If you are thinking of having orthodontic treatment as an adult you may have some questions you would like answered first.
Why might I need orthodontic treatment?
- To improve the appearance of the teeth and face. Perhaps your teeth have become more crowded with age or have started to drift following gum disease.
- To move teeth prior to crown or bridge work.
- To improve the health of the teeth and gums.
- To improve function i.e to make it easier to eat
Is it always possible to have braces as an adult?
Age is not necessarily a limiting factor. It more often depends on the type of bite you have, the position of your teeth and the condition of both your teeth and gums. For instance, if you have active gum disease, it is important this is brought under control before having a brace.
What types of braces are there?
There are those that can be removed for cleaning, known as removable braces.
The second type of brace is fixes to the teeth and cannot be removed for cleaning. An example of a fixed brace can be seen in the following picture:
Does it have to be so visible?
It is sometimes possible to have tooth colored brackets on the upper front teeth. These are less visible at a distance, although the wires are still likely to be noticeable. Tooth colored brackets are generally more expensive than metal brackets and are more difficult to remove at the end of treatment. They are usually not placed on the lower teeth because they can lead to wear of the opposing upper teeth. It is also sometimes possible to have the brackets placed on the inner side of the teeth (lingual brackets). These are virtually invisible, but are more noticeable to the tongue. They are also more expensive and treatment can take much longer to complete. Only a few orthodontists offer this treatment.
How long will treatment take?
It usually takes 12-24 months but will vary according to how complex your case is.
If teeth need to be extracted who will do this?
Your own dentist will do this.
Is it painful?
Having the braces fitted is not painful. However, it is common to have slightly tender teeth for 3-5 days after each fitting and adjustment appointment.
How often will I need an appointment?
Once your braces have been fitted you will need frequent, usually monthly appointments for them to be adjusted.
Is treatment finished when the braces come off? Do I need to be seen again?
Once the active phase of your treatment has been finished, it will be necessary to wear a retaining brace. This may be removable or it may be fixed behind your front teeth. It is common for both to be given at the same time.
How long are the retainers to be worn?
The fixed ones can be worn indefinitely since they are easy to keep clean and practically invisible. The removable ones need to be worn only while sleeping after a year of use. The longer the retainers are worn, the better the stability.