If you’re an adult who’s unhappy with your smile, here’s good news. Braces are just as effective for older people as they are for the young.
In generations past, adults were discouraged from having their teeth straightened. Back then, it was assumed braces worked best for children whose mouths were still growing.
Today, we know otherwise. Braces can create beautiful, lasting smiles for adults, too – even into their 80s. Delta Dental reports more than 1 million Americans over the age of 18 are wearing braces.
It’s not too late to get that perfect smile you’ve always wanted!
On the other hand, you may wonder if correcting your smile now is worth the time and expense. After all, you’ve lived with your crooked teeth this long. The answer is, resoundingly, yes. Bad alignment and related orthodontic issues can lead to health problems as you age. Correcting your smile is about much more than enhancing your appearance.
Here are some of the reasons to consider braces despite your age:
You will have healthier teeth and gums. Straight teeth are easier to clean. Plaque your toothbrush cannot reach contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. And gum disease, or periodontitis, can cause tooth and bone loss and a host of broader health issues. Many adults are surprised in their later years to lose sound teeth because of unhealthy gums and bones.
Your jaw will be healthier, too. An uneven bite can lead to bone loss in your jaw and may be the cause of jaw joint issues, such as temporomandibular joint disease, or TMJ. A bad bite also can cause headaches or jaw pain. Orthodontics usually can correct these problems.
Snoring or sleep apnea may be reduced. Extensive overbite, where your top teeth protrude – the traditional “buck teeth” – can cause your airway to become blocked while you sleep. A partially blocked airway can lead to snoring. If it’s totally blocked, you could experience sleep apnea, which continually disrupts your rest. Sleep apnea is associated with several health issues, including heart problems.
Your self-esteem and confidence will get a boost – with rewarding results. You may think you’re OK with crooked teeth, but if you purse your lips in photographs or cover your mouth when you laugh, you are more self-conscious than you realize. A confident smile has been shown to increase self-esteem, which in turn can open up career and social opportunities. In a 2012 Invisalign study, job applicants with straight teeth were 45% more likely to be hired over people with similar qualifications, but unattractive teeth. In the same study, 38% said they would not accept a second date with someone who has misaligned teeth.
Your happiness quotient may increase. The act of smiling makes you happier. When you know your teeth are beautiful, you’ll smile more often and more radiantly.
If these points have persuaded you, the next step is to see your orthodontist and decide which type of braces is best for you. You have options – and none of them are the clunky metal ones you knew as a child.
Here are the primary choices:
Invisalign. Invisalign braces are clear plastic trays, called aligners, that can barely be seen when you wear them. These aligners are computer-generated at the start of your treatment, and you wear each one in progression for about two weeks. Besides their clear appearance, they are welcomed by many adults because they can be removed for up to two hours each day for cleaning and eating. You won’t need to buy special brushes or eliminate foods from your diet. Our office is a Super Elite Invisalign Provider, a designation awarded only to the top 1% of Invisalign providers nationwide.
Ceramic braces. These braces function much like traditional metal braces except the brackets are clear ceramic rather than metal. Not everyone is a candidate for ceramic braces.
Traditional metal braces. These aren’t the metal braces of your childhood. They are lighter and thinner – and they come in colors that allow you to express your personality or mood. They still straighten your teeth with wires, metal brackets and rubber bands.
And here’s one more choice that appeals to many adults:
Accelerated orthodontics. Some adults balk at spending the traditional two or three years
wearing braces. Accelerated orthodontics – Acceledent, VPro5, Propel are examples – work with your braces to speed up your tooth movement. Typically, along with your braces, you will wear a pulsating appliance for a short time each day. The vibrations help move the teeth through the bone faster, and the procedure can increase bone mass. Not every patient is a candidate for accelerated orthodontics.
Whatever your age, you can have a perfect smile. If you want more information, call us at 916-435-8000 for a complimentary consultation and complete exam. We will discuss your options to help find a treatment plan that is right for you. Cater Galante Orthodontics works with a wide variety of adult patients and specializes in Invisalign and accelerated orthodontics.