A guide to wearing braces in adulthood

Orthodontic treatments is usually associated to younger age. In most cases, orthodontic treatment is recommended to kids and young adults whose teeth are still growing and developing. However, orthodontic treatment can be very much useful in adulthood as well.No matter the age, orthodontics helps all types of patients to improve dental alignment in order to prevent teeth irregularities and make the smile more healthy and agreeable to the eye.Teeth irregularities are fixed with orthodontic appliances better knows as braces. Braces come in different forms but the most important distinction is whether  the appliance is removable or fixed in the mouth. Removable braces can be taken off and put back on whenever while fixed braces can only be removed with the aid of an orthodontist.

What is the difference between wearing braces while a child or young adult or wearing braces in adulthood?

As the field of orthodontics advances, more adults seek treatment to correct teeth irregularities. However, there are certain differences between treating an adult and treating young patients with orthodontics. In general, orthodontic treatment is always better while still at a young age as it is easier to correct irregularities when the whole dental system is in development. However, this does not prevent an adult from finding the right orthodontic treatment to solve dental issues related to misalignment and irregular teeth positions.

When is the use of braces recommended?

Braces are used to:
  • straighten teeth
  • correct an irregular bite
  • pull teeth closer together (in presence of wide gaps between teeth)
  • fix crooked teeth
There are different types of braces and each type has its own benefits. When choosing the right type of braces, the orthodontists will weigh which type is most suitable to solve the patient’s issue.

Among the most common types of braces we find:

Traditional braces: this is a fixed solution that consists of brackets and an arch wire. Brackets are placed and bonded to teeth. The arch wire connected to the brackets exercises tension on the teeth. This action helps moving teeth in the proper position. Braces need to be adjusted about every 5 weeks and braces are usually worn from 1 to 3 years, depending on the specific issue being treated.When braces are taken off for good, the patient will be given a retainer to be worn for at least 1 year. The retainer will make sure that teeth remain in their new position.

Invisalign: this type of braces consist in custom made plastic aligners which are removable. The aligners are clear, which means they’re more subtle than traditional braces. With Invisalign, the patient needs to replace the aligners twice a month until the final results are obtained. Invisalign deliver the same results as traditional braces; however, Invisalign are much less visible and therefore patients are usually more comfortable wearing this type of orthodontic device.Invisalign aligners need to be taken off to brush teeth.

Lingual braces: this is the least noticeable type of braces as the device is placed on the interior of teeth. Just like traditional braces, lingual braces put pressure on teeth until these are aligned properly. However, lingual braces require more customization which means they are often more expensive than traditional braces. These braces take about the same time as traditional braces to correct dental alignment and teeth positions.Among the 3 types of braces, Invisalign may take the least to obtain final results. However, only a specialised orthodontist may recommend the right type of braces for each patient, even if these take longer to push teeth in the proper place.

Are braces comfortable or do they hurt?During the placement of braces, you may experience slight discomfort. Also, you may have difficulties to eat that day and therefore you will be told to eat softer foods rather than solid foods.During the first days of wearing braces, you will still feel a little bit of pressure as teeth begin to realign. In about 5 to 6 days all discomfort is usually gone.As we said before, braces need to be readjusted every few weeks. After these readjustments you may feel the same discomfort as when you just had your braces put in place.If you are having a hard time dealing with such discomforts, you can take medication such as ibuprofen which will help with the soreness you feel.

Dental care and braces

Once you have your braces, it’s very important to properly care for them as well as for your teeth. Wearing braces may increase the risk of cavities and infections unless you follow strict rules for an impeccable dental hygiene. This is why we included a few very useful tips to care for your braces and teeth.If wearing traditional braces:The problem with traditional braces is that plaque easily sits around brackets. Plaque is the main cause of periodontal and other diseases, therefore you should pay extra attention to properly clean your teeth and get rid of plaque. To do so, brush around your brackets and wire after each meal. Also, floss regularly and use a fluoride mouthwash twice a day, preferably after your main meals and after you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth.If you are worried about food residues sticking onto your braces, remember to slice food into smaller pieces so you can chew rather than bite into foods.If wearing Invisalign:Invisalign braces should be removed only when eating and brushing teeth. This means that you will be able to clean your teeth with. After you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth, make sure to rinse your Invisalign before putting the aligners back into their place in the mouth.We also recommend to avoid fizzy, sweet and acidic drinks as these may stain your Invisalign braces.If wearing lingual braces:Lingual braces are very much alike traditional braces, the difference being they are placed on the back side of your teeth. As for your teeth hygiene, you should follow the same tips as for traditional braces: brush your teeth after every meal, floss and rinse with a mouthwash twice a day.Finally, we also recommend to check your braces on a regular basis for tears or damages. If braces are damaged they should be repaired or replaced immediately. Inspect your braces by looking at the brackets and wires a few times a week. If you notice anything out of place, make an appointment to have an orthodontist look for damages.

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