Orthodontic treatment is a branch of dentistry that involves the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of teeth and jaw alignment issues. A priori, it does not imply the pursuit of esthetic results. The concept of a perfect smile happens also to be the concept of good dental health.
It is important to note that orthodontic treatment is not just cosmetic; it can also improve oral health and function. Whether you are a teenager or an adult, it is never too late to consider orthodontic treatment. Crooked teeth and misaligned bites contribute to poor dental hygiene and oral infections.
Just like the rest of the bones in your body, your teeth need to occupy a specific place in your mouth in order to function correctly. Orthodontic treatment is and has always been a matter of health.
The most common orthodontic treatment is braces, which use pressure to move teeth into the correct position over time. While many people associate braces with children and teenagers, it is never too late to consider orthodontic treatment. If you are interested in braces or other orthodontic options, consult with your orthodontist to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
Adults also have more options for orthodontic treatment than ever before. In addition to traditional metal braces, there are clear braces, lingual braces (which go in the back of your teeth), and even clear aligners like Invisalign. These options can make orthodontic treatment more discreet and comfortable for adults who may be self-conscious about wearing braces.
What Are the Benefits of Orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment has many benefits, including functional bite and solving coextending problems like facial symmetry or overall health-related complications.
One of the primary benefits of orthodontic treatment is improved oral health. Crooked or misaligned teeth can be difficult to clean, leading to a higher risk of cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems. By straightening the teeth, orthodontic treatment makes it easier for patients to maintain good oral hygiene and reduce the risk of dental problems.
How can orthodontic treatment improve a patient’s functional bite? When the teeth and jaws are not properly aligned, it can lead to problems with chewing, speaking, and even breathing. By correcting these issues, orthodontic treatment can improve a patient’s overall quality of life. You need your teeth to sit in the right position to perform these activities.
Although orthodontics has medical purposes, people often seek teeth alignment for aesthetic reasons. Crooked or misaligned teeth can be a source of embarrassment or self-consciousness, but orthodontic treatment can help patients achieve a straighter, more attractive smile. In cases of severe underbites or overbites, teeth straightening can also help to correct facial symmetry issues.
Orthodontics can sometimes have health-related benefits beyond the mouth. For example, correcting a bite problem may alleviate jaw pain or headaches that misalignment of teeth and jaw cause. Additionally, improving the alignment of the teeth and jaw can sometimes help to address sleep apnea or other breathing problems.
This is a statistical fact. One significant factor is that dental problems become more apparent as we age. Over time, teeth may shift or become misaligned, leading to issues such as overcrowding, bite problems, and crooked teeth. These issues can not only affect the appearance of the teeth but can also lead to functional problems.
Nowadays, advances in orthodontic technology make treatment more accessible and comfortable for adults. Today, there are a variety of treatment options available, including clear aligners, lingual braces, and self-ligating braces, which are less noticeable and more comfortable than traditional metal braces.
Although orthodontic treatment has a preventative approach, for adults who already have existing dental problems, teeth straightening can help to reduce their impact. For example, correcting a malocclusion problem can relieve pressure on the jaw joint, reducing the risk of TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), which is often a cause of mandible pain and requires surgical intervention.
Crooked teeth can imply teeth wear, so a straighter smile is more likely to last until you are old.
The irruption of clear aligners has also been a game-changer for adults who did not want to wear conventional braces.
How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take for Adults?
The length of orthodontic treatment for adults varies depending on the severity of the dental issues being addressed, the type of treatment, and other individual factors. Therefore, there is no definite answer to how long orthodontic treatment takes for adults.
In general, teeth displacement indeed requires more time to occur in adulthood than during childhood or adolescence. However, it is still possible for adults to undergo orthodontic treatment and achieve successful results. The treatment plan is for an orthodontist to tell after evaluation.
During the initial consultation, the orthodontist will evaluate the patient’s dental issues and discuss the most appropriate treatment course. This may involve traditional braces, clear aligners, or other orthodontic appliances. Your orthodontist should provide an estimate of how long you can expect the treatment to take.
The duration of treatment can range from a few months to several years. The average treatment length is around one or two years.
In conclusion, it is never too late to improve your smile and the function of your bite with the help of a licensed orthodontist.
What Are the Teeth Straightening Options for Adults?
Healthy adult teeth can undergo orthodontic treatment with several options, including:
- Traditional metal braces: These are metal brackets and archwires that an orthodontist attaches to your teeth and adjusts over time to gradually move them. Conventional braces are still the most effective method for correcting malocclusions.
- Ceramic braces: These work similarly to traditional braces but use clear or tooth-colored brackets and wires, making them less noticeable.
- Lingual braces: These are similar to traditional braces, but with the difference that your orthodontist attaches the brackets and wires to the back of your teeth, making them invisible from the front. They can be more difficult to clean.
- Clear aligners: These are a series of custom-made clear acrylic trays to fit over your teeth and gradually shape their new positions. They are removable and transparent, which is why Invisalign is now a popular choice for adults.
- Self-ligating braces: These work and look similar to traditional braces but use clips instead of elastic bands to hold the metal wires in place, reducing friction and discomfort. They may also require fewer adjustments and have shorter treatment times.
The best teeth straightening option for an individual depends on their specific dental issues, personal preferences, and budget. A consultation with an expert orthodontist can help determine the best one for you.
Invisalign and braces are both effective teeth straightening options, but they have different pros and cons. The choice between Invisalign and braces will depend on the individual’s dental issues.
Pros of Invisalign
- Discreteness: Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible, making them for adults who do not want to wear braces.
- Comfort: The smooth plastic of Invisalign aligners is less likely to cause discomfort or irritation than metal brackets and archwires.
- Removability: You can remove clear aligners for eating, brushing, and flossing, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene during treatment.
- Fewer office visits: Invisalign treatment typically requires fewer office visits than braces, as you get new aligners every two weeks on average.
Cons of Invisalign
- Malocclusion severity: Invisalign aligners may not be effective for treating severe malocclusion or other complex dental issues.
- Self-discipline: Orthodontic patients must wear invisible aligners for at least 22 hrs. per day to be effective, which requires more self-discipline than braces.
- Cost: Invisalign treatment can be more expensive than braces, depending on the complexity of the case, since you could need more trays than other patients.
Pros of Braces:
- Effectiveness: Braces are highly effective for treating complex dental issues to the point where they are the only viable options for severe malocclusion.
- Cost: Braces can be a more affordable option than Invisalign, depending on the case.
- Customization: You can customize them with colored bands or brackets, making them a popular choice for children and teenagers.
Cons of Braces:
- Discreteness: Braces are visible and can be noticeable, which may be a concern for some individuals.
- Discomfort: Braces can cause discomfort or irritation, especially in the first few weeks of treatment.
- Oral hygiene: Braces can make it more difficult to maintain good oral hygiene, as food can get stuck in the brackets and wires.
Checking the score, Invisalign may be a better option for individuals with mild to moderate malocclusion who value discreteness and comfort, while braces are a better option for patients with severe malocclusion or who prioritize affordability and effectiveness over esthetics.
If you’re considering teeth straightening treatment, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with an experienced orthodontist. At our dental practice, we offer a variety of options, including teeth treatment in Newburyport.
Our team of skilled professionals, led by Dr. Pavlo, will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific goals.
Don’t let crooked teeth or bite problems hold you back from feeling confident in your smile. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment and take the first step toward a straighter, healthier smile.