The Five Ws of Adult Braces

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Braces and teenage years have become synonymous in our culture, but now, more than ever, adults are seeking orthodontic treatment. Currently, in the U.S. there are more than 1.2 million patients ages 18 and older receiving orthodontic treatment.

If you’re an adult considering orthodontic treatment in Texas, check out the five Ws (who, what, when, where, and why) of adult braces.

1. Where can I get braces in Texas?

If you need braces, make sure you see an orthodontic specialist. Your smile deserves it. Your smile isn’t worth the risk of shopping online or seeing a professional who hasn’t received 2-3 years of specialized training to move and align your teeth.

There are many orthodontic offices throughout Texas. Check out the directory of Texas Association of Orthodontists to find a specialist near you.

2.  Who are good candidates for orthodontic adult treatment?

It’s never too late to get your smile on track! Anyone at any stage of life can benefit from orthodontic treatment whether for health or cosmetic reasons. To know for sure, it’s best to consult with a local orthodontic specialist to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

3. What are some common treatment options for adult orthodontics?

Standard Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces have come a long way in both appearance and comfort thanks to technological advances and materials upgrades. They remain the best option for severe orthodontic issues requiring major adjustments to the jaw or teeth alignment. As the fastest and strongest orthodontic treatment available, they’re ideal for those with limited time or an active lifestyle.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are the same size and shape as metal braces, but have tooth-colored or clear brackets that blend into teeth. Some use tooth-colored wires to be even less noticeable. Ceramic braces are best-suited for patients without severe misalignments. Your orthodontic specialist will let you know if you’re a good candidate for ceramic braces after examining your teeth. They’ll also let you know if your treatment time will be extended by choosing these braces.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are similar to metal braces, but are applied to the backside of your teeth. Since they are virtually invisible, they can be a great option for patients who are worried about the appearance of braces. Although they are significantly less noticeable, lingual braces are more challenging to care for than traditional braces as they are more difficult to clean.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are sets of clear plastic trays that you change out every couple of weeks. They are the least noticeable form of orthodontic appliances for adults. You can also brush, floss, and eat normally, as long as you wear the trays for at least 22 hours per day. Aligners are not appropriate for all types of tooth movement, but if your smile qualifies, they’ll work great! A trained orthodontic specialist is best suited to advise you on whether or not you are a candidate.

4. When is the best time to get braces?

Typically, catching orthodontic issues at a young age is ideal, but there is nothing that says you can’t improve your orthodontic health later in life. Keep in mind that most adults wear braces for 12-24 months, but each case is unique. Your orthodontist is the only person who will be truly able to provide an estimate for the length of your treatment, and whether your desired treatment will work for you.

5. Why should I consider braces as an adult?

There are many benefits to orthodontic treatment, regardless of age. A primary benefit is the appearance of having straight teeth after orthodontic treatment, but the benefits go far beyond looks. Crooked teeth, improper spacing, and incorrect jaw positioning can cause various health problems that are improved with orthodontic treatment. These are a few of the health issues that may be impacted by orthodontic treatment:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Issues with chewing, speaking or biting
  • Digestive problems from the inability to chew properly
  • Jaw pain and/or popping
  • Gum and bone erosion
  • Facial pain

If you’re ready to make a change toward bettering your oral health through adult braces, or other treatment, visit a TAO orthodontist. Many of our members provide a free initial consultation.