Orthodontic braces conjure up lots of images, most of them about children and the temporary metallic smiles that they cause. But many strides have been made in the world of dental braces. More adults are now choosing teeth straightening and are glad braces aren't just for kids anymore.
Braces offer a good choice for improving your smile and oral health. Some adults have problem teeth because their parents could not afford getting braces or retainers when they were young. Or perhaps the problem with their teeth is more recent. Now, options are available for correcting them and adult braces provide many advantages.
Crooked teeth or teeth that overlap are harder to clean around. As a result, this serves as hiding places for bacteria that cause bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay.
Protruding teeth or gaps between teeth interfere with your smile and create an uneven bite, but getting braces or orthodontic appliances can straighten crooked teeth and move teeth into proper position.
Adults now enjoy the results of adult orthodontics, which so beautifully provide a healthier-looking smile. Today's braces are much less noticeable than those you may remember as a child. Taking care of your teeth sends the message that you are taking care of yourself, reflecting self-respect and confidence.
The orthodontic appliances of today provide greater comfort and style than in the past. Another feature of modern adult braces is that they work more quickly than the traditional style braces, which means a shorter time to wear them and fewer trips to the orthodontist.
Older dental braces used bands that wrapped around teeth. While these are still available, other braces offer new options. One type features brackets made of metal or plastic, bonded to the teeth and used in conjunction with thin, gentle wires.
Another type of braces stay discreetly hidden from view, using brackets attached to the back of the teeth. Both types require wires to move the teeth into their correct positions. Your dentist or orthodontist will help you decide which style of braces is right for you.
Most patients usually wear full braces from 18 to 30 months, depending on specific treatment needs. When your dental braces are removed, retainers are used to prevent your teeth from repositioning themselves. Your orthodontist will determine how long you will have to use your retainer after treatment is completed.
One thing hasn't changed: if you wear dental braces, regardless of whether they're metal or ceramic braces, you must take care of them. Careful brushing and flossing between them and under wires will keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Avoid eating foods that can break wires and loosen brackets such as those that are sticky (caramels and gum), hard to bite (uncut carrots, apples, and ice), or crunchy (popcorn, nuts, hard candy).
Orthodontic braces can make a world of difference and give you something to really smile about!
By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO