Adults can certainly benefit from orthodontic braces. Braces are used to correct a misaligned bite, also known as malocclusion. Many patients get braces in their teen years, however, adult braces are more common than you may think. In fact, one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 18. Many adults are hesitant to get braces, due to the visible metal wires and brackets.
However, braces can be incredibly beneficial for adults who have misaligned teeth. Aside from creating a straighter smile, the benefits include improved confidence and self-esteem, reduced risk of cavities, improved speech, and a more effective bite. You are never too old to improve your smile with braces.
Reasons Adults Get Braces
There are many reasons why an adult may need to get braces. Whether it is to improve confidence, straighten a smile that has become crooked over time, or improve oral health, your dentist can work with you to achieve your smile goals and create an orthodontic treatment plan based on your needs.
A Straighter Smile
Often, adults choose to get braces to correct a misaligned smile that has affected their lives for quite some time. It is common to see adults who did not have the ability to get braces as children, seek orthodontic treatment later in life. Conversely, some adults grow up having aligned teeth, only for them to get older and have their bite change.
The jaw changes over time and crooked teeth can occur when wisdom teeth grow in. In some cases, the patient may have experienced tooth loss or injury that caused the teeth to shift out of alignment. In each case, however, the main goal of orthodontic braces is to straighten the teeth for the patient.
Improved Oral Health
A straight smile may be required for dental health purposes. Patients that experience severely crooked, crowded teeth are more susceptible to gum infections and cavities, because these types of bites are very difficult to keep clean.
More complex cases of tooth misalignment still require braces, rather than Invisalign. Invisalign has come a very long way. However, for patients with open bites or severe misalignment, braces are still the gold standard in orthodontics. They are more versatile and allow for constant pressure on the teeth, they cannot be removed, and are used for teeth that require more complex rotation and straightening.
Key Benefits of Adult Braces
Improved Oral Hygiene
In many cases, patients do not simply seek a straighter smile for aesthetic purposes. Malocclusion can take a toll on your overall health. Patients with crooked teeth find it much more difficult to thoroughly brush and floss their teeth and can end up missing cavity-causing bacteria. As a result, patients with crooked teeth are more susceptible to infection such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even root canals. Braces straighten the teeth and reduce the patient’s risk of infection as a result.
Patients who are self-conscious about their crooked teeth can feel a sense of lowered self-esteem. Many describe having to hide their smiles for photos and smile with their mouths shut. Part of the goal of orthodontic treatment is helping to improve the aesthetics of a patient’s teeth, as well as the overall bite. Even though braces are often seen as less aesthetic than the alternative, Invisalign, they have the same effect. They create lasting, even, and beautiful smiles.
Speech and Pronunciation
Adults with misaligned teeth can have difficulty with proper speech and pronunciation. Malocclusion can affect speech due to the fact that we use our teeth, tongue, and lips to shape, speak, and pronounce words. When one of those factors is out of place, speech disorders such as lisps can develop.
When a patient has straight teeth, their bite is aligned, stronger, and more effective. They are at less risk of injury and have improved capacity for chewing and grinding down food. When the teeth are aligned and in place, chewing and thus digestion can be greatly improved.
Effectiveness of Adult Braces
There is some misconception about getting braces as an adult. Orthodontic practitioners often get asked if braces are more effective when they are placed on younger patients. This is false – braces can be incredibly effective at any age. The reason this misconception exists is because it’s true; it’s more common to place braces and treat younger patients. This is because their jaws and teeth are still settling into alignment.
Braces can be used in teens as a preventative measure, to catch the misalignment early, and keep it from becoming more severe. Treatment in youth can be faster because the teeth are still growing, however, adults will see the same results as younger patients despite the teeth being fully grown into place.
Adults could simply require a longer treatment time, to move more severe malocclusion into alignment. Treatment time varies for every individual and most patients, whether they are youth or adults, require braces for 6 months to 2 years.
Visit VCCID for an Orthodontic Consultation
If you are thinking of getting braces, a consultation is a good place to start. Dr. Balogh and his team are incredibly knowledgeable in the field of orthodontics. You can ask questions about the procedure and our team will develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. If you are looking for adult braces in Burnaby, visit our Metrotown office and get started on your new smile today.