
The early stages of orthodontic treatment can be a little harder for adult patients than for teenagers.
Teenagers have the benefit of getting treatment while they are still growing and their mouth is more flexible.
In some cases, adults will need to have teeth removed or will require surgery to expand their jaw to make room for moving the teeth. This may not be fun but anaesthetics and painkillers make this a short-term concern compared to the long-term benefits.
When the orthodontist actually puts in your braces, your mouth may be tender for a few days though this should clear up quickly.
Beyond that, the only time you are likely to notice your braces is when you have them tightened.
Some adults say that they feel like their teeth have come loose at the beginning.
The reason is that when you are older your teeth are more firmly anchored into your jaw.
The orthodontist needs to loosen the little filaments that anchor your teeth before the teeth will move.
This can mean your teeth feel loose. However, the feeling is no reason for concern. They will tighten again after the orthodontic treatment.
Beyond that, the basics of orthodontic treatment are the same at any age. Your mouth will feel tender for a few days after you first get the braces and you will experience some discomfort when your braces are tightened.