Maybe you have been considering braces for years, but you think you’ve waited too long. Aren’t braces meant for teens? Adult teeth are too firmly entrenched to be moved, right? Braces are metal and shiny and will embarrass you at work, won’t they?
It’s time you sorted through the misconceptions and the truth about orthodontic treatment for adults. Yes, teens are the biggest group that wear braces, but adults are quickly catching up, especially with the additional choices available today.
This article will explain how adults can be helped with braces and clarify the myths about adult orthodontic treatment that often keep people from getting the help they need.
Common Myths About Adult Orthodontic Treatment Explained
It’s possible that your orthodontic problems, like crooked teeth or bite misalignment, are worse today because you didn’t get braces when you were younger. This can cause discomfort and embarrassment now. It can also lead to a higher risk of tooth decay, gum disease, speech problems, enamel loss, and pain.
Don’t believe that you must endure this for the rest of your life. And don’t let any of the following myths and concerns about orthodontic treatment for adults stop you from getting the help you need:
Myth: Braces Are Only For Cosmetic Purposes
It’s true that crooked, misaligned teeth aren’t pleasant to look at. If you’re not too concerned about them or you think it’s strictly a cosmetic issue, though, keep in mind that those crooked teeth do impact your oral health.
Misaligned teeth are harder to brush and keep clean, which makes them susceptible to decay and gum disease. Crooked teeth can also chip or break more easily. Plus, headaches, jaw pain, and ear pain are often the results of a bad bite. Straightening your teeth or correcting bite misalignment is much more than just a cosmetic endeavor.
Myth: Braces Are For Teenagers
This myth isn’t true on several levels. With the introduction of Invisalign clear aligners, adult orthodontics has exploded in popularity. About 32% of orthodontic patients in the U.S. and Canada are adults, and the numbers are expected to rise. You will not be the only adult in your orthodontist’s office!
Another factor in busting this myth is an adult’s ability to follow instructions regarding life with braces more carefully than most teens. Adults tend to be more responsible in following their treatment plan by wearing their aligners, retainers, or rubber bands properly and properly cleaning their teeth. An adult is more invested in the outcome since they are usually the ones paying for it.
Myth: Orthodontic Care Is Very Painful
Adults have experienced discomfort at some level, sometimes more so than most teenagers. Orthodontic care does have short periods of discomfort but they don’t last long and it should never be severe pain.
These periods are when the braces or aligners are first introduced into your mouth and when braces are tightened or the aligners are changed. At no time should braces or aligners cause severe pain. If that happens, your orthodontist should be contacted so they can advise you.
Myth: Orthodontic Care Takes Too Long
Adults do usually have to wear braces or clear aligners a bit longer than teens, but it still isn’t a significant block of time in your life. An adult’s jaw has stopped growing so it takes longer to move teeth through the bone. But new technologies allow orthodontists to straighten teeth more quickly than ever.
The average for braces is 1 to 2 years and aligners are 12 to 18 months. But consider how long you’ve waited to get them! The investment in time wearing braces or aligners is short within the timeline of your life. Every patient is different so discuss this with your orthodontist at the beginning of your treatment plan.
Myth: Braces Are Ugly!
When you were a teenager, it’s quite possible the only braces available were the traditional metal braces, with wires, brackets, and rubber bands. Yes, they are very noticeable! Today, there are many other less noticeable choices, like lingual braces, ceramic braces, and clear aligners.
As mentioned earlier, clear aligners have become very popular with both teens and adults who want a more discreet choice. And the technology keeps improving all the time.
Myth: Braces Are Too Expensive
As with any large project, gather all the data before getting started. Most orthodontists offer free consultations, so take advantage of that and get at least two quotes. This will take some time, but it could mean a great deal of savings by doing it.
The range of prices provided on the Internet can stretch anywhere between $3,000 to over $12,000. That means it’s impossible to pinpoint a cost for you without meeting with an orthodontist, finding out exactly what you need, and getting an exact quote for your customized treatment plan.
If you have dental insurance, your policy may cover all or part of the cost of braces. Check with your plan before you begin your treatment so you won’t be surprised later. You may have time to add orthodontic coverage.
Orthodontists know the market is competitive so they may offer affordable options, with monthly payments or financing. Plus, your initial appointment is free, which includes your exam, x-rays, and a consultation.
Myth: The Whole Process Is Inconvenient
This is a subjective myth. What one patient considers “inconvenient,” another may take in stride to reach their goal of straight, beautiful teeth!
Yes, you will have to go to scheduled appointments at the orthodontist’s office, but those visits are fewer now with some of the choices of braces you have. Clear aligners are handled primarily by the patient at home since there is no tightening required. There will be some necessary appointments no matter which kind of braces you have, but an orthodontist’s office staff is practiced at moving patients along quickly.
And, above all, don’t lose sight of your goal!
Orthodontic Treatment Does Offer Adults an Effective Path to a Beautiful Smile
It is never too late to get braces or other orthodontic help. Adults are fast becoming a huge group of orthodontic patients and this trend is likely to continue. There are more choices today of less visible braces, plus your overall health will improve once your teeth or bite are corrected. Most of the concerns about adults taking advantage of orthodontics are outdated myths with little or no validity.
Effective orthodontic treatment isn’t reserved for just children and teens. The team here at Reed & Sahlaney Orthodontics specializes in a variety of treatments, including discreet options, that will give adult patients a beautiful smile without disrupting their everyday lives.