Orthodontic braces are a popular dental appliance that predictably and successfully realigns crooked teeth. Although braces are traditionally associated with pre-teens and teenagers, an increasing number of adults are opting to correct their malocclusions (bad bites) with braces. So much so, that approximately one-third of orthodontic patients today are adults.

Braces are a versatile tool that works regardless of age, though treatment time is significantly reduced for patients who have not experienced gum disease and who are still experiencing jaw growth. While the end results of braces are the same for adults and teenagers, the treatment time will be a bit longer for adults.

How can adults benefit from orthodontic braces?

Orthodontic braces can be used to fix all types of malocclusions. The most common are overbites (when the upper teeth protrude past the lower teeth), underbites (when the lower teeth protrude past the upper teeth), and overcrowding (when there is insufficient space on the arches for the proper placement of the adult teeth).

People of all ages can suffer from malocclusion. Crooked, misaligned, and generally unsightly teeth can lead to low self-esteem and a lack of confidence that affects every area of life. Malocclusion can also cause health complications and difficulty articulating clearly, chewing, and biting.

There are countless benefits to correcting conditions like these. Some of the benefits include:

  • Decreased likelihood of developing periodontal disease
  • Decreased likelihood of tooth injury
  • Reduction in general tooth decay
  • Reduction in digestive disorders

Adult patients may be adamant about using dental braces to correct their malocclusion, but modern orthodontic braces treatments can be modified for the convenience of the patient. There is a wide variety of both fixed and removable orthodontic devices to choose from depending on the patient’s individual condition.

The most common types of orthodontic braces

There are three main types of braces that are commonly used by orthodontists to treat adult patients. They are:

  • Invisalign® – Invisalign uses clear dental trays that fit comfortably over the teeth. They are nearly invisible to the naked eye and are less obtrusive than traditional braces but work in a similar way, applying pressure to the teeth to gently move them into place. However, they tend to be more costly. Also, not all patients are candidates for Invisalign®.
  • Lingual braces – These braces are affixed to the tongue side of the teeth and cannot be seen when the patient smiles. They are made of metal and tend to be more expensive than traditional braces. They may also interfere with normal speech.
  • Traditional braces – These braces are made of metal, clear synthetic, or “tooth-colored” ceramic brackets that are individually cemented to the teeth. An archwire connects the brackets and constantly asserts pressure on the teeth that gently moves them into proper alignment over the course of treatment. Ceramic brackets are generally more comfortable than metal brackets but can become discolored by certain foods, coffee, smoking, and wine. Traditional braces are very strong and do not tend to stain the teeth.
  • Before an orthodontist can recommend a specific orthodontic treatment to their patient, they must first treat any existing dental conditions the patient has, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or excess plaque. Going straight to orthodontic treatment can exacerbate any or all of the patient’s health conditions.

If you have any questions about orthodontic braces, please contact Brooklyn Dentist.