Over the last decades, orthodontic treatment has advanced in a great way to become more inclusive and easily accessible to all patients, including adults. In the past few years, people with orthodontic issues had few treatment options for fixing their smiles.
Fortunately, due to advancements in technology, people nowadays have a wide range of orthodontic treatment options that suit their budgets and lifestyles. With all the innovative and improved treatment options that most orthodontists have nowadays, there is no reason for anyone to stay stuck with a smile they do not love.
If you are here, then chances are you are looking for teeth alignment options for yourself or your loved ones, or perhaps you want to learn about the available treatment options. Whether your primary orthodontic issue is teeth crowding or unnecessary gaps in your teeth, this article will provide you with the vital information you need to make an informed decision about your smile appearance.
Quick Facts About Orthodontics
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses specifically on the correction and prevention of protruding or misaligned teeth. Simply put, it is a specialty in dentistry that deals with improper bites or teeth misalignment issues in patients.
Orthodontic treatment is particularly crucial for patients with improperly positioned teeth or jaws, affecting the aesthetic appearance of their smile. Although orthodontic treatment options like wearing braces are common among children, even adults who missed this treatment during childhood can wear braces to reposition their teeth and improve the appearance of their smile.
Braces work by exerting pressure on improperly positioned teeth to push them into the proper or ideal position over time.
Reasons Why Most Adults Want Straightened Teeth
With the advancement in technology and growing interest in better health and improved well-being, more people are willing to do whatever is necessary to improve their dental health. With clear and invisible teeth aligners like Invisalign now available in most dental clinics, most adults are more eager to have their teeth straightened than ever before.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, orthodontic treatments have become more inclusive and improved, giving adults several options to straighten their teeth at a cost that suits their budget and lifestyle. According to a survey by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), more and more adults aged 18 and over are opting for orthodontic treatments at historically high levels.
Below are some of the reasons why most adults want their teeth straightened or aligned:
It Can Boost the Aesthetic Appearance of Your Smile and Self-esteem
Undoubtedly, when most people think of a perfect smile, "well-straightened teeth" is the picture they have in their minds. Several people opt to straighten their teeth because they believe it can improve the beautifying appearance of their smile, which is undoubtedly true.
Apart from complementing your grooming style, an attractive smile can also improve your self-esteem, allowing you to laugh or speak confidently in any professional or social setting. After braces are placed, you will feel less self-conscious about showing off your teeth while smiling.
It Can Improve Your Food Digestion Process
Orthodontic treatment options like wearing braces can reduce gaps or spaces between your teeth, making chewing easier and improving your digestion process, which starts in the mouth. Additionally, reduced gaps in your teeth make it easy to break down food into tiny particles. As a result, you will be less prone to bloating, gas, and other possible stomach problems.
If you have a bite issue like crossbite or crowding, chewing food properly can be troublesome and painful. As a result, most people with these issues swallow food without breaking it down into tiny pieces as required, increasing their risk of suffering digestion issues and malnutrition. However, these bite issues are treatable by wearing braces.
Wearing braces can straighten your improperly positioned teeth into their ideal place over time to improve your digestion process and your overall health.
It Lessens the Risk of Dental and Gum Health Issues
Apart from being aesthetically appealing, well-straightened teeth are healthier. If your teeth have wide spaces in between, food particles can stick in these spaces, creating a conducive environment for bacteria to thrive. As a result, you could suffer tooth decay or gingivitis due to plaque buildup between these spaces.
For that reason, visiting an orthodontist is a wise idea if you have widely spaced teeth. Straightening your teeth and closing these gaps with braces can reduce your chances of developing dental and gum problems.
It Prevents Teeth From Shifting Overtime
Over the years, your adult teeth can shift out of position to occupy new spaces, leading to overlapping and crowding issues, which make it challenging to clean your teeth effectively. Fortunately, by wearing dental braces, you can prevent these issues for better dental and oral health throughout your lifetime.
It Lessens the Risk of Tooth or Teeth Injuries
Sometimes unavoidable accidents like falling, vehicle collisions, or sporting accidents can leave you with a cracked or chipped tooth. If you have protruding teeth, also commonly known as an overbite, you are more likely to suffer tooth damage or injury in the event of an accident.
However, if your teeth are well-aligned, meaning there is no protrusion of any tooth outside the mouth, the chances of suffering a tooth injury when an accident occurs will be less. Additionally, well-aligned teeth also reduce the chances of injuring the soft tissues of your mouth, like your tongue, when speaking or chewing.
For these reasons, you could want to have your improperly positioned teeth straightened and aligned to avoid these unnecessary injuries.
It Can Resolve or Lessen the Risk of Jaw Problems
Orthodontic treatment options like wearing braces can be a reliable solution for adults with jaw problems, also known as malocclusion. If your teeth do not touch or come together correctly when your mouth is at rest, you could be an excellent candidate for orthodontic treatment. Often, the cause of these bite issues could be an improperly positioned jaw.
Aside from making food chewing and swallowing troublesome, an improperly positioned jaw can also cause:
- Sensitivity around your jaw area.
- Popping sound around the jaw area.
- Discomfort in your jaw area.
Fortunately, wearing braces is a reliable and effective way to reduce the risk of malocclusion, even if you are an adult, for an improved smile and facial aesthetic appearance.
It Can Improve Your Ability to Speak and Speech
When speaking, the way your tongue rubs against the surface of your teeth can have a significant impact on how you pronounce certain words. If your teeth are not well-aligned, it could affect your communication ability due to pronunciation issues.
Aside from causing pronunciation issues, misaligned or improperly positioned teeth can also cause annoying whistling sounds when speaking. However, you do not have to live with this problem thanks to modern ways of straightening teeth, like wearing braces. Braces can correct misaligned teeth, leading to improved speech.
Teeth Alignment Options Available for Adults
Due to recent advances in modern dentistry, there are several options adults can choose from if they want their teeth straightened for whatever reason. The following are the adult teeth alignment options:
- Traditional Braces
Also known as metal braces, traditional braces are the most effective and recognizable orthodontic treatment for misaligned teeth. Metal braces, as the name implies, are a system of metal brackets and wires that an orthodontist attaches to your misaligned teeth and holds together with elastic bands.
The primary purpose of the thin wires used in these traditional braces is to exert pressure on your misaligned teeth to shift their position over time and correct your bite. Due to technological advancements, modern metal braces are smaller than they were many years ago, making them more comfortable to wear to correct tooth alignment issues.
- Clear Dental Aligners
Clear dental aligners are another common orthodontic treatment option that most young adults will choose to correct their teeth's misalignment issues because they are a less-visible alternative to traditional metal braces. Also known as invisible braces, clear dental aligners are plastic-made, removable braces designed to fit your teeth and treatment plan.
Invisalign is one of the most common clear aligner systems that can give you the desired straight smile after several weeks of using them. Over time, these aligners will gradually shift your misaligned teeth into their ideal place in the mouth to improve their alignment and give you an appealing smile you deserve.
Although you wear these aligners all day and at night, you can remove them if you want to brush your teeth or eat, making them a preferred choice for most patients with malocclusion issues like an overbite or open bite. However, your orthodontist could recommend dental braces for severe cases of malocclusion.
- Ceramic Braces
Although the way ceramic braces shift your misaligned teeth is similar to how traditional metal braces work, they are ceramic-made instead of metallic-made. Unlike metallic braces, ceramic braces have clear and tooth-colored brackets, making them less noticeable and more comfortable on your teeth.
Unfortunately, ceramic braces are slightly more expensive than traditional metal braces, ranging between $4,000 to $8,000.
- Lingual Braces
While it is a less common orthodontic treatment, lingual braces can also fix your teeth' misalignment issues. Like traditional metal braces, lingual braces use brackets and wires to apply pressure to your improperly positioned teeth and shift their position over time. However, unlike metal braces, your orthodontist will attach brackets and wires to the backside of your teeth.
That means they are less visible and noticeable unless you want to show someone the backside of your teeth. Unfortunately, they are more expensive than ceramic and traditional metal braces and can cost up to $10,000.
Depending on your budget and lifestyle, your orthodontist can help you choose the most suitable teeth straightening option for your unique problem.
Crucial Factors to Consider Before Undergoing Any of the Above Orthodontic Treatment Options
Orthodontic treatment can realign your bite issues and give you the desired smile, but you should consider various factors before undergoing this treatment, including:
Although the orthodontic treatment could work for adults, your age could affect its effectiveness. Unlike children whose bones are still growing, your bones become harder as you age and will eventually stop developing at some point.
For that reason, shifting improperly positioned teeth into proper alignment using orthodontic treatment could be difficult for some older adults compared to young adults whose bones are still growing. Additionally, the healing process for older adults could be slower than for younger patients.
Also known as biomedical constraints, these age-related limitations could affect the effectiveness of orthodontic treatment regardless of the option you choose to straighten your teeth.
Your Malocclusion Issue
Most patients seeking orthodontic treatment have malocclusions or bite issues they want to correct. Since, in most cases, adults have less room in their mouths to allow the teeth to shift or move, orthodontic treatment can be problematic and challenging to achieve the desired straight smile that you deserve.
Whether You Have an Extracted Tooth or Teeth
Although several adults have had one or two teeth extracted in the past, these restorative procedures can make orthodontic treatment challenging. Orthodontic treatment can be difficult for patients with extracted teeth because extraction sites are not ideal places in your mouth for a malpositioned tooth or teeth to shift.
If you have an extraction site in your mouth, your orthodontist could recommend rebuilding the area with bone grafts before orthodontic treatment.
Talking to an orthodontist is the key to knowing whether you are an excellent candidate for any of the orthodontic treatment options discussed above. Your orthodontist will carefully assess these possible risks before recommending any orthodontic treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Orthodontic Treatment
It is not uncommon for patients seeking orthodontic treatment to ask some questions before embarking on any of the available treatment options. The following are some of the most common FAQs most patients will ask about adult orthodontic treatments:
- How Long Will Adult Braces Take to Fix a Tooth Gap?
The movement or shifting of a tooth after braces placement is approximately one (1) millimeter per month, though this could vary from patient to patient. Therefore, if you have a six-millimeter gap or space between your teeth, it could take about six months for your teeth to fix the gap.
Generally speaking, once you start wearing braces, it could take about four (4) to six (6) months before you begin seeing improvement in your teeth' spacing.
- Are Adult Orthodontic Treatments Worth it?
As discussed in the previous paragraph, adult orthodontic treatments have several benefits you cannot overlook. Whether you want to fix a bite issue like crooked teeth or improve your smile's aesthetic appearance, seeking orthodontic treatment is a decision you cannot regret.
- Will My Dental Insurance Cover Orthodontic Treatment Costs?
While it depends on the company or insurance provider, some dental insurance plans could offer coverage for adult orthodontic treatments. Some dental insurance policies could cover a flat fee, and others could cover a certain percentage of your total orthodontic treatment costs.
Since not all insurance providers provide coverage for orthodontic treatments, you would undoubtedly want to check with your insurer to know the limits of your policy or plan. Orthodontic treatment can be costly, but if you have an insurance plan that covers these costs, it could be advantageous for you to avoid paying all these costs out of your own pocket.
If you do not have insurance coverage for orthodontics, a reliable orthodontist can provide you with flexible payment plans to cover the cost over a certain period without unnecessary hassle.
- How Do I Find a Reliable Orthodontist?
You should be cautious about the orthodontist you choose for teeth straightening services if you want the best and most professional orthodontic treatment services. Here are some great pointers to help you find a trustworthy orthodontist for your teeth misalignment issues:
- Seek recommendations from someone you trust, especially someone who has had orthodontic treatment in the past.
- Consider the reputation of your prospective orthodontist.
- Consider the qualification and experience of your prospective orthodontist.
- Schedule a consultation with more than one orthodontist. Doing this can help you find a reliable orthodontist with services that suit your budget.
- Consider the location of your prospective orthodontist for convenience reasons.
- Consider the technological options your prospective orthodontist has to ensure the best services for their clients.
These tips can help you find a dependable orthodontist without a hassle in this market full of mediocre experts.
Take Away Notes
Teeth development is a complicated and lengthy process, and sometimes you could end up with crowded, crooked, or "imperfect" teeth that could affect your smile appearance and overall health. Fortunately, you can fix these issues through orthodontic treatment for the well-aligned and attractive smile you deserve, even as an adult.
Find a La Puente Orthodontist Near Me
We invite you to call our friendly and reliable orthodontists at La Puente Advanced Dentistry at 626-626-7075 if you need teeth straightening services. Our skilled orthodontists strive to make teeth straightening a smooth and affordable process for any person with "imperfect" or misaligned teeth.
Our office is well-equipped with modern dentistry systems to give our clients comfortable and effective orthodontic treatment services.