Misaligned teeth can mar the look of an otherwise perfect smile. Teeth can grow in a crooked alignment due to a number of factors, such as too little space in the mouth, trauma from a blow to the teeth, prolonged thumb-sucking, or an inherited dental growth pattern.
Some people have their misalignment corrected with braces during childhood. However, many people wait until they reach adulthood to receive their orthodontic treatment.
There are many discreet options available to adult orthodontic patients. Here are two of them.
Adults who prefer the effectiveness and versatility of traditional braces but dislike the appearance of metal brackets may choose clear braces. Clear braces are traditional braces with clear ceramic brackets. The other components of the braces, such as the archwire and elastic bands, remain the same. The transparent color of the brackets makes the clear braces more difficult to discern against the teeth.
The clear brackets are positioned on the teeth in the same manner as their metal counterparts. In addition, the ceramic braces are just as effective at correcting misalignment issues.
Nevertheless, the cost of clear braces is a bit higher when compared to that of traditional metal braces. As a result, to mitigate the cost, the dentist may offer to apply clear braces to the teeth near the front of the mouth, while still using metal brackets for the back teeth.
Clear Aligning Trays
Another popular orthodontic option for adults is the use of clear plastic aligners to straighten the teeth. The aligners, which are customized mouth trays made of transparent, rigid plastic, are placed in the mouth and worn for the majority of the day. The trays can be removed to allow the patient to clean their teeth and eat but should only be left out of the mouth for a maximum period of a couple of hours daily.
Unlike braces, aligning trays do not include an archwire that is periodically adjusted to straighten the teeth. Instead, multiple sets of trays are worn in a specified order to straighten the teeth. The patient wears each set for a few weeks and then moves on to the next set of aligning trays in the series. After the final set is worn, the teeth should be in an optimal alignment pattern.
Clear aligners are suitable for teens and adults with minor or moderate alignment problems.
To learn more about adult orthodontic treatment options, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist in your local area.