Posted on August 10, 2021
Orthodontics is specially designed dentistry that focuses on straightening teeth and correcting dental problems. It’s been used for decades, but it’s become a lot more popular in recent years. This is because there are many different types of treatments available nowadays. Because of this, more adults than ever before are choosing orthodontics as a way to correct their teeth and improve their smiles.
An orthodontist has the expertise needed to diagnose problems with your jawbone or how your teeth fit together (malocclusion). They also can tell you if orthodontic treatment can improve the shape and position of your teeth.
Orthodontists commonly offer three types of treatments — braces, retainers, and aligners.
Braces are used to straighten teeth or correct alignment issues between upper and lower teeth. Keep in mind that most people choose a clear-colored archwire for the braces themselves, so they blend in with their smile more easily. They do this by strapping these wires onto your teeth using brackets that will remain on your teeth until the end of treatment, which is typically anywhere from a few months to two years, depending on how severe the problem is.
Retainers are used after braces to keep your teeth straight once the orthodontic treatment is complete. Orthodontists will place these retainers into your mouth and use them to hold your teeth in position. Keep in mind that you’ll still need to wear a retainer at night for about six months after the final visit to the orthodontist.
The third option is aligners, a newer form of treatment specifically geared toward adults who don’t want metal brackets on their smiles but still prefer having straight teeth. Most people choose Invisalign as their choice of aligners, which are removable and look more like a mouthguard than they do traditional braces.
A lot of adults decide to get straightened teeth for aesthetic reasons. This is because straighter teeth look and feel better than crooked ones and are almost always easier to clean. However, they’re also very beneficial if you have a jaw joint problem causing your teeth to move in an incorrect position. Orthodontics will help prevent permanent tooth damage or even the need for more serious oral surgeries by fixing your smile from the inside out.
While orthodontic treatment is generally considered safe, it’s important to remember that everyone responds differently to different treatments. This means that the results you get might be better than expected, or they could also take more time and effort than your orthodontist predicted.
For example, if you’re having braces put on as an adult, there’s a chance that your gums will become sensitive for the first few days. Adults also need to be aware that orthodontic treatment might make it more difficult for them to chew certain foods, such as nuts or popcorn.
Because orthodontic treatment can cause a change in the structure of your jaw, there may be some soreness and discomfort. Also, keep in mind that not every orthodontist is good at treating adults due to their limited number of cases. Ask around for references before choosing someone who knows what they’re doing with adult patients.
The length of time that a typical orthodontic patient will have to wear braces for adults depends on how severe their problem is. For example, a person with mild crowding might have to wear their braces for a few months, while someone with severe crowding and an underbite could wear them for over two years. As always, it depends on the patient’s unique situation.
Generally, the easiest way to know whether you need braces is to get an exam. Most orthodontists require adult patients to come in for a consultation before officially putting them on and starting treatment. During this visit, they will take a look at your teeth, jaw, and bite to determine whether or not you need braces.