Braces are not just for teens
Many adults, and even older teens, want to straighten their teeth but find metal braces too obvious. There are some styles that are less visible and will help give you a beautiful, healthy smile.
One option is to tone down the color with ceramic braces. Ceramic Braces work like traditional metal braces but they blend into your teeth, making them less noticeable. A clear or tooth colored bracket is bonded to the front of your tooth. Then a thin wire slides into the bracket and is held in place with clear elastic bands called ligatures. As the wire gently puts pressure on the teeth, they straighten.
Ceramic braces are a lot less noticeable than metal braces. Some people think they are even more comfortable. They are not as strong as metal braces, so they take a little longer to work. The ligatures can stain, but you get new ones every four to six weeks. As with metal braces, certain foods are offlimits.
Your next option employs a new technology that is virtually invisible. These clear plastic aligners fit over your teeth and gradually straighten them.
First, we take x-rays and impressions of your teeth along with photographs of your current smile that will be sent to the lab. There, a model is cast and a 3D scanner makes exact animations of your treatment plan. In about four weeks, you get a series of clear, plastic aligners.
You change aligners about every 2 weeks, taking them out just to eat, brush and floss. Your dentist or othrodontist will give you two or three aligners at a time, and most people need 12 to 48 aligners.
Clear aligners have some distinct advantages over metal braces: There is no metal to rub against your mouth, so they are more comfortable. Because they are not glued to your teeth, you do not have to change your brushing and flossing routines, and they usually work faster. However, they are not right for people with complex orthodontic needs, and for aligners to work, you must wear them consistently.
A third option is totally invisible. An impression is taken of your teeth and sent to the lab where the brackets are custom made. On your next visit the brackets are placed on the backside of your teeth. Then, the arch wire and ligatures are attached.
Lingual braces are a good choice for many professionals, when appearance really matters. Because they are placed on the backs of the teeth, they are completely invisible to others.
Metal braces are the strongest and work best for complex cases. Lingual braces do take some getting used to. You wont always know when food is getting stuck in your braces. They are expensive, and not every orthodontist can provide them.
Your dentist and orthodontist will recommend the best treatment for you. But, it is never too late to have a beautiful, healthy smile