I have always felt self-conscious about my smile and I would like to straighten my teeth – but now that I am an adult I was wondering whether there are any downsides to having braces later in life, and what options there are to make them less noticeable as I don’t particularly feel comfortable with the thought of having the traditional metal braces at my age!
This is a question a lot of parents of patients in our Practice ask us. If improving their bite or smile has always been something they have been meaning to do, then often seeing the results that their children are getting from orthodontic treatment motivates them to do something for themselves.
The number of adults seeking and proceeding with orthodontic treatment is rapidly increasing, probably due to an increase in awareness that orthodontics is not limited to children and teenagers, and that it is never too late to improve your bite and smile.
In a healthy mouth, the biological reaction to orthodontics in an adult is similar to that in a teenager. However, the big downside that most adults see in relation to orthodontics is the aesthetic limitations of the ‘traditional’ metal braces as you have described.
The good news is that there are a wide variety of options that are now available to those seeking a less visible approach to orthodontic treatment.
A simple option includes ceramic braces, which are braces made of a material which blends in with your natural tooth shade, and are therefore less obvious then metal. We also use Suresmile technology in conjunction with braces in our practice. Suresmile uses digital technology to produce custom made wires specifically designed for each individual patient, with the main benefit being a reduction in overall treatment time. Invisalign is another treatment method which is available, but case selection and the suitability of this option is dependent on the degree of difficulty of each case. Invisalign is a series of aligners (like very thin mouthguards) which are worn in a specific sequence to move your teeth. Another aesthetic alternative is lingual braces, which are braces placed on the inside of your teeth. While this option is at first a little more uncomfortable for your tongue, most adults report that they do get used to it and are very happy with this truly ‘invisible’ option with their orthodontic treatment which gives very predictable and stable results in the long-term.
In short, if orthodontic treatment is something that you’ve always wanted to do, it is worth your time to have a consultation with your orthodontist. He or she would then be able to examine you and then outline all the options available to you to suit your treatment needs and lifestyle.
BDSc, MDSc, Grad Dip Clin Dent,MOrth RCS (Ed)