5 things you should know about adult braces

Adult braces are becoming increasingly popular, they aren't just for kids or teenagers anymore. Your age shouldn't stop you from having the perfect smile!

adult braces
Braces aren't just for kids or teenagers anymore. Photo: Luckyraccoon, Bigstock

If you think you are too old for braces, think again! Adult braces are becoming increasingly popular and you probably even know someone who has been through this experience well past their teenage years.

Many people who had braces as a child may even decide to have their teeth straightened again as an adult due to movement.

If you have been dreaming of a straight smile, here are five things you need to know about having braces as an adult:

1. There are different options available

When you think about braces, the first thing which may come to mind is a mouth full of irritating metal. There have been some significant advances in orthodontic treatment and there are a variety of different options now available.

Braces can be metal, ceramic, clear or a combination of these. The braces cost varies and while traditional metal is generally the cheapest, as an adult it is often worth investing a little extra for something less noticeable.

The type of braces you can have will depend on how much work you need done. For example, a small amount of straightening can be done with a product like Invisalign, while repairing a misaligned bite might require something stronger. Your orthodontist will be understanding of your age, and find the best solution for your needs.

2. It will be a time commitment

Having braces is a time commitment, but when you put it into perspective, it is really only a short period in your life. Typically, adult braces stay on between 1 and 2 years and you will be visiting your orthodontist every few weeks for readjustments during this time.

Once your braces are removed, it isn’t over because you will be required to wear a retainer. This will make sure your new smile stays where it is supposed to; failing to wear your retainer correctly could cause your teeth to relapse. Generally, this is worn at night, often indefinitely.

It is not uncommon for orthodontists to now place a permanent metal wire behind your teeth to hold them in place once your treatment has finished. Straight teeth don’t come easy, but you will get used to having braces and they will be off before you know it.

3. You will need to look after them

Braces don’t require too much on-going maintenance but you do have to be careful when choosing what to eat. This means avoiding anything too hard such as lollies or nuts. Food can get stuck in your wires and brackets, but brushing regularly will keep them neat and clean.

Orthodontists often use small rubber bands to help speed up the process, and if you choose a clear variety you have to be careful as they may become stained. Staining could be caused by things like coffee, spaghetti sauce and red wine but even if this does occur they do get changed regularly.

Your orthodontist will be your best friend during this time, and will be your first point of contact if you do cause them any damage. Keeping up with your professional cleaning at the dentist will keep your teeth and gums healthy and hygienic for the long term.

4. They may feel uncomfortable

When you first have your braces put on there is going to be a period of adjustment. Your teeth will feel tight from the pressure and you may have difficulty eating.

This is a good time to stock up on soft foods such as custard and yoghurt. This only lasts for a few days, after which you will be able to continue eating normally.

Generally, you won’t feel any pain, but it may feel uncomfortable when you have your wires tightened at your regular orthodontist appointments.

There may be some pre-treatment required such as tooth extraction, but this is not always necessary. When it comes time to remove your braces, there shouldn’t be any pain but you will feel good being able to run your tongue along your smooth, perfectly straight smile!

5. You will be glad you did it

Sometimes it can feel as though there is never the right time to have braces as an adult, but the sooner you start the process the sooner it will be over. Braces cost money and can be uncomfortable at times, but they don’t take long to get used to.

You will probably even forget they are there! If having straight teeth is something you have been thinking about, having braces as an adult is something you will be glad you did!