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Orthodontics for Adults

female patient with dental

Orthodontics isn’t simply about straight teeth but can make a difference to your appearance, your bite and your overall oral health. It’s a specialty that blends science and art.


Braces today come in many different shapes, materials and sizes. In general, no brace is predictably quicker. Each of the three broad categories has advantages and disadvantages to consider

Traditional fixed braces(train tracks)

Tried and tested over many years, traditional brackets and wires are very effective systems for moving teeth. They come in different styles for both the back and the front of the teeth with minor variations in design and appearance. Today there are less visible options that feature clear brackets or braces placed behind the teeth (lingual braces).

Removable clear aligners

These mouth guard style aligners are individually made for you and your teeth. You are given anew aligner every few weeks to move your teeth into a new position gradually.

Orthognathic treatment

For a small group of adults, braces alone will not achieve the improvement they need and they will also undergo surgery to change the position of the jaws.


The reasons for wanting straight teeth in adult life are many and varied, particularly as teeth can become more crowded or move with age. Other reasons might be that you:

• had orthodontic treatment when younger but stopped wearing the retainers

• had some gum problems and so your teeth have become loose and moved

• need a dental implant and space needs to be created

• simply want to improve your smile

• have seen advertising that’s made you aware that orthodontic treatment in adults is possible

Teeth-straightening is not just about appearance – it can be about function too. By this, we mean the way you bite and chew.

Bracing Yourself for Treatment

Braces can straighten teeth, line up your jaws to give you a better bite, space out crowded teeth, and close gaps in your smile. But before you commit to tooth correction, it’s good to know exactly what you’re getting into.

  • Make time for checkups. I usually see people every 4 to 6 weeks. Sometimes adults get very busy, but they have to be willing to come.Watch what you eat. It’s important to be really careful around hard or sticky foods so you don’t break off the brackets.Brush and floss longer than before. Hygiene is going to be more difficult with the appliances on their teeth.

Questions to Ask Your Orthodontist

You’re going to see him a lot over the course of your treatment, so find someone you’re comfortable with. Here are a few things to find out at your first visit:

  • What options will work for my teeth?

  • How long will I wear them?
  • How do I take care of my teeth while they’re on?
  • How often will I need to come in for an office visit?
  • How much will they cost?
  • Does your office offer payment plans?
  • Do you accept my insurance?

  • What happens after I get them off?

Lining Up Your Options

There’s more than one path to straight teeth. The type of treatment you choose depends on how your teeth need to move to streamline your smile.Regular braces: These use gentle pressure to move your teeth into place over time. Your orthodontist will glue brackets to the front of your teeth and connect them with a wire. He’ll tighten that wire every 4 to 6 weeks. This slowly moves your teeth or jaw or both into place.Other braces: If having a metal smile bothers you, ceramic braces are another option. The brackets are the color of your teeth, which makes them harder to see. They usually cost more than their metal cousins.Ask about getting braces on the back of your teeth instead of the front to hide the metal brackets.Clear aligners: You can skip the wires and brackets with these see-through plastic trays that fit over your teeth. You can take them out to eat, brush, and floss. The downside: They’re not stuck to your teeth, and they’re easy to lose.

Veneers: These thin, tooth-colored layers of porcelain go on top of your existing choppers. They’re a way to fix small, chipped, dull, or stained teeth. Veneers are a quick way to make your smile look better without moving your teeth. But they also may come at a cost. In some instances, your dentist may shave off part of your original tooth before he puts them on.

After Treatment

Cleaning your teeth may get easier once your teeth are straighter, but that’s not your cue to slack. Most people think their crowded teeth are the reason they have periodontal disease. They think once they have straight teeth, they won’t have those problems anymore, but evidence doesn’t support that. Bottom line: if you don’t do a good job cleaning your teeth now, braces won’t fix that. So brush up whether you have them or not. The more you work at it, the easier it becomes to get them clean.

When to Straighten and When to Wait

Poor gum health can put the brakes on braces. If you have active gum disease, now isn’t the time to tackle orthodontics.It doesn’t mean you can never have braces, but you need to treat the gum disease first.As far as age goes, however, it’s never too late to create a perfect smile.As long as your bones and gums are healthy enough to withstand the forces, you should be OK to get them. We have patients out here in the clinic from 8 years old to almost 80 years old.

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.

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