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    Straight Talk About Braces for Adults

    Questions to Ask Your Orthodontist

    You're going to see him a lot over the course of your treatment, so find someone you're comfortable with.

    Here are few things to find out at your first visit:

    • What options will work for my teeth?
    • How long will I wear them?
    • How do I take care of my teeth while they're on?
    • How often will I need to come in for an office visit?
    • How much will they cost?
    • Does your office offer payment plans?
    • Do you accept my insurance?
    • What happens after I get them off?

    Lining Up Your Options

    There's more than one path to straight teeth. The type of treatment you choose depends on how your teeth need to move to streamline your smile.

    Regular braces: These use gentle pressure to move your teeth into place over time. Your orthodontist will glue brackets to the front of your teeth and connect them with a wire. He'll tighten that wire every 4 to 6 weeks. This slowly moves your teeth or jaw or both into place.

    It depends on your treatment, but the average adult has braces for 18 months to 3 years. It usually costs between $5,000 and $6,000.

    Other braces: If having a metal smile bothers you, ceramic braces are another option. The brackets are the color of your teeth, which makes them harder to see. They usually cost more than their metal cousins.

    Ask about getting braces on the back of your teeth instead of the front to hide the metal brackets.

    Clear aligners: You can skip the wires and brackets with these see-through plastic trays that fit over your teeth. You can take them out to eat, brush, and floss. The downside: They're not stuck to your teeth, and they're easy to lose.

    They're really meant to shift teeth around, Wadhwa says. If you need to close a big gap between teeth, metal braces are the better choice.

    Veneers: These thin, tooth-colored layers of porcelain go on top of your existing choppers. They're a way to fix small, chipped, dull, or stained teeth.

    "Veneers are the quick way to make your smile look better without moving your teeth," Wadhwa says. But they also may come at a cost. In some instances, your dentist may shave off part of your original tooth before he puts them on.

    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

    Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


    or
    Answer:
    Never
    (0)
    Good
    (1-3)
    Better
    (4-6)
    Best
    (7)

    You are currently

    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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