Questions You May Have About Adult Braces

If you missed having braces as a child, you may think that that ship has sailed. However, you can still get braces as an adult. While braces work the same way at fixing malocclusions in adults as they do in children, there are some differences. Here are some questions you may have about adult braces.

How long do adults wear braces?

How long you wear the braces depends on the severity of your malocclusion and your cooperation. If you do not wear your elastic bands regularly or you eat foods that bust brackets, then your treatment time will be longer. If you do a quick Google search, you will see that many sites say that treatment time can range from about a year to three years.

Adults usually take longer with treatment than kids because their jaws are no longer growing. Kids usually take less time because they have been through interceptive orthodontics, the practice where early malocclusions are detected to avoid further issues down the road.

Besides braces, do many adults need other orthodontic treatment?

Again, that depends on the severity of your bite. However, many adults need to include other treatments along with their braces because they've stopped growing. For instance, if your bite causes TMJ issues, then braces won't be enough—you may need jaw surgery to completely fix every issue. If you have your wisdom teeth in, you may need to have them extracted so that the dentist can properly shift crowded teeth.

After your braces are off, will your teeth stay the same?

Even if you have adult braces and correct everything, teeth do tend to shift over time. You may be required by your dentist to wear a retainer during the day, then he or she may have you wean your wear time down to nighttime wearing. You may be surprised if your dentist recommends that you wear your retainer a few times a week for the rest of your life, but this is the best way to maintain the good corrections you'll make with braces.

What choices do you have for braces?

You could get traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, Invisalign, lingual braces, etc. In fact, clear braces like Invisalign are actually better for adults because maintenance of the trays can be difficult for children. Invisalign trays need to be removed during meals and put promptly back in. Invisalign trays can be hard for younger people because they may be tempted to take them out and not wear them all day.

Contact a dentist in your local area to get more answers to your questions about adult braces.