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Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?

August 10, 2017

As an adult, you may be experiencing dental problem such as an improper bite or crooked teeth, which make you feel self-conscious. However, as an adult you might be even more afraid or embarrassed to consider getting your smile corrected. You might even be thinking that it's too late for you to fix your teeth.

Thankfully, it is possible to get braces as an adult, and there are multiple options for you to choose from.

How can braces help me as an adult?

Braces work the same in adults as they do for children and teenagers: by applying pressure to your teeth, which gradually realigns them. After you have braces fitted, an orthodontist will consistently adjust them until your teeth are correctly aligned.

However, there are some differences in the process for adults. Harvard Health Publications highlights the concerns that may affect an adult who is interested in braces:

  • Adult bones have completed growing, so surgery may be necessary to address certain orthodontic problems
  • The process may take longer for adults than for children or teenagers. The time taken to straighten teeth varies on an individual basis, but the average treatment time is about two years for conventional orthodontic treatment (much less if you are suitable for faster anterior alignment orthodontics for adults)
  • You may also need to see a periodontist as well as your general dentist and orthodontist to ensure that the treatment is not complicated by bone loss resulting from gum disease

Different types of braces

There are many modern conventional orthodontic options for an adult considering straightening their teeth, including traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, friction-free ligature-less braces, lingual braces and clear aligners.

Traditional metal braces

Traditional metal braces are made up of a bracket, archwire, and ligature. These braces work by placing gentle pressure on your teeth over time to shift them into the desired position. During this process, your orthodontist will adjust your braces every four to six weeks until your teeth are in the correct position.

Metal braces offer a number of advantages:

  • They are stronger than other orthodontic solutions, and last longer than braces made from other materials
  • They are the most affordable conventional orthodontic solution
  • Where other solutions may only be able to cater to specific cases, metal braces can be used in most cases

However, there are also a number of disadvantages:

  • They are the most noticeable and least attractive orthodontic option
  • They may be an issue for some careers, such as models, flight attendants and celebrities
  • Anyone who does a lot of physical activity might be affected by metal braces if they experience a facial injury

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces work the same way as metal braces but are less visible, since they are constructed from a different material.

Ceramic braces have various benefits:

  • Some patients experience less irritation of their gums than with metal braces
  • They offer a better appearance
  • They are reasonably strong

Unfortunately, there are downsides to ceramic braces too:

  • They are more expensive than metal braces
  • The clear or white ligatures can stain
  • They are not an option for more complex cases due to fact that they can support less pressure than metal braces

Friction-free ligature-less braces

Friction-free ligature-less braces don't use elastic or metal ties that older braces do. These braces appear smaller and offer the patient a better appearance than traditional braces, as well as speeding up the process of aligning your teeth.

The ceramic reinforced composite material of the bracket offers a high degree of resistance to wear and staining.

Friction-free ligature-less braces are easier to clean, straighten your teeth faster than other braces, and require fewer visits to the orthodontist for adjustment.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are different from traditional braces in that they are attached to the back of the tooth, making them harder to see. The process of realignment is basically the same, except that pressure is applied from behind instead of the front of the tooth.

Even though lingual braces are more aesthetically pleasing, they have a number of downsides. They cost more than traditional braces, and require more adjustment by your orthodontist. You would also need to avoid any foods that could damage the brace, the same way as you would with regular braces.

Clear aligners

Clear aligners offer patients a highly discreet option. Unlike traditional braces, a clear aligner is a transparent plastic tray that fits over the teeth that can easily be removed and replaced. This makes brushing, flossing and eating easier.

Unfortunately, clean aligners take longer to re-align your teeth, and the ability to remove them means it’s easy to misplace them or forget to put them back in. If your case is too complex, however, you may not be able to make use of a clear aligner.

Now that you understand the orthodontic options that adults have and their advantages and disadvantages, here are the options our orthodontic specialists at Elmsleigh House, Surrey offer:

  • Custom-made lingual fixed appliances
  • Invisalign custom-made clear removable aligners
  • Orthodontic computer-aided smile design with custom-made low friction Insignia fixed appliances
  • Orthodontic low-friction Damon fixed appliances

If you are looking for adult orthodontic options that are discreet and offer you more confidence, Elmsleigh House can provide you with one of our customised options to suit your individual needs.

If you need more information about these options, you can download our guide Straight Teeth with Clear Braces for additional details.  You can also contact The Elmsleigh House Welcome Team at 01252 713797 to find out more about your options and to book an appointment with our clinic in Farnham, Surrey.


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