If you're an adult who needs braces – for whatever reason: maybe you never had them as a child, your teeth have since shifted, or your dentist has alerted you to bite or jaw problems – there’s good news: You’re never too old for orthodontics.
A generation or two ago, orthodontists discouraged adults from getting braces. At the time, it was thought straightening teeth would be effective and permanent only while a child’s mouth was still maturing.
Now, through improved technology and techniques, orthodontics for adults can, in most cases, give perfect, lasting results.
Nothing is more beautiful than an impeccable, sparkling smile, and an attractive smile is a valid reason to want braces. But prettier teeth is not the only reason to undergo orthodontic treatment. A bad bite can be the result of many problems, or can lead to problems that result in tooth loss in later life. Misaligned teeth can even create medical issues.
Here are some important reasons why you might consider braces at any age. Some may surprise you:
- You will have healthier teeth and gums. Straight teeth are easier to clean. It’s difficult to remove plaque from all the nooks and crannies of crooked teeth. When plaque remains on your teeth and gums, tooth decay and periodontitis (gum disease) – and worse – can be the result. What’s worse? Erosion of tooth roots and loss of supporting bone. Many adults in their later years are surprised to lose sound teeth because of unhealthy gums.
- You may prevent your own heart attack. The National Institutes of Health and others report a correlation between dental plaque that is allowed to remain on the teeth and some systemic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. It’s thought the plaque bacteria travel through the bloodstream.
- Your jaw will be healthier. An uneven bite can lead to bone loss in your jaw and may be the cause of jaw joint issues, such as temporomandibular joint disease, familiarly known as TMJ. A bad bite also can cause headaches or jaw pain. Orthodontics can usually correct these problems.
- Sleep apnea may be reduced. Excessive overbite, where your top teeth protrude – "buck teeth" – can cause your airway to become blocked while you sleep. A partially blocked airway can lead to snoring. If the airway is fully blocked, you could experience sleep apnea, which continually disrupts your rest. Apnea is associated with several health issues, including heart problems.
- You may experience fewer headaches or less neck pain: Chewing with teeth that are not aligned properly can stress the bones that support your jaw and mouth, possibly causing chronic headaches or neck pain that could require medical treatment.
- You speech may easier to understand. Misaligned teeth can affect speech patterns. Straightening your teeth could improve your speaking clarity.
- You may avoid tooth breakage. Misaligned teeth are more likely to chip or break, especially if they are protruding.
- Your self-esteem and confidence will get a boost – with rewarding results. You may think you’re OK with crooked teeth, but if you always press your lips together in photographs or cover your mouth when you laugh, you are more self-conscious than you realize. A confident smile has been shown to increase self-esteem, which, in turn, can open up new career and social opportunities. In a 2012 Invisalign study, job applicants with straight teeth were 45 percent more likely to be hired over people with similar qualifications but unattractive teeth. In the same study, 38 percent said they would not accept a second date with someone with misaligned teeth.
- You may be happier. When your teeth are beautiful, you’ll smile more. And the act of smiling has been shown to increase happiness.
If you’re now convinced braces will be a good investment for you, we welcome you to call our office for a free consultation. You will leave with a full treatment plan. You may be surprised to know that you won’t be getting a mouthful of metal. We offer three attractive options: Invisalign (the clear trays); hidden (or lingual) braces (which fit behind the teeth); and clear braces (with clear brackets that are almost invisible).
It’s good to know: If you need braces, it’s never too late to benefit from them!