5 Facts You Should Know Before Getting Braces as an Adult


I was content with my teeth until lately. Were they picture-perfectly white? Not entirely—but I was happy with how they looked (particularly because I didn’t wear braces as an adolescent).

Then I realized: wouldn’t it be amazing if my bottom teeth weren’t crowded? What if my upper teeth were a little more evenly spaced? So I started thinking about obtaining adult braces—or, more broadly, adult orthodontia.

After many sets of clear aligners, I am pleased to say that my teeth have never looked better. In fact, I’m astounded by the change in previous photos of myself. Perhaps you’re in the same boat as I was last year, hoping for straight teeth but not knowing what to expect. Maybe you had great teeth after braces in your adolescence, but they moved because you didn’t use your retainers (oops!).


If you had braces as a child, you should expect a different experience this time

According to Featheringham, if you use aligners, your teeth-straightening experience will be completely different. She says that the method is significantly easier (placement entails a scan and maybe having little attachments placed on your teeth to secure the aligners), and it takes much less chair time.

Even if you’re getting braces, you may probably expect some modifications from your youth. The braces themselves have improved (think: smaller), according to Featheringham, as have the adhesives and lights used to connect the braces.

“On top of that, the wires that move the teeth have improved,” she says. She adds that in the “old days,” they physically tightened the wires; now, they put new ones in to start your teeth working.

In addition, the placement of your braces may be easier than in the past. According to Featheringham, trays based on a scan of your teeth may be created that allows a whole arch of braces to be worn at the same time.

Adult orthodontics might ultimately be about more than simply teeth

“Everyone is usually so excited about the shift,” Featheringham observes. “And they always say it’s the finest money they’ve ever spent.” Unlike a fantastic pair of shoes that may go out of style the following season, orthodontic treatment has a long-term effect, and self-care leads to self-confidence, she continues.

It may even flow over into other aspects of body care: That’s frequently the first domino to fall with a lot of other self-care stuff.

Aesthetics are only one component of the equation

Finding out about a health problem is another type of motivation, according to Featheringham. For example, your dentist may inform you that the way your teeth strike is creating gum recession on your lower front teeth, she explains. In addition, crowded teeth that are difficult to clean might result in swollen gums.

In other words, adult orthodontia is more than just making your teeth appear nicer. Along with visual benefits, Featheringham notes that functional gains occur as well.

There are several reasons why you could seek therapy

Adults are generally motivated by something, according to Featheringham. “Of course, COVID with Zoom and cameras was a significant [motivator].”

According to Featheringham, some women whose families could not afford (or did not prioritize) orthodontic therapy seek treatment once they have the resources to do so. Some opt to do something good for themselves after seeing their children receive braces (and lovely smiles).

Then there are individuals who want to redo previous orthodontic treatment since they stopped wearing their retainers. And don’t feel bad if it describes you.

“I believe the research around retainers was not as good early on,” Featheringham says. “They’d say it’s Fine to quit wearing your retainer after your jaws have through developing, which is when you’re 18 or 20—everyone had a number.” Yet, she claims that the teeth do alter with time.

A variety of therapeutic approaches exist

When you hear the word “orthodontics,” you might think of braces or clear plastic aligners—both of which an orthodontist may suggest. (Featheringham adds that some people believe orthodontists just perform braces, but they also do aligners—in fact, they’re the specialists!)

According to Featheringham, ceramic braces are less obvious and hence more suitable for grownups. She notes that, when compared to aligners, they can more effectively address specific types of bites, such as deep overbites. Some individuals just like this form of treatment since it works on their teeth without them having to think about it.

According to Featheringham, braces are used less frequently in adults, although this is dependent on the orthodontist and their degree of comfort with aligners.

“In our clinic, I’d estimate nine out of ten individuals are candidates for aligner therapy,” Featheringham adds. She goes on to say that this alternative is superior in terms of comfort, beauty, and hygiene (you can take aligners out to clean your teeth, whereas with braces you should expect to spend some extra time cleaning around them). Also, for hectic schedules, the appointment arrangement might be considerably easier.

“With aligners, we [often] stretch out the sessions a little bit further,” Featheringham says. As a result, you may need to visit your orthodontist every 10 or 12 weeks rather than every six, seven, or eight weeks.

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