Did you know that the history of orthodontia dates back as far as the Ancient Greeks, the Romans, and the Etruscans?
We’ve come a long way since the orthodontists of that time recommended pushing and filing to correct alignment issues. And while children aged 9-14 are still the most common patient for braces, the number of adult patients grew by 40% between 1989 and 2012.
If you’re thinking about getting adult braces, you’d be joining nearly 1.5 million other adults. But there are a few things you should know about braces for adults before you get the process started.
Keep reading for the top 5 most important things you should know about adult braces.
1. Braces Fix More than Misalignment
Some adults who had braces when they’re younger may be surprised to learn that they need them again. That’s especially true for those who didn’t wear their retainer or maintain the work they had done. Others will find out they need braces because their teeth shifted after having wisdom teeth or another tooth removed.
But braces aren’t just about correcting your alignment. While getting straight teeth is part of the goals of adult braces, they can fix a lot more than that.
Orthodontists may also suggest braces to correct your bite. Your bite is basically how your upper and lower teeth fit together. If you have a normal bite, the upper teeth sit just over your lower teeth and your molars fit with your opposite molars.
If your bite isn’t ideal, there may be grinding and abrasion. Left untreated, an abnormal bite can lead to headaches, problems chewing, problems speaking, and even TMJ.
Other than that, your orthodontist may suggest braces to fix gaps in the gum line, impacted teeth, and crowded teeth. All that to say that straightening your teeth is only part of the role of adult braces.
2. You Play a Role In Your Success
How long your braces take and how successful they are at doing their job has a lot to do with you. You play a role in how successful an orthodontic treatment like braces is. There are a few things you can do to maximize the benefits.
First, don’t miss check-ups. Check-ups are crucial to staying on schedule and for making important adjustments. These check-ups are an opportunity for your orthodontist to check the progress and make corrections, so don’t miss them no matter how busy you might be.
If you opt for invisible aligners, you need to wear them at least 20-22 hours every day. You can take them out to eat, brush, and floss, but they should immediately be put back in. You’ll cause delays in the process should you wear them for less than the recommended time.
You should also remember that eating certain foods can damage adult braces. Depending on how busy your orthodontist is, that may mean sometime before you can get them fixed and back on track. Avoid biting into apples, eating popcorn, and chewing bubble gum.
Lastly, having braces is not an excuse to not care for your teeth. You should still be brushing and flossing while you wear your braces. Actually, you should be brushing even more to remove any debris from your braces and ensure you have a bright smile when the brackets are removed.
3. Don’t Set Your Heart on Invisible Brackets
Invisible aligners and invisible brackets are popular because they blend in with your teeth and make your braces less conspicuous. For adults, who are self-conscious about getting braces, they’re especially coveted. But these types of braces aren’t compatible with the majority of adults who need braces.
Listen to your orthodontist if they tell you that you’re not a candidate for an invisible option. Disregarding their opinion means you could run into delays and complication that lead you to need metal brackets anyways.
4. Braces for Adults Aren’t Painless
Getting your braces put on is – like many dental treatments – not comfortable. It takes up to two hours of your orthodontist moving around in your mouth. Following the appointment, you’ll likely feel pressure in your mouth and a dull ache.
Remember that you’re going to have brackets on the front of your teeth and your mouth isn’t used to that. That means you might get some sores on the inside of your mouth, especially on the lips and gums.
Going to have your braces tightened is another uncomfortable experience. For a few days after having them tightened, you’ll feel the pressure and pulling on your teeth. But that fades within 2-3 days of the tightening.
5. Costs and Timelines Vary By Patient
The cost of braces for adults is wide and varied. Factors influencing your cost are:
- the orthodontist in question
- the location of the clinic
- your age
- the materials used
- the length of time the braces are needed
- the presence of any complicating issues
- pre-treatment requirements
The average cost of braces for adults ranges from $5,000-$6,000. Keep in mind that invisible braces tend to cost more than the traditional type.
Braces can be costly, but adult braces are generally considered an essential treatment. As such, many dental insurance plans will help cover the costs.
In the same way that costs vary, so does the amount of time you’ll have to wear your braces. While children generally only need braces for an average of two years, adult braces take a bit more time to work.
You can expect to wear your braces for as little as 18 months and as long as 3 years. For invisible braces, the process is even longer.
More Health-Related Top 5’s
Braces for adults are a little different than braces for younger people. Because the teeth have stopped growing by adulthood, adult braces take a bit longer, cost a bit more, and might be fixing more than just alignment. But more and more American adults are opting to have this treatment later in life.
Ultimately, your dental health is a part of your health in general. And we’ve got all the health-related top 5’s you’ll ever need to know. Check out our blog for more.