Straightening with Age: Your Guide to Adult Orthodontic Options

One-third of all Americans don’t like how their smile looks. 

But you aren’t stuck with the teeth you were born with. Getting adult braces can straighten your smile and give your self-esteem a major boost. 

Worried about how the appearance of braces will affect your adult life? Three are many orthodontic options out there that are almost unnoticeable. 

Here’s your complete guide to different types of adult braces and when you need them. 

How to Tell If You Need Braces as an Adult 

There’s nothing wrong with a crooked smile. 

If you like your smile and it isn’t causing you any problems, you might not need adult braces. But there are a few times braces can make your life a lot easier and more comfortable. 

Here are a few common signs you might need braces. 

Crooked or Irregular Teeth

One of the most obvious signs you might need braces is crooked teeth. 

Your teeth can continue to move as you age. This movement can be caused by an injury or even natural growth. Because of this, you might develop a crooked smile over time even if you used to have straight teeth. 

If you have crooked or irregular teeth (some that are bigger than others), it might be time to get adult braces. 

Difficulty Chewing 

Crooked teeth can make the simple task of chewing much more difficult. You might have trouble chewing or biting with certain teeth or have trouble with food getting stuck between some teeth. 

You might also need braces if you’re constantly biting the inside of your cheek or lips. While a few occasional bites are normal, regular bites can mean your teeth are out of place. 

Trouble Articulating 

It can be harder to pronounce words if you have crooked or missing teeth. If you start having trouble saying words that never challenged you before, you should set up an appointment with an orthodontist. 

Inability to Clean Teeth Properly 

If your teeth are crooked or crowded together, food can easily get stuck between them. And this food can be difficult to remove. 

You should consider getting braces if you have a hard time cleaning your teeth properly. Otherwise, you can end up dealing with symptoms of tooth decay instead. 

You Don’t Like Your Smile

This might be the most important reason to get braces on this list. 

Your smile has a big effect on your confidence. People who don’t like the appearance of their smile have lower self-esteem than others, which, in turn, leads to a lower quality of life. 

If you aren’t happy with your teeth, getting adult braces can give you a major confidence boost. 

The Orthodontic Options Available to You

As an adult, you have to upkeep certain appearances, such as a professional appearance in the workplace. You’ll want your braces to reflect that appearance. 

Because of this, there are four main options you should be aware of when choosing your braces. 

Here’s a quick description of each one. 

1. Traditional Braces 

Traditional braces are the most common type of braces treatment. 

They involve brackets, wires, and elastic bands. Your orthodontist will glue a bracket to the front of each of your teeth. The wires run through the brackets, and the elastic bands secure the wire into place. 

The brackets are the anchors of traditional braces. They allow the arched wire to put tension on each of the teeth, which will slowly move them into the right places. You’ll have to go back to the orthodontist to tighten your wires every four to six weeks. 

The elastic bands come in a variety of colors, but you don’t have to get something bright or wild. You can choose a simple grey, black or white for a more professional appearance. 

2. Self-Litigating Braces

Self-litigating braces are similar to traditional braces. However, instead of using elastic bands, these braces have clips that hold the wire in place. This makes it easier to clean around your braces and reduces the friction, which can speed up the process. 

These braces also provide white or clear brackets, so the braces are much less noticeable than traditional braces. 

3. Lingual Braces 

Lingual braces are also similar to traditional braces, but they have one major difference. Instead of securing them to the front of your teeth, your orthodontist will attach them to the inside of your teeth as well. 

This will make your braces invisible to other people. 

But these braces require a lot more customization than other braces. Because of this, they may be more expensive than most other options. 

4. Invisalign 

If you’re concerned about your appearance but can’t afford lingual braces, Invisalign braces might be the best option for you. 

Invisalign braces come with a lot of benefits. 

Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign doesn’t require any brackets, wires, or elastic bands. Instead, they consist of two clear, plastic aligners—one for your top teeth and one for your bottom teeth. 

You can take these aligners on and off again, making it easier to eat and clean your teeth. And since the aligners are clear, it’s almost impossible for other people to notice them while you’re wearing them. 

You can read more here about Invisalign braces. 

How Long Will the Straightening Process Take?

The exact amount of time it will take to straighten your teeth depends on the type of braces you get and your personal circumstances. But in general, the fewer crooked teeth you have, the faster the process will go. 

Be prepared to wear your braces for several months or even over a year. 

Understanding Adult Orthodontic Options 

Your adult orthodontic options aren’t limited to bulky braces and bright colors. You can get adult braces that are small or look nearly invisible. And once you straighten your problem teeth, you can live life with a much more confident smile. 

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