Ah, the life of a teenager. Nervousness around the opposite sex, that rebellious streak, and, of course, being called “metal-face” by everyone at school. Braces used to be the domain of teens, a rite of passage many had to face. Today, though, adults are one of the fastest-growing demographics for orthodontics. As a result of lingual braces, which go on the back of your teeth, and clear aligners like Invisalign, adults can straighten their teeth without reliving their blunder years. These are novel solutions, no doubt, but are they effective?
The short answer is yes, braces are effective for adults; which type of treatment will be most effective for you, though, depends on your specific circumstances. There are quite a few things to keep in mind when looking into orthodontics; here are a few.
Traditional and lingual braces usually have a treatment time of about two years, and they must be work 24 hours a day; you can’t remove these braces. Invisalign, conversely, have a treatment time of 12 to 18 months, and must be removed whenever eating or drinking anything but water; your Invisalign aligner will be in your mouth for about 22 hours a day. The winner here seems to be Invisalign, but make sure you have the willpower to keep the aligner in your mouth all day; if that seems tough, you might opt for braces.
Braces all come with their own set of maintenance challenges. Traditional braces are maintained by brushing and flossing regularly, but paying special mind to the wires and the areas around the brace which can form plaque. Lingual braces have the same challenge, but are harder to see, so pay special mind to the backs of your teeth. Invisalign must be cleaned in warm water or special cleaner on the regular, and must be removed before eating. Your teeth must also be brushed after every meal to avoid staining.
Traditional braces are the least expensive of the three options. Lingual braces are more expensive, because your orthodontist has to navigate around the back of your mouth when applying and maintaining your braces; this means more time in the office. Invisalign is the most expensive of the three, as it is more expensive to construct an Invisalign aligner.
Traditional and lingual braces are often most effective when tackling complex orthodontic problems; your orthodontist will tell you if your teeth can be aligned with Invisalign. Invisalign is very helpful for those who regularly play contact sports; wire braces can damage gums and cheeks if frequently impacted. Traditional braces can be a disadvantage if you do not want your braces to be visible; lingual braces will help here if your mouth cannot be aligned with Invisalign.
The big takeaway here should be that your orthodontic needs are unique, and it’s important to go to a dental clinic that’s proud to have experienced dentists who can help you choose which orthodontic option is right for you.