If you are unhappy with the state of your smile, your dentist may recommend braces to achieve the straight, properly aligned teeth you desire. While you may think of braces as a treatment reserved for children and teens, you can get them at any age, and the number of adults getting braces is on the rise.
Before you commit to braces, learn all you can about this treatment. To that end, take a look at these six questions adults commonly have about getting and living with braces.
1. How Do You Deal With the Metal Mouth Look?
You probably remember kids being called metal mouth in school when wearing braces, and you may fear that your coworkers and friends will judge your appearance when you have brackets on your teeth. Thankfully, there are now less-visible options for patients who want to straighten their teeth discretely. Tooth-colored ceramic braces blend in with the surface of your teeth, and nobody will notice them unless they look at you closely. Your dentist may also recommend lingual braces, which are placed on the inside surface of your teeth. These options are more costly than metal braces, but their appearance is worth the total case cost.
2. Is Wearing Braces Uncomfortable?
As an adult, you may fear discomfort that makes it tough to focus on your job and responsibilities. While braces do cause some discomfort, any uncomfortable feelings can be easily managed. The aching and possible stiffness will be the most noticeable during the first few days after your braces are placed and after scheduled bi-weekly/monthly appointments. Over-the-couter pain relievers, soft foods and cool drinks will help alleviate any pain associated with these visits. Treat yourself to a milkshake, it will help!
Patients often experience discomfort when the wires and brackets rub their cheeks and gums. Placing wax on the braces where they are rubbing helps prevent this problem.
3. How Can You Maintain a Healthy Diet When Wearing Braces?
You probably don’t want to live on pudding cups and peanut butter sandwiches like you would have as a teen with braces. Eating a healthy diet with braces is much easier than most patients assume. You will only have to avoid a few categories of food, such as:
- Overly crunchy foods like nuts, chips, and carrots
- Sticky candies like licorice and caramels
- Tough meats like beef jerky
You can eat a healthy diet consisting of grains, softer cooked vegetables, dairy, and tender meats while wearing braces. In fact, you may find yourself more likely to eat healthy foods with braces because they make it tough to chew some junk foods and crunchy snacks.
4. Are Braces Covered By Dental Insurance?
With more adults seeking orthodontic treatment, we are seeing a shift in some dental insurance plans. Don’t assume that you do not have adult orthodontic coverage. Check with your insurance carrier.
5. How Long Do You Have to Wear Braces?
Most adults need to wear braces for between 18 months to three years. Every case is different, and your dentist can give you an estimated treatment time for your particular case. Keep in mind that as you wear braces, your teeth are moving and your dentist may adjust the time accordingly.
If you had braces previously as a teen and only need minor adjustments, you may only need to wear braces for six to 12 months. Keeping all scheduled appointments without rescheduling or missing appointments also can minimize your treatment time. You also may be a candidate for clear aligner orthodontic treatment for minor corrections and not have to wear traditional braces with brackets at all.
6. How Do You Take Care of Your Teeth When Wearing Braces?
Oral hygiene is vital when you’re wearing braces, especially as an adult. Brushing your teeth after every meal helps keep the brackets and the area around them clean, which prevents cavities and bad breath. Make sure you focus on brushing each bracket as a part of your oral hygiene routine.
Your dentist may also provide you with an interdental brush, called a proxy brush to help clean between your brackets and around the wires. A small, handheld mirror can come in handy, allowing you to see where you’re placing your floss and brush. You will also need a floss-threader, which is a fine stiff filament that allows you to get dental floss between your teeth while wearing braces.
If you are ready to finally achieve a straight, perfect smile, then make an appointment for an orthodontic consultation at Crest Hill Family Dental. Wearing braces as an adult is easier than it seems, and we’re here to address your questions and concerns throughout the process.