Braces are a common orthodontic treatment used to correct the alignment of crooked teeth. This particular treatment is commonly associated with young adolescents, typically between the ages of 11 and 13. These individuals are not the only ones who can benefit from treatment with braces, however. Adults can also benefit significantly. At First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults, we provide metal braces for adults, helping to improve the quality of your smile as well as your oral health and quality of life.
What are Braces?
Braces are one of the most common types of orthodontic appliances. This treatment involves the use of metal brackets and wires to realign the teeth. Metal brackets are bonded to the front surfaces of your teeth using special dental cement. These brackets are placed during your first appointment and remain in place throughout the duration of your treatment. A wire, which spans the entire arch of teeth, is affixed to each bracket using an elastic O-ring, otherwise known as a ligature. The wires are responsible for moving your teeth and stabilizing them in place when they reach their ideal alignment.
Why Might an Adult Need Braces?
Crooked teeth can significantly impact your life. One of the biggest effects of crooked teeth the effect they have on your smile. Crooked teeth can impact your oral health, increasing your risk for cavities, gum disease, and tooth damage. They also affect your bite and can cause issues like bruxism and TMJ disorder. You may even suffer from chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain.
Typically, metal braces are used to treat younger patients. However, there are a few different reasons why adults may undergo this treatment. One reason is that you may not have been able to afford braces as a child. You may now just be getting around to improving the alignment of your teeth. It is also possible that you may have undergone orthodontic treatment as a child, but your teeth have begun to shift out of alignment again.
Is Treatment Different for Adults?
Braces for adults are fairly similar to braces for younger patients. There are a few differences, however. One of the biggest differences is that as an adult, your jaw has finished growing and developing. The jaws of younger patients are still malleable, making the teeth easier to move. When your jaw is done growing, it is harder, making moving the teeth a bit more difficult. Because of this, treatment times for adults are generally longer. On average treatment with braces for adults may take anywhere from 18 months to 3 years to complete.
Are Braces Painful?
In general, no, braces are not painful. It is not uncommon to experience some minor discomfort each time your braces are adjusted. This discomfort is small, however, and typically dissipates within a few days. It is possible for brackets to rub your intraoral tissues, which can cause sores. Paraffin wax can help.
During your time with braces, it is important that you take care to protect your braces. This means avoiding certain types of foods, such as those that are hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy. These types of foods can dislodge the brackets and bend or break the wires. Taking good care of your mouth during your orthodontic treatment is also important. This is necessary to prevent issues such as cavities and gum disease, both of which can cause delays in treatment.
Braces are an effective treatment for adults and can help to greatly improve your smile, your oral health, and your life in general. For more information, and to find out if traditional metal braces are the right solution for you, call First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults and (203) 292-9595 today.