When possible, everyone would like to have an attractive symmetrical smile, but a large minority of adults and nearly a quarter of all children require some form of orthodontics to achieve this.
The options for orthodontic treatment have been widening over the last decade, along with the demographic of those seeking out orthodontic care, with more adults and men than ever looking to address misaligned teeth. While some patients, mainly in their adolescence, will tolerate the discomfort and inconvenience of wearing a metal brace to achieve the desired outcome, adult patients have higher standards and expectations of braces, aligners and ‘mouth gear’. Simply, they want their treatment to be unobtrusive and functional in everyday use.
The issues of adult braces are the level of misalignment which can grow over time. Although it is never too late to seek treatment, it does alter the options and an assessment with a specialised dentist or orthodontist will be required to comment on your personal case.
Clear aligner option
For mild or cosmetic only misalignment, clear braces W1 are considered effective. These are a series of translucent, plastic mouthguards which are worn for 2 weeks each. They move teeth gradually and the length of the treatment will vary from patient to patient. But they are hardly noticeable when worn and are considered to be the most comfortable and convenient despite having to wear them 22 hours a day.
Ceramic braces are almost as old as the traditional metal brace and in the way they work, (using anchor-points on each tooth connected with an adjustable archwire) they are the same. They differ in the materials that they are constructed with. The early ceramic braces were a mix of glass, which had a habit of cracking under pressure if over adjusted or shattering during a fall or accident. Modern ceramic braces are fabricated from a mix of polymers and glass, making them much more robust and suitable for even the most active lifestyles.
Maintenance and getting the most from orthodontics
Orthodontics is not an overnight treatment; it requires commitment and a degree of maintenance to get the most out of whichever treatment you pursue. If your misalignment is minor and you do want an immediate solution, ask your dental team about cosmetic veneers.
Ceramic braces may be see-through and will go unnoticed if well maintained, but they will accumulate trapped food, in the same way as a standard brace, and will need to be well cleaned after meals. This can be done with interdental brushes and a small tube of travel toothpaste. You will also need to brush after meals if using a clear aligner, but as you are advised to remove your aligner when eating this is much less tedious
You may not notice in your daily life, but teeth are dynamic things that have a habit of regressing to their original position after orthodontic treatment. If your dentist sees signs of regression, you will be recommended to wear a retainer to solidify your progress, which can take a further two months.