Does your mind conjure up an image of a young adult with a mouth chock full of metal at the mention of the word braces? If your answer is yes, then you seriously need to reconsider that picture.
Today, everybody wants to straighten their teeth irrespective of their age. In fact, in a bid to get a brighter smile, a fair number of adults are joining the braces bandwagon.
Sunil Wadhwa, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine orthodontics director says this never used to be the case back in the 90’s.
"When I began practicing back then, I couldn’t even manage to have 1% of my clients as adults. As we talk today, half of my clients are adults. "
Elizabeth Stearns, a native of Atlanta, says she got braces when she was 32 years of age. Elizabeth’s aim was to correct a crossbite when her teeth did not align properly. She also wanted to smile better.
Elizabeth then called an orthodontist after examining her options. An orthodontist refers to a kind of dentist specializing in braces.
The orthodontist told her that she would need to stay in the braces for 1-1/2 years. Given what was at stake-an eternity of being happy with her teeth and comfort-Elizabeth thought it was completely worth the wait.
Leslie A Will, a lecturer at Henry M Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, says that today’s teeth stay stronger for longer. According to her, adults did not always keep their teeth, let alone straighten them, a generation ago.
She further adds that people have gone beyond tooth survival. According to her, they want healthier teeth. They want to have better bites, and want their teeth to look great.
Bracing Yourself for Treatment
There are many advantages of braces which include straightening your teeth, spacing out crowded teeth, lining up your jaws to enable you have a better bite and closing gaps in your smile. However, before committing to tooth correction, you need to be sure of exactly what you are getting into. After you have braces, you will be required to:
• Create time for dental visits as you will need to see a doctor every 4-6 weeks. As an adult, you may get very busy at times but you still to create time for checkups.
• Be careful of what you eat. Braces tend to be broken by hard or sticky foods so you really need to avoid them.
• Floss and brush for longer. These appliances on your teeth will make cleaning them more difficult.
Questions to Ask Your Orthodontist
With braces, you are going to see your orthodontist a lot over the period of treatment. For this reason, you need to find someone you are very comfortable with. Below are some of the things you want to find out on your first date with your orthodontist.
• How long will I need to wear the braces?
• What options do I have for my teeth?
• Do you provide payment plans?
• How regularly will I come for a doctor visit?
• How much will these visits cost?
• Does your office accept my insurance?
• What’s the best way to care for my teeth while the braces are on?
• What happens after I get the braces off?
What Options Do You Have?
When it comes to straightening your teeth, there are many options. The treatment method you choose is largely dependent on the way your teeth have to move to perfect your smile.
Regular braces use mild pressure in moving your teeth into the required place over time. Your dentist will have brackets glued to the front side of your teeth and then connect them using a wire. This wire will need to be tightened every 4-6 weeks. This way, your teeth or your jaw or both are moved slowly into place. On average, an adult wears braces for one-and-a-half to three years. The cost of braces ranges from $5000-$6000.
If you don’t find the idea of having a metal smile cool, you may want to try ceramic braces. The brackets have the same color as your teeth, which is good because it makes it harder for people to notice. Ceramic braces cost more than metal braces.
These transparent plastic trays fit over your teeth and also enable you to skip the brackets and wires. They can be taken out so that you eat, brush and even floss. The main disadvantage of clear aligners is the fact that they not stuck to the teeth, which makes losing them very easy.
According to Wadhwa, clear aligners are mainly meant to shift the teeth around. They are not an attractive option if you have a big gap between your teeth that you want to close.
Veneers are thin layers of porcelain with the same color as that of the teeth, and are meant to go on top of your teeth. They offer a great way of fixing small, dull, chipped or stained teeth.
They provide a quick way of improving your smile without necessarily having to move your teeth, according to Wadhwa. But they could come at a huge cost. In certain cases, your orthodontist could shave part of your original tooth before putting them on.
As your teeth get straighter, you will realize that cleaning your choppers is easier. However, according to Adityah Chhibber, a dental medicine assistant professor at Columbia University Medical Center, this is not a cue to stop cleaning your teeth.
"Most people mistakenly think that the reason for their periodontal disease is crowded teeth,” says Chhibber. According to him, these people think that their problems will end the moment they have straight teeth. But available evidence doesn’t seem to support that.
The bottom line is that braces are unlikely to clean your teeth if you don’t do it now. You therefore need to brush up your teeth braces or no.
When do you straighten and when do you wait?
Poor gum health tend to slow braces. Therefore, if you are currently suffering from a gum disease, you may want to wait a little until you are healed before tackling orthodontics.
While this doesn’t mean you won’t ever have braces, the gum disease must be treated first. With regard to age, no time is too late for a perfect smile.
You are good to get braces provided your gums and bones are healthy enough to deal with the forces, according to Chhibber.
"We have patients as young as 8 years and as old as 80 years," Chhibber says.
Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2017 | Tag: General