You may desire that Hollywood smile, but gaps, spaces, or misaligned teeth get in the way of perfection. Braces (orthodontics) can focus primarily on aesthetics by lining up and straightening the teeth, or can be used to reconstruct the face by controlling and modifying facial growth.
There are several factors that lead to crooked teeth, the most common are the strength of the muscles, the position of the lips and the method of swallowing.
How Braces Work
The orthodontic community has made great strides in the past decade to improve braces for adults. Braces work by putting pressure on your teeth to shift them into a more attractive position. Traditional braces have brackets to hold an adjustment wire in place. Once threaded through the brackets, the wire applies pressure to move your teeth. These wires are adjusted regularly (usually every 4-8 weeks) during the course of your treatment. Treatment times vary depending on the severity of your condition, with most completing within a period of two and a half years.
Once the braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to keep your teeth from shifting. This is known as the retention phase of treatment. Removable retainers are often worn full time for about 6 months, then the patient wears them in the evenings only, gradually reducing to wearing the retainers once or twice a week during sleep.
Orthodontists will sometimes request that teeth be pulled in order to make room to adjust and straighten the teeth.
Types of Adult Braces
Braces come in metal, plastic, or ceramic brackets that are glued to the front of the teeth. Of these three types of braces, ceramic brackets are the least noticeable, as their translucent color allows them to blend in with the natural tooth color.
Lingual braces, also commonly referred to as ibraces, are a similar option with the difference being that the brackets are glued to the back of your teeth. Damon braces are a specific type of bracket that uses a special closing mechanism to hold the archwire as opposed to traditional ties.
Alternatives to Adult BracesIf your teeth are not severely crooked, or the gaps too large, you could consider dental composite veneers or porcelain veneers. Invisalign is another common alternative to braces.
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