Straight Talk About Braces for Adults
It's never too late to perfect your smile -- just ask the increasing number of adults who are rushing to the orthodontist.
The Healthy Smile
Dental professionals say there are also health reasons for having a correct bite.
"With teeth that are in cross bite, teeth that are misaligned, there is an increased chance of plaque buildup, food buildup in between your teeth, which is a trickle-down effect because the more food buildup, the more plaque; therefore, the more concern for periodontal disease and gum disease," Anglin tells WebMD. Improper bite also means you can't chew food properly, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems, he says.
So how do you get that Hollywood smile? There are more options than ever. With traditional braces, you can select metal or clear/ceramic braces, but there are pros and cons.
"Traditional metal braces -- if the patient has a significant bite problem or severely crooked teeth -- are slightly more effective at moving teeth than clear braces. If you came to me and said, 'I want my teeth as straight as fast as possible,' and you had really crooked teeth, then I'd say put metal braces on," Sebastian says.
He says clear braces work fine in most cases but there are some downfalls. The adhesive that holds the bracket in place can stain from dark drinks and smoking, and they cost more than metal braces.
Often, adults hoping to avoid "metal mouth" go the clear route.
"I'm not embarrassed about having [braces] at my age because you see a lot of people now, young adults, even older adults wearing braces," says Ivy Horn, a lawyer in Atlanta who is considering clear/ceramic braces after already wearing metal braces as a teen. "In my field I do a lot of speaking when I am in court a lot. I just think it would look better if I had the clear braces rather than the metal braces so people aren't focusing so much on what's in my mouth but the words that are coming out of my mouth."
Statistics from the October Journal of Clinical Orthodontics show that the average cost of an adult set of braces in the U.S. is $4,800.