It's never too late to straighten crooked teeth or a misaligned bite.
While braces may be typically associated with teenagers, advances in dental technology and a number of high-profile celebrities wearing braces and aligners have helped to make orthodontic care more viable for adults. It's estimated that between 20 and 25 percent of orthodontic patients are now over 18.
If you missed out on orthodontic treatment in your teens, or your teeth have shifted since, your dentist or orthodontist may be able to recommend options specifically designed for adult patients. These more discreet orthodontic solutions are made from transparent or tooth-coloured materials to make them less visible in your mouth, so you can straighten your smile without worrying about your appearance.
What are the options?
Your dentist or orthodontist will recommend treatments based on your orthodontic needs and preferences. While adults can still be prescribed traditional metal braces, many prefer to avoid these more visible braces in favour of something more discreet. Treatments may also be preferred if they can be completed in a shorter time frame.
Your eligibility for certain treatments depends on your situation, and will be discussed during your orthodontic assessment. Your dentist or orthodontist will also make sure you know the potential risks and side-effects of each treatments, so you'll have all the information you need to reach a decision you're happy with.
Braces are still the best option for teeth that are more severely crooked or misaligned, as they exert more force than aligners. If you don't like the look of traditional metal braces, ceramic braces offer similar strength with the advantage that the brackets can be colour-matched to your teeth. These braces can be fitted with clear plastic bands that are also less visible in your mouth.
As well as being more subtle, modern ceramic braces are also much smaller and more comfortable than the metal braces of previous decades. You may have to adjust your diet to avoid food that could damage or dislodge your braces, and your speech may be affected temporarily as your tongue learns to adjust. Most braces treatments are completed within 2 years, but this will depend on how much your teeth need to move.
Braces can be even less visible when they're fitted to the back of your teeth. Lingual braces aren't suitable for all orthodontic cases, they tend to be more expensive, and they take longer to adjust during your regular orthodontic appointments. But many adults find them to be the best option for discreet orthodontics.
If you only have a mild to moderate orthodontic problem, you could be suitable for Invisalign®. This treatment uses clear plastic aligners rather than braces, which are custom-made to fit over your teeth. Your dentist or orthodontist will provide you with a new set of aligners every few weeks, which are computer-designed to gradually move your teeth into their desired positions.
Unlike braces, Invisalign® aligners can be taken out when you eat and clean your teeth, but it's still recommended that you wear them as much as possible through the day and night. The length of the treatment depends on the individual, but it's usually completed in 12 months.
Talk to our Brisbane orthodontist
If you'd like to know more about Invisalign® and braces for adults, make an appointment with our orthodontist in Brisbane. Dr Lesley Short helps patients of all ages to correct problems with their teeth and bites and will work with you to develop a personalised treatment plan.
Call Swish Dental today on (07) 3485 0895 (Everton Park branch) or (07) 3485 0875 (Mitchelton branch).