Many of our adult patients feel self-conscious about their smiles. One common reason is that that may have crooked teeth that were never straightened during childhood. Do you count yourself in this group? Have you ever considered having braces, even as an adult? If the thought of orthodontic braces immediately brings you back to junior high, where half the kids had metal “train tracks” on their teeth, you might be surprised to learn that there are now many options when it comes to getting your teeth where you want them. Here are some of the products available:
- Metal Braces These are similar to the type worn by pre-teens 20 or 30 years ago, but today’s metal braces are actually quite a bit smaller. They tend to be the least expensive type and are still a very popular choice, particularly for teens and young adults. Kids in particular usually like them because the bands can be just about any color they can think of, so they might choose their school colors, orange and black for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, and so on.
- Ceramic Braces Many adults who decide to get braces choose those made of ceramic. They are the same size as metal braces, but a lot less noticeable because they are either clear or tooth-colored. In some cases, you can see the wires, but in others, they are made to match your teeth. These are more expensive than metal braces, but the extra price can be worth it if you don’t want everyone to notice your braces right away. Another potential drawback is that if you drink red wine or coffee frequently, they can become stained.
- Lingual Braces Lingual braces are metal braces that are attached to the back side (or lingual surface) of your teeth. You will be able to smile at everyone, and no one will know that you have braces unless you tell them, or unless you open your mouth wide to show them off. These are not appropriate for every type of bite; if you have a rather severe misalignment, then lingual braces might not be an option. Also, your orthodontic therapy might take longer, and adjustments may be more difficult as well as more painful than if you went with traditional metal or ceramic braces.
- Invisalign You may have heard of Invisalign, which are touted as invisible braces. Instead of being fixed to the teeth, Invisalign braces can be taken in and out. The way it works is this: A mold is taken of your teeth, and your orthodontist will fabricate your first set of Invisalign braces to move your teeth slightly. You wear the plates for at least 20 hours per day, taking them out only to eat when you are brushing and flossing your teeth. After about three weeks, you return to the orthodontist to get your next set of Invisalign, which will move your teeth a bit more, and so on. If you have a severe misalignment, Invisalign might not be for you, but they are quite effective for mild crookedness. These are great for people who want nearly invisible orthodontic therapy. On the other hand, they are quite a bit more expensive than fixed braces, and because they can be taken in and out, there’s sometimes the temptation to leave them out too much, rendering them ineffective. Of course, as with any removable appliance, they can also get lost or accidentally thrown away, which would raise the cost substantially.
If you want to have your teeth straightened, talk to us about all of your options. We can refer you to an orthodontist if necessary. We want you to be proud of your smile, so don’t hesitate to get dental braces simply because you don’t want to have a “mouth of metal.” With so many options available, there is one that’s just right for you. Call us if you have any questions about how you can enjoy straighter teeth as an adult.