If you’re looking into teeth straightening options as an adult, you might assume that orthodontic treatment will take a heavy toll on both your lifestyle and budget. But with modern options and plenty of good reasons to do it, taking your first steps toward orthodontic care as an adult doesn’t have to be the hardest thing on your to-do list.
Benefits of Teeth Straightening
A perfect smile isn’t the only benefit of straightening your teeth.
“Straightening your teeth is more than just for cosmetic purposes and reasons,” Lewis Chen, DDS at Finesse Dental Partners, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “It is for biologic and functional reasons, such as better hygiene management and better control of wear and tear of teeth.”
Even if you’ve had dental work done in childhood, teeth shift over the years. These gradual shifts can lead to crowded teeth that are difficult to clean. Overcrowded teeth can also contribute to tooth decay, plaque build-up, and gum disease. Teeth straightening during the adult years can correct these shifts.
You might be wondering if orthodontia will clash with your routine, but with more comfortable and less visible options, as well as options that produce results more quickly, it is possible to find a solution that fits your lifestyle.
“In fact, this process is far from disruptive because the ultimate goal will lead to less dental work in the future,” says Chen. “No matter the cost of this treatment, it is a commitment to your general and oral health.”
Teeth Straightening Options for Adults
If you’re considering orthodontics as an adult, you might think that you missed your chance to straighten your teeth while you were younger. The good news is that braces aren’t only for children and teens. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists has noted that adults are seeking orthodontic care in record numbers. And braces aren’t the only treatment option available. Current orthodontic options for adults include:
Clear dental aligners.Aligners are transparent and custom-made to fit tightly over your teeth. You’ll get a set of aligners and switch them out for the next set on a regular basis—usually between 1 and 3 weeks. Aligners apply pressure that gradually shifts the teeth. Though you’ll wear them almost all day and while you sleep, you can remove them to eat or drink. This is a major benefit of aligners. However, you’ll also have to commit to wearing them for long periods of time—even if they are initially uncomfortable.
Metal braces. Braces are a system of metal wires and brackets that are attached to your teeth. Elastics secure the brackets to your teeth, while the wires exert pressure to align them. Your orthodontist will adjust these wires throughout your treatment process to guide the alignment process. Some do not like the aesthetic appearance of metal braces, nor the extra dental hygiene that they require in order to keep your mouth healthy.
Ceramic braces. These braces work in a similar fashion to metal braces, but the brackets are made of a tooth-colored ceramic material instead of metal, which helps them blend in better with your teeth. However, you’ll still need to take extra care to keep them free of plaque and stay away from certain types of foods that can cause damage.
Teeth straightening surgery. During this procedure, also known as corrective jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery, a surgeon operates on your jaw to repair misalignment in the teeth or bones. Because this procedure is primarily used to repair functional problems rather than cosmetic ones, not everyone is a candidate for it. It is also a serious procedure that entails a healing process of at least 6 weeks. You’ll likely be required to wear braces after the surgery, and the entire process can take several years.
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