Braces are not just for children
In recent years orthodontic treatment of adults has become more common. So what are the reasons for this trend:
- An increased availability of dentistry and orthodontics to all segments of the population has improved public awareness. Age should not deter anyone from having a beautiful smile and a correctly functioning bite – gone are the days when your dentist would say you are too old to have braces! Many adults make their own orthodontic enquiries and appointments directly.
- In some cases where adults experience dental problems the comprehensive and conservative solution usually involves a combination of general dentistry and orthodontics.
- The increased financial independence of adults enables them to receive orthodontic treatment which may not have been available to them as children.
- Technological advances in orthodontics have made braces more acceptable to adults because they are less obtrusive, easier to wear and treatment time is considerably shorter.
- Improvements in dental health mean that more adults are keeping their teeth for life. If you are going to keep your teeth for the rest of your life, why not make them look good?
Orthodontic problems, like crowding, gaps or a bad bite can worsen over time, if not appropriately addressed
Do I need orthodontic treatment?
Regardless of your age, orthodontic treatment will provide you with straight teeth and a distinguished smile. Whilst treatment results in improved self-confidence and satisfaction, the goals of orthodontics are not just the cosmetic enhancement of your smile – there are always significant improvements in the health of your teeth and gums.
Orthodontic problems, like crowding, gaps or a bad bite can worsen over time, if not appropriately addressed. For instance a ‘bad bite’ can end up causing chewing problems, uncharacteristic wearing of tooth surfaces and injury to the supporting bone and gum tissue.
Poor tooth alignment can contribute to pain in your jaw joints and crowded teeth can be hard to clean or maintain, which may eventually lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss.
Another example is when a tooth has been missing for a period of time and the adjacent teeth have tipped into the space, restricting the placement of a bridge or an implant. Orthodontic movement of the adjacent teeth would be the ideal way to recreate the desired space.
Will braces make my life a misery?
Fortunately, braces fit in with almost any lifestyle and you can do virtually anything while you are undergoing treatment – dine out, sing, play wind instruments, have your picture taken and even kiss. Before commencing treatment you should be under no illusions that to reap the benefits, you might have to make a few compromises such as avoiding some hard foods and reducing sugary treats, brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing as often as possible and making regular visits for brace adjustments.
One orthodontist points out that, “In most cases, adult patients adjust very rapidly and adapt sufficiently enough to enjoy their lives. I’ve had many patients tell me that after a while, they don’t notice that they have them on!” Modern technology now allows the wearer to feel more confident with the look and feel of their braces. Some of the appliances available include ceramic (tooth coloured) fixed braces, clear plastic removable moulds that fit to your teeth and lingual fixed braces, which are attached behind the teeth. All of these options allow you to minimise the visibility of the brace.
For you as an individual the orthodontic treatment process is a journey of self-improvement, during which you should always remember to keep your eyes on the end result.
What’s my first step?
In order to clarify if you can benefit from orthodontic treatment, a consultation with a specialist orthodontist is necessary. After observing the condition of your teeth, gums and supporting bones to determine the potential for improving your smile and dental health, the orthodontist will make a decision and inform you of what your treatment will involve and its approximate cost. After you have decided to go ahead, your orthodontist will then make diagnostic records of your mouth, including taking moulds of your teeth, special x-rays and photographs.
Because everyone’s teeth are distinct to them, it is only after a thorough examination of you and your orthodontic requirements, that your orthodontist will recommend the optimum course of treatment for improving your smile.
Can I afford it?
The cost of orthodontic treatment varies, taking into account possible factors including the severity of the problem, brace type and appointment requirements. Before treatment begins, your orthodontist will be happy to discuss the cost with you. To ensure it is affordable there are a variety of convenient payment plans, where the cost of treatment can often be spread over a period of time.
Braces are more affordable now than at any time before, and when you consider the long-lasting benefits of braces, they are definitely worth it!
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