Gone are the days when braces were just associated with those awkward, nerdy kids at school – more and more adults are opting for the perfect Hollywood smile.
But why now, you ask? Having braces is a very personal and, we believe, life-changing experience. The reality is that in the past many people couldn’t afford braces – but as we see disposable income on the rise, there’s an increasing number of adults choosing to take this significant step in their health.
It isn’t always about the money though – there are numerous reasons for making the decision.
This could be for those in front-facing roles, who regularly deal with clients or customers, who might want to boost their confidence with a sparkling smile – or you could argue that people are becoming more self-conscious about their looks, thanks to things like social media pressure via Instagram and Facebook.
Whatever the reason though, we’re here to give you the information you need… and bust some myths along the way!
Having straight teeth isn’t just about looking attractive. In fact, it actually helps with overall oral health too.
Healthy teeth and gums are really important to minimise decay, which can cause problems like tooth loss and gum disease. Unfortunately, crooked teeth provide the perfect space for plaque and bacteria build-up, which can be linked to gum issues in later life.
Having braces is a great way to reduce future problems and make sure your teeth stay healthy for longer.
So what are some of the myths? It might not be as black and white as you think…
‘I’m too old to have my teeth straightened’
Wait… let us stop you right there! You can have your teeth straightened at any age – there is never a time when it becomes ‘dangerous’. Some think you can only have them done before you turn 18 but, in reality, your teeth can move safely with the help of your orthodontist and the correct brace without fear of damaging your pearly whites.
‘It takes years’
Actually, these days we have technology to give you the best treatment in the quickest time. Your orthodontist will be able give you an idea of how long that will be, depending on the severity of alignment. However, what used to take a couple of years, if not more, can normally be done in a much smaller time frame in a much more subtle way.
‘Braces need constant adjustments’
Not true. In the old days, wires may have needed regular tweaking but now we can minimise your time in the chair, thanks to updated technology and more effective lines of treatment. You’ll only be here when you have to be!
Whichever treatment you and your orthodontist choose, all will be pain free. However, some patients may experience minor discomfort when their braces are fitted and each time they are adjusted.
There are a number of options for those who are considering orthodontics treatment, from the popular fixed braces to ones that can barely be spotted by the naked eye.
Here are just some of the treatment methods which could suit your needs:
> Fixed Braces
These braces have no impact at all on speech and are a comfortable option with brilliant results.
But how do they work?
Fixed braces use small metal or ceramic brackets bonded to each tooth, which are linked by a thin wire and held in place by elastic rings.
The wire is then adjusted over time to straighten teeth and correct the position of the jaw, leaving you with a stunning smile.
The result means straighter teeth which are easier to keep clean – reducing the risk of future gum disease.
With fixed braces you will have to be careful with what you eat and stick to a soft diet, as anything hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy will break the brace.
> Invisible Fixed Braces (also called ‘incognito’)
For those who are self-conscious about the idea of braces, this could be your solution. Fixed to the back of the teeth, they can’t be seen when you smile – and still offer similar advantages to traditional fixed braces.
This state-of-the-art technology gives 100% customised braces with precise bracket placement for a perfect fit.
These are often used to straighten both front and back teeth, or if you have had previous orthodontic work.
They are also suitable for minor alignment corrections.
> Removable Braces
Orthodontists will recommend removable braces when minor corrections are required.
These are non-fixed and include a plastic plate with wires and allow the teeth to move gradually by applying gentle pressure.
Generally, these take less time than fixed braces – and your orthodontist will be able to give you an idea of how long these will take at your first appointment.
> Invisible Removable Braces
Invisible removable braces work in a similar way to traditional metal braces – but with a number of benefits and advantages.
These are made up of a series of clear, removable aligners and are a relatively new concept for treatment of minor orthodontic problems.
They work by the orthodontist taking moulds of your teeth, which are then used to create a series of plastic aligners totally bespoke to your teeth.
They then get changed every two weeks and result in small movements of your teeth until they reach the desired location.
However, they do require a big time commitment, as appointments have to be kept to every fortnight.
So now you have an idea about what’s available… but what’s the process?
As a general rule, you will first have a consultation.
This means you will meet your orthodontist to discuss what the best option would be for you, what the cost will be and any questions you may have about treatment.
They will also be able to give you an idea of what is possible with the treatment you have chosen.
Once you’ve decided, your next appointment will be to take impressions of your teeth and get you ready for a fitting.
Impressions are taken using small plastic trays covered in a type of foamy liquid, which sets very quickly.
This is then used as a mould and filled with plaster to create a copy of your teeth.
It’s also a great way of seeing how your teeth have changed compared to the beginning of your treatment at the end!
Next up will be the all-important appointment – to actually fit your brace!
Each fitting will differ slightly depending on what treatment you have opted for and this is where your dentist will tell you all the important information you will need to look after your braces, such as staying away from food that could break your braces – anything hard, crunchy, chewy or sticky should be refrained from eating – and how to brush your teeth most effectively with your new braces.
If you have traditional braces or incognito braces then you will need to come back every eight weeks or so to have them adjusted, for example, changing wire or elastic rings.
These appointments will also allow your dentist to check how your teeth are moving and make the necessary recommendations to achieve the best results.
And finally, the moment you have been waiting for! Having your braces removed.
Your dentist will usually tell you in the second-to-last appointment if they think you’re ready to leave your braces behind.
Once removed, they’ll take an impression of your new teeth so they can give you a retainer – which they will advise you to wear for a certain amount of time before reducing it to when you are just asleep.
We do highly recommended that following treatment you carry on with wearing the retainer at night. This is simply to avoid your teeth moving dramatically and requiring more orthodontic work in the future.
We hope this post will give you some of idea of what to expect when you make that exciting decision to change your life and get your perfect smile.
If you want to learn more, give us a call on 01872 242444!