Straightening your teeth is no longer the problem of children alone. More and more adults are heading to the orthodontist for the first time, or even heading back after childhood treatments have started to wear.
Orthodontists today see almost the same number of adults as kids because there are so many great options for ways in which they can help adults with the newest innovations.
If you are one of the millions of adults interested in learning more about how you can straighten your teeth and have the smile you’ve always wanted, don’t be discouraged by your age. There are lots of options out there for you!
To Brace or not to Brace
When many of us think of teeth straightening, we think of the metal braces of yore. Unfortunately, the thought of braces with their brightly colored bands puts the image in our heads of the nerdy kid in school with the full metal grin.
Imagining walking into a work meeting, your wedding, or another relevant event with brace face sends shivers down your spine. Flashbacks of your junior high days start to rush back. That is not something most adults are likely to want to relive.
Fortunately for you, there are new and improved ways to adjust teeth as an adult so that you don’t have to worry about the awkwardness of youth coming back to haunt you. Many options are simple, quick, and far less painful than those we knew as kids.
However, if you think metal braces are right for you, you should consult with your doctor. Braces are a tried and true orthodontic technique to straighten teeth in a short period of time, so if you are comfortable embracing the metal mouth, don’t be deterred by those who say they’re too old school.
If metal braces are something you’d rather stay away from, Invisalign may be just what you need to help keep your confidence while also earning a great smile. Just like the name implies, Invisalign is an almost invisible method of straightening teeth and is just as effective as traditional metal braces.
It all starts with a consultation with your doctor. Invisalign doctors use digital imagery to map out your smile on screen without all of the goopy putty that you may have seen in the past. Your doctor can then draw up a treatment plan for you that will work in several phases. He/she can even show you what your smile will look like in the future.
After the scan and consultation are complete, you will receive your custom molded trays. They are removable and pain-free, so you can live your life as you normally would, even eating foods that wouldn’t be acceptable with metal braces. Your dentist may warn you about certain liquids, however, as the aligners do stain.
Typically a treatment plan with Invisalign lasts up to twelve months for adults. That means if you started today, you are one year away from the smile you’ve always dreamed of! Although this timeframe is typical, some factors can affect the speed at which your mouth will transform, which is why you should consult with a dentist.
You will also need to go in for regular visits to your orthodontist to ensure things are running smoothly during your transformation. You also need to follow the plan to a T. If you don’t wear your aligners for the full recommended twenty to twenty-two hours per day, you will likely not see results as quickly as planned.
The Invisalign Difference
Metal braces are not only less physically appealing than the invisible trays used in Invisalign treatments, but they could also be damaging your mouth. Metal braces scrape the insides of your mouth and injure delicate tissue that could result in excess bacteria forming, inflammation, and irritation.
With Invisalign, your trays are customized to fit you perfectly, and the edges are smooth, just like your natural teeth. This allows you to get the maximum teeth straightening benefits without injuring your mouth or soft tissues.
You are also not going to have to go into the dentist to get your adjustments done with a set of pliers in your mouth. Instead, once your teeth have moved the proper amount, you will simply receive another set of trays to begin using.
Invisalign trays are customized so that each set will be a smooth transition from the last. Your teeth will start to shift almost imperceptibly as you wear your aligners, but by the end of your treatments, you will see a dramatic change in your smile.
During your first few days with a new set of aligners, you may feel some slight pressure on your teeth, similar to what you would feel with metal braces. That is your aligner doing good work, and the feeling won’t last long, so don’t’ worry about it unless pain is extreme or persists longer than a few days.
Who Would Benefit from Invisalign?
Patients from their early teens to late adulthood could benefit from this method. Of course, all patients are different and whether or not Invisalign will work for you depends on a multitude of factors, so you should always consult with a doctor before taking the next steps to seek treatment.
Patients who have previously worn braces or retainers should also not assume that they are disqualified from being able to use this method of treatment. You simply need to meet with your doctor to ensure that you are a good candidate for the transition to aligners.
As long as you consult with your doctor and follow your treatment plan, you will be in great shape to get your teeth in order quickly and discreetly.
If your teeth could use a straighter look, but you would like a less invasive approach to an outwardly beautiful smile, veneers may be the way to go for you. They are a fantastic solution for minor cosmetic flaws, including slightly crooked teeth throughout your mouth.
Porcelain veneers can last between ten and fifteen years as long as you keep up with your routine oral care. This means brushing and flossing regularly, and also visiting your dentist every six months.
How does it Work?
Veneers are thin, porcelain cap-like structures that work as an overlay on your existing teeth. They are bonded directly to teeth permanently, so they offer protection and a great aesthetic update to your smile.
The process of placing the veneers is typically irreversible, so it’s important that you are dedicated to taking care of them once they are placed on your teeth.
The process again starts with a visit to your dentist for a consultation. Your dentist will then take a mold of your teeth to work from, and your veneers will be created in a dental lab. Once your veneers are ready, your doctor will need to prepare your teeth by removing a small amount of enamel and adding a bonding agent.
Your dentist may tell you to avoid eating or drinking certain things to avoid staining your veneers. Staying away from coffee, dark teas, and red wine are some typical recommendations for people with veneers. You will also need to ensure you continue to have a great oral care routine to keep everything looking great.
Who Would Benefit from Veneers?
Anyone who has visible imperfections, but still decently healthy teeth may benefit from porcelain veneers. The overall application is a minor procedure when compared to some other teeth straightening procedures, so it is great for those who suffer from dental anxiety.
If your teeth are severely crooked or badly damaged veneers will not likely be beneficial. The best way to decide whether or not this option will work for you is to speak with your doctor.
Making the Right Choice
Adults may feel like there are fewer options out there to help straighten their teeth, but a simple consultation with your doctor will help you to realize that is not the case. From metal braces to clear aligners to porcelain overlays, your options abound. The trick is to pick the correct option for you, with the help of your doctor.
Make sure that you are committed to the process no matter what route you choose to take. If you lose your will to continue with a great oral hygiene routine after you have veneers attached, you are at risk for major oral health issues.
If you choose to not follow proper procedures while using the Invisalign method, you will get poor results, or possibly no results at all. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have concerns or questions, so that action can be taken to help you succeed on your journey to a perfect smile.