When you were a pre-teen, probably one of the scariest things you could imagine was coming back from the dentist’s office with braces. Once you became an adult, you were probably relieved that you escaped your teens without having a mouthful of metal.
Surprisingly, many adults get braces, too. Why? Many people did not get braces when they were young because either their parents could not afford braces, or their teeth could not be straightened with the techniques of 40 years ago. Now they have problems with their teeth and gums, get indigestion all the time or they are just unhappy with their smile.
Other people did have orthodontic treatment when they were young, but they did not wear their retainers until they stopped growing (little known fact: you should wear your retainer until you are 24). The result is that their teeth are now a little bit crooked. Now they are unhappy with their smile so they get braces too.
As much as 25 percent of the orthodontic treatment being done is being done on adult patients. Most adults get orthodontic treatment because they realize that taking care of your smile is part of taking care of yourself.
Of course, the idea of revisiting the nightmare of your teen years is a bit intimidating—for example, in an episode of “Sex and the City,” Miranda briefly wore braces, only to have them removed because she was incredibly self-conscious about them.
Thankfully, many dentists (including us!) offer Invisalign, which is an alignment device that is clear, as well as much more comfortable than the traditional metal braces. Invisalign is removable, so you would take them out to eat, drink, and brush, greatly reducing the chance of decay that comes with metal braces. With Invisalign, you “graduate” to a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks. The aligners give less force per week and less pain than do fixed appliances.
Look at your smile – your smile is the most important feature on your face. Are you happy with your smile now? Does your smile look as good as it did when you were younger? What do you think about someone who has a pleasing smile – do you find them attractive? What do you think about someone who has an awful smile – do they look old and haggard? At the end of orthodontic treatment, people’s smiles end up looking fabulous.