MIAMI, FLORIDA Some adults did not have the opportunity to get braces when they were young and want them now, or they did not need braces until they developed a dental problem like a shifted bite or tooth loss. Whatever the circumstance, it is never too late to get the benefits of easier-to-clean teeth, a better bite and a more beautiful smile.
I hear the same objections over and over again from adults who are considering orthodontics, said Dr. Pedro Alquizar, who offers braces for adults and children. Adults who are only in their 30s and 40s assume they're too old to get braces and jump to all kinds of incorrect conclusions about orthodontic treatment.
Alquizar and his partner, Dr. Phillip Kaner, are Pinecrest orthodontists who want to address the five most common objections adults make about treatment.
Being too old for braces is the most common assumption, but there is no reason adults cannot get braces. Missing teeth and previous dental work like crowns or implants do not rule out braces either. Millions of adults have already completed orthodontic treatment, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. The AAO estimates that more than a million adults in the U.S. and Canada are currently receiving orthodontic treatment this year. ()
As long as your teeth, gum tissue and bones are healthy, we can straighten your teeth, said Kaner. If you do have underlying dental problems like dental caries or periodontal disease, we can work together with your dental care professional to address those before beginning treatment.
Orthodontic treatment can actually be quite affordable. Plus, practices can help people work it into their budgets. Many dental insurance providers now offer full or partial coverage for adults who want to get orthodontic treatment. The overall health benefits of straight teeth are that substantial. Alquizar and Kaner's office accepts most major credit cards and insurance plans. They also offer a variety of payment plans and work with patients individually to create a plan that fits with their financial situation.
Adults may assume that braces will interfere with their work and personal life if they think that braces look the same they did several decades ago. Orthodontic technology has revolutionized the options available to today's patients. The traditional metal braces are still around, but they are much smaller, more comfortable and more discreet. The most popular option for adult patients is invisible braces like Invisalign. Adults prefer them because no one can even tell they are wearing an orthodontic appliance, eliminating the worry of braces affecting work or personal life.
Braces won't interfere with your career or personal life, and they won't prevent you from pursuing musical or athletic hobbies, said Alquizar, who is a Miami Invisalign expert.
Too Painful, Too Long
Braces do not have to be painful, and treatment times are faster than ever. The latest research and design have provided new brackets, wires and appliances that are much more comfortable. Self-ligating brackets do not require elastic ties, which were the primary culprit behind soreness after they were tightened. Self-ligating brackets allow the archwire to apply gentle, continuous pressure on teeth without the friction caused by elastic ties. The wire is able to guide teeth into position faster and with much less discomfort. Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth instead of brackets and wires. The gradual changes make Invisalign more comfortable. Treatment time depends on the malocclusion or bite and several other factors, but active treatment usually lasts from one to three years.
Many adults equate orthodontics to vanity, but the reality is that straightening teeth can help them stay healthy and prevent tooth loss. Straight teeth make plaque removal easier and eliminate the hard-to-reach hiding places where plaque accumulates. This helps keep teeth and gums healthier for longer. Braces address the aesthetics of a smile, but they also optimize the function of the bite, which can reduce pain in the jaw joints, eliminate tension headaches, fix speech impediments and alleviate sleep apnea.
The AAO lists seven benefits of adult orthodontics: ()
Can help prevent or improve periodontal problems
Can help prevent or reduce further bone loss around teeth
Enhances the ability of the dentist to restore missing teeth
Boosts aesthetics for a better smile and facial appearance
Better function of teeth
Increases self-confidence and self-esteem
Promotes oral health
All the health benefits of correcting bad bites are wonderful, but seeing someone who is finally proud to show off their smile after years of being self-conscious is amazing, said Kaner. We want adults to know that can be a reality for them, no matter what their age.