If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance you are an adult who is curious about braces. Maybe it’s because you need refinements following childhood orthodontic treatment, or maybe you are tired of hiding your crooked teeth behind pursed lips. Either way, you have questions about adult braces, and we have answers!
We would of course love to write a blog that answered each and every question about braces, but since we can’t read minds, we are sharing answers to our seven most frequently asked questions regarding adult braces.
No. An estimated 25 percent of orthodontic patients nationwide are adults, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.
Adults make up an even larger percentage of our patient base here in our practice. Everyone wants an attractive smile and with all of the advancements in the field of orthodontics, adults have access to appliances that straighten teeth faster, and in some cases, invisibly.
Top reasons our adult patients seek orthodontic treatment include:
- They want a more aesthetically pleasing smile
- To correct relapse of earlier orthodontic treatment
- Close gaps or spacing between teeth
- Improve function and ability to chew foods
- Decrease tooth wear caused by grinding
2. Will braces damage my teeth?
No. Braces are actually good for your teeth when you consider that straight teeth are healthier teeth. You see, crowded and crooked teeth are difficult to clean, which means plaque is more likely to accumulate on their surfaces. Plaque is a sticky deposit on which bacteria proliferate. The acidic byproducts secreted by bacteria dissolve tooth enamel and lead to decay.
3. Will I have to wear big, metal braces like Miranda from Sex and the City?
Although the mechanics of straightening teeth have remained relatively unchanged since your childhood, we cannot say the same for hardware. Today’s metal braces boast brackets that are 30 percent smaller and we even offer aesthetic options such as clear or invisible braces. Invisible braces are especially popular among adults who want to straighten their teeth without anybody noticing they are wearing braces.
The following appliances provide superior alignment with improved aesthetics adults can appreciate.
Invisalign – A system of clear removable aligners, Invisalign provides aesthetics and convenience. This system can be used to treat a wide range of malocclusions from slight to moderate open bites, deep bites and over bites. Aligners are removed while eating, which reduces the chance of you getting food stuck in your braces during an important lunch meeting. You just have to remember to promptly brush your teeth and replace your aligners, as they have to be worn for 22 hours per day to be effective.
Sapphire or ceramic brackets – Braces with arch wires and brackets still provide treatment of the widest range of malocclusions. Tooth-colored ceramic brackets are less visible than traditional metal, but still offer the same superior straightening results for adults with more complex cases. The only drawbacks are ceramic brackets are more fragile and stain easily. Can you give up red wine and coffee?
Lingual braces– If you don’t want the hassle of removable aligners or the look of traditional arch wires and brackets, lingual braces are a great choice. Each bracket is 100 percent customized and attached to the back (lingual side) of your teeth where they are completely hidden from view. We offer two types of lingual braces at Miami Orthodontics: Harmony and Forestadent ™2D lingual brackets. Harmony is suitable for complex cases, while Forestadent ™ 2D lingual brackets can straighten minor cases in as few as 12 months.
4. Will braces interfere with my speech?
You could say there is a short “break-in” period while your tongue acclimates to the addition of metal or plastic hardware in your mouth, depending on your choice of appliance. You may speak with a lisp for a day or two, but your speech will gradually return to normal.
Some people believe the most difficult style of braces to adjust your speech to is lingual braces, as they are placed on the back of your teeth. But every patient ultimately acclimates to life with the appliances in their mouth. The difference in your speech will likely be unnoticeable.
5. Will I constantly have to worry about food getting stuck in my braces?
That depends. The good news is we offer Invisalign, which can be removed when you eat and brush your teeth. Invisalign is not right for everyone, so we suggest you schedule an initial consultation to determine if you are a candidate.
Other wire and bracket styles add additional surface area to your teeth, which means more nooks and crannies to trap food, but that doesn’t mean you will look in the mirror after every meal and see a broccoli floret stuck in between your brackets.
We suggest our patients keep a toothbrush with them so they can give their teeth a quick brush in the bathroom after a meal. It’s not really an inconvenience when you consider that brushing your teeth after a meal is something you should do whether you wear braces or not.
6. How long will I have to wear braces?
Traditional adult orthodontic treatment takes an average of 12 to 18 months, depending on the complexity of your case.
7. How much will my adult braces cost?
The cost of orthodontic treatment is based upon several factors including the severity of your case, the type of appliance, and the number of office visits required to complete your treatment. For this reason, a consultation is required to provide an accurate estimate.
We accept all PPO dental insurance plans and also provide financing plans to meet the unique needs of each individual. You will find additional financing information here.
If you still have questions about adult braces after reading this blog, please feel free to contact us for a free initial consultation at our office here in Miami. Adult braces are a great way to improve your smile, and we will take our time to make sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed. We will conduct a thorough exam so we can discuss the best treatment for your unique case and give you the opportunity to discuss costs with our financial coordinator. Call today!