Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on treating malocclusion, which is a misalignment of the jaw and teeth. While braces are traditionally associated with the teenage years, an increasing number of adults are opting for orthodontic treatment as they age.
Types of Orthodontic Treatments
The success rate of orthodontic treatment depends on factors like your age at the start of treatment and the goals of the treatment. Braces are typically highly effective for those who wear them, but the success depends on the individual’s ability to follow the orthodontist’s recommendations.
Your orthodontist’s recommendation for your treatment will be influenced by several factors, including your age and the presence of dental issues like overcrowding or misalignment. Each person’s needs are taken into consideration when creating an orthodontic plan.
Most people think of traditional braces as having metal brackets attached individually to each tooth, connected by a wire. The wire applies pressure to your teeth and jawline. Your teeth gradually shift into their desired positions when the wire is adjusted periodically, and elastic bands are changed during orthodontic sessions.
Additional types of orthodontic treatments include
Invisible Braces, also known as clear aligners, which can be removed and repositioned throughout the day.
Ceramic Braces, which are less conspicuous and blend in with your teeth.
Lingual Braces, which are placed behind your teeth.
How Braces Move Teeth
Braces gradually reposition your teeth by exerting consistent pressure over an extended period. Your jaw gradually adjusts to this pressure, allowing for teeth realignment. Understanding how teeth move can be challenging because people often think it’s directly related to jawbone. However, a membrane connecting your teeth to your jawbone exists beneath your gums. This membrane regulates tooth alignment and responds to the pressure applied by orthodontic braces.
The process of getting braces is not painful, and it typically takes one to two hours. However, during the initial week of wearing braces, you may experience some discomfort. You might also feel some soreness for a few days after each adjustment made by your orthodontist.
When Does Orthodontic Treatment Begin?
The duration of orthodontic treatment varies for each patient, but most people wear braces for one to three years. Commitment to following your orthodontist’s instructions can ensure you wear braces for the shortest duration possible.
How Do Adult Orthodontic Devices Differ from Those for Children?
You might be surprised to learn that you can get braces at any age. However, starting orthodontic treatment early in life offers some distinct advantages. The jaw and underlying tissues are still in a state of growth in youth, making teeth more responsive to movement and the jaw more flexible.
For adults considering braces, factors like pregnancy and underlying medical conditions need to be discussed. Pregnancy or potential attempts at pregnancy may impact your decision to get braces. If you have any significant medical conditions, consult your primary care physician.
Maintaining Your Braces
It’s important to avoid certain foods when you have braces, as they can get stuck between the brackets and your gums. Such foods include hard candies, popcorn, and chewing gum. Be mindful of starchy and sugary snacks that can lead to tooth decay. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings every six to twelve months are essential, even when wearing braces.
Oral Hygiene with Braces
When you have braces, it’s crucial to be extra diligent in caring for your oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth after meals helps prevent food from getting trapped between your braces and teeth. You can use special brushes designed for braces to clean hard-to-reach areas. Flossing should also be done with special orthodontic floss, and it’s recommended to use mouthwash. Visit your dentist for a professional cleaning every six to twelve months.
In summary, orthodontic treatment can be beneficial at any age, and the type of treatment you receive will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. Proper care and maintenance are essential for a successful orthodontic journey.