Each year, the number of adult Surrey, Abbotsford and Langley braces and Invisalign patients at our practice increases. It’s not just at Aura Orthodontics either. The American Association of Orthodontists estimates that 27 percent of all orthodontic patients in the United States and Canada are age 18 and older. Thanks to so many innovations in the field, getting braces as an adult doesn’t have the same stigma and the process of straightening your teeth is so much more comfortable and aesthetic, not to mention faster, than it used to be. Whether you forgot to wear your retainer for a few years and need a touch-up after past treatment or you never had braces or Invisalign at all, Dr. Sharma, Dr. Lin and Dr. Koo have you covered. Here is everything you need to know about orthodontic options for adults.
What are the Benefits of Invisalign and Braces for Adults?
While the cosmetic perks of wearing Invisalign or getting braces as an adult are great, straightening your teeth has a host of oral health benefits that can actually improve your overall health too. Here are some of the most significant benefits of braces for adults:
- Reduced Likelihood of Tooth Decay – Crooked teeth are harder to clean and food debris, bacteria and plaque build up on the surface of teeth and in all of the nooks and crannies. When it is not brushed away, the plaque releases acids as it interacts with the starches and sugars you eat. The acids soften the enamel and, over time, the structure of the tooth can become damaged and cavities will form. Additionally, your teeth may feel extremely sensitive as the enamel erodes. By straightening the teeth, you can more easily brush them and get in between them with dental floss to effectively kick plaque to the curb and keep your enamel strong.
- Healthy Gums – Plaque build up isn’t only a concern because of tooth decay, it can also lead to gum disease. Since, you’re able to brush and floss better with properly spaced teeth, adult braces or Invisalign can be extremely beneficial to the health of your gums and play a role in preventing gum disease. Gum disease has been tied to other health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, premature births in women and stroke, highlighting the connection between your oral and overall health.
- Easier Chewing – When your teeth are in the correct positions and your jaw is aligned, you can chew properly. This makes eating more comfortable and allows you to enjoy a wider range of foods for improved nutrition and health.
- Clear Speech – We make certain sounds by touching the tongue to the teeth in a specific way or because of the way the teeth control the airflow. Some of our Langley, Surrey and Abbotsford adult braces and Invisalign patients actually notice they speak more clearly once they finish treatment and things like a minor lisp or whistling sound or problems articulating consonants improve. That’s because their teeth are where they need to be and they have the room in their mouth necessary to produce sounds correctly.
- Less Pain and Discomfort – A bad bite, or malocclusion as we say in orthodontics, due to a misaligned jaw can result in imbalanced bite forces and stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This, in turn, may lead to or exacerbate TMJ pain, headaches, migraines, neck pain and even earaches. Orthodontic treatment is more than just straightening the teeth. It also focuses on improving the positioning of the jaw, which has the potential to alleviate discomfort.
- Preserves Bone – Things like spacing between the teeth or stress on the gums and teeth from jaw misalignment can cause the bone that supports the teeth to break down. As this happens, you become more prone to tooth loss and pain. Getting Invisalign or braces as an adult will shift the teeth and jaw into their proper places and help to keep the bone and supporting tissue in tip-top shape.
- May Alleviate Sleep Apnea – In some cases, orthodontic treatment can help open the airway and improve sleep apnea. Occasionally, for adults, surgical orthodontics, which involves jaw surgery combined with braces or Invisalign, is the recommended course of action for severe sleep apnea. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, your orthodontist can create a custom oral appliance for you that can help you sleep more soundly.
- Creates Space for Dental Implants – When you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth have a natural tendency to shift to fill in the area left behind. This can interfere with the placement of a dental implant, which is why people occasionally need braces or Invisalign before they are able to undergo a dental implant procedure.
- Prevents Injury to the Teeth – When you have protruding teeth, especially front teeth, they are more susceptible to getting knocked out, chipped or fractured due to trauma. Orthodontic treatment will shift the teeth to their correct places and keep them out of harm’s way.
- Improves Your Appearance – By moving the teeth into their ideal positions and aligning the jaw, orthodontic treatment enhances your facial symmetry and improves the appearance of your smile and your entire face. Unfortunately, society places a lot of importance on our teeth and our appearance does play a role in making first impressions. Studies have shown that people view individuals with straight teeth as smarter and more successful, which can give you an edge in your career and personal life.
- Boosts Your Confidence – The confidence you gain from overcoming insecurities about your teeth and loving your smile can be truly life changing. When you feel good about yourself, it trickles over into every aspect of your life. While it might seem like the cosmetic benefits of braces for adults aren’t as important as the oral health aspects, you can’t overlook how powerful boosting your confidence is.
What Types of Problems Can Braces and Invisalign Fix?
Clear braces, metal braces and Invisalign can fix a host of orthodontic issues. These are the ones we most commonly address with adult orthodontics at our practice:
- Spacing – Spacing is when there are gaps between the teeth. It can be the result of teeth that are too narrow for the jaw, certain oral habits or missing teeth.
- Crowding – Crowding is the opposite of spacing. It happens when there isn’t enough room for the teeth to fit normally in the jaw. You’ll often have teeth that are overlapping, protruding or blocked out of line. Crowding is typically caused when there is an imbalance in the tooth-to-jaw-size ratio. It can also happen if you lost your baby teeth too early or if you lose a permanent tooth.
- Overjet – Overjet teeth, commonly called an overbite, are characterized by front top teeth that stick out too far beyond the bottom teeth. Almost everyone has some degree of overjet but when it hits a certain point, it’s considered malocclusion and needs to be treated.
- Crossbite –A front crossbite is when one or more top teeth in the front of the mouth sit behind the bottom teeth. A back crossbite is when the upper teeth are behind the lower teeth in the back of the mouth. Ideally, we’d treat a crossbite in childhood since it can cause changes to your face and jaw over time, especially if you move your jaw to one side to compensate for it. However, if you waited to address it, we can usually still achieve great results with braces or Invisalign in adulthood.
- Underbite – An underbite is when the bottom teeth are in front of the upper teeth when you close your teeth together. This is another instance where early intervention is ideal since we can often intercept the issue while the patient is still growing and guide their jaw development with appliances. For a moderate to severe underbite in adults, surgical orthodontics could be the best route for getting the most dramatic, stable results. However, every case is different and Dr. Sharma, Dr. Koo and Dr. Lin can determine the most effective way to correct an underbite once they have a chance to evaluate you and form a diagnosis.
Am I too Old for Braces or Invisalign?
You’re never too old for braces or Invisalign! Orthodontic treatment can move your teeth into optimal positions, whether you’re eight or 80. Thanks to advances in technology and treatments, we can achieve results more comfortably, quickly and effectively. If you feel like you’ll look silly getting braces as an adult, just think of all of the celebrities who have straightened their teeth as grown-ups and now have fantastic smiles to show for it. Also know, there are tons of orthodontic options for adults and today’s braces are a far cry from the ones available even a decade or two ago.
What are the Different Orthodontic Options for Adults?
- Metal Braces – Metal braces are the most common type of braces and they’ve been around the longest. They are made of high-grade stainless steel and rely on a system of brackets and arch wires to straighten the teeth. While some people considering getting braces as an adult cringe at the thought of having a mouth full of metal, the brackets are actually much smaller, more streamlined and more comfortable and the wires are thinner and work more efficiently. The reason why metal braces have stuck around for so long is because they are really effective at correcting a wide variety of smile concerns.
- Clear Braces – Our adult braces patients tend to love clear braces. The brackets we use at Aura Orthodontics are made from single crystal, pure grown sapphire that is heat polished to make them clear, smooth and incredibly strong. The brackets are much less noticeable than metal ones when they’re bonded to your teeth. After they’re in place, we thread arch wires through them to exert gentle pressure to shift the teeth into alignment. If you’d prefer a fixed appliance, meaning one that stays in your mouth throughout your entire treatment, but want a discreet option, clear braces could be a great fit for you.
- Invisalign – Invisalign is hands down the most popular choice for our adult orthodontic patients and as the premier Invisalign provider in the Fraser Valley, your smile will be in good hands with us. When you come in for a consultation, we’ll take quick, comfortable digital scans of your teeth and gums with our iTero® scanner. Based on the scans, a computerized 3D model of your mouth will be created. Dr. Sharma, Dr. Lin or Dr. Koo, our Platinum Invisalign providers, will plan out each individual tooth movement directly on the screen for maximum precision. They can even show you a virtual representation of what your smile will look like when you finish treatment. A series of custom aligners will then be created based on these specifications. You’ll wear each set of clear aligners for about 20 to 22 hours a day, changing them every one to two weeks.
The aligners are custom molded, smooth and made from clear, BPA-free plastic so most people won’t even notice you’re wearing them. They slip over your teeth like a slimmer, super comfortable mouthguard. There are no brackets and wires to cause irritation. Since the aligners are removable, you can brush and floss as normal and you’ll have zero food restrictions. Because we have a high level of experience with clear aligners at our practice, we’re able to treat even more complex cases with Invisalign and get amazing results.
With all of the orthodontic options for adults, there has never been a better time to straighten your teeth. The Aura Orthodontics team is experienced and knowledgeable in treating patients of all ages. If you happen to have a child in orthodontic treatment at our office, you’re in luck. We even offer a discount on Invisalign to the parents of our patients! Ready to learn more? Schedule a free consultation with a Surrey, Abbotsford or Langley orthodontist at Aura Orthodontics and we’ll get you started on the path to the stunning smile you’ve always wanted.