Adult’s Guide to Orthodontics
Today, one in four orthodontic patients is an adult. Leaving misaligned teeth untreated may lead to other dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and difficulty chewing. Orthodontic treatment creates a better bite, making teeth fit better and decreasing the risk of future dental problems regardless of age.
At Davis & Goldberg Orthodontics we make treatment more comfortable and less noticeable than ever for individuals of all ages. Many of today’s treatment options are designed to minimize the appearance of the appliance to better fit any lifestyle.
What typically happens at an adult orthodontics Consultation?
At your free consultation appointment, you’ll explain your concerns about your teeth and your smile to the orthodontist. Dr. Goldberg or Dr. Davis will examine your teeth and other oral tissues. A staff member may take notes about what the orthodontist finds. A panoramic x-ray may be taken so that the orthodontist can see what is under your gums. Photographs are usually taken, as well. You and your orthodontist may discuss recommended treatment, fees for treatment and payment plan.
Most Common Orthodontic Appliances for Adult Orthodontics Patients
Braces are the most common appliance used is orthodontic treatment. Fortunately, they have come a long way. Basically, braces have two parts: brackets and wires. Wires move the teeth; brackets serve as stationary handles to hold the wires. As needed for an individual’s treatment, other components can be added.
Contemporary braces can be:
- Stainless steel
- Tooth-colored ceramic
Brackets are affixed directly to teeth. Wires are threaded through slots in the brackets. Most braces go on the front of the teeth. Sometimes braces can be put on the backs of teeth – these are called “lingual” braces. These are virtually invisible. Not all orthodontists offer this form of treatment, and not all kinds of orthodontic problems can be successfully treated with lingual braces. The wires on some braces are held in place by tiny rubber bands (“ligatures”), and come in a huge assortment of colors. Other braces are “self-ligating” – they do not require ligatures to hold the wires in place.
People sometimes call clear aligners “invisible braces.” They are made of a transparent plastic-like material. They are made to fit the patient’s teeth at different stages of their treatment. Each set of aligners is worn for 1-3 weeks, at least 22 hours a day, before moving on to the next set. Each set is engineered to move the teeth incrementally, per the orthodontist’s treatment plan, until the desired alignment is reached. Tooth-colored attachments on the teeth will help aligners move teeth properly. Some, but not all, kinds of orthodontic problems can be successfully treated with clear aligners.