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Adult braces explained

Adult Braces (Orthodontics) in Carshalton, Sutton area
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A beautiful smile with straight teeth can boost your confidence and have benefits beyond just looking great. With new technology there are so many new options where you can get your teeth straightened discreetly and comfortably.

Can you get your teeth straightened when you are an adult?

Yes, you can absolutely straighten your teeth even if you are not a teenager!  In fact, 90% of our patients are typically aged 25-40. It’s never too late to get your teeth straightened – we have recently just finished two patients into their 70’s.

What are the issues with getting braces when you are older?

The same issues that can potentially occur when you have braces when you are younger. There are a few additional issues you can have when you get braces at an older age:

  • Unless you use Invisalign or a lingual brace, people may be able to tell you are having your teeth straightened and this bothers some people. If that is the case, an alternative to braces is Invisalign.
  • If you have lost many back teeth, this may make it more difficult to straighten your teeth and you may need additional procedures such as a TAD (Temporary Anchorage Device), which is like a temporary dental implant. The back molars usually provide anchorage and without these it is sometimes difficult to move your teeth predictably.
  • If you have active gum disease or decay, we normally do not recommend getting braces. It is ideal to straighten your teeth only if your mouth is in a healthy state.  Afterall, what is the point of having a great smile if your mouth is unhealthy.
  • As a child, if your teeth meet a certain criterion, you can be treated on the NHS, which means free treatment; however, as an adult, you will have to pay for your new smile.
  • If you have a lot of crowns and bridges, it can make treatment more difficult and there is a chance you may have to replace them after treatment. Generally, if you have a lot of existing crowns/bridges it is easier to have Invisalign rather than fixed braces.
  • Teeth will move with braces, but implants will not. Depending on the position of the dental implant this can be a problem. However, there are ways to get around it if planned properly.

How long will it take to straighten my teeth?

This all depends on how crooked your teeth are.  The fastest treatment can take as little as a few months, whereas the more complex cases can take 2-3 years.  The average time at our clinic is around 9 months.  For complex cases that take 2-3 years to achieve the perfect bite, we usually discuss the option of finishing early as although it may not eb a perfect result, patients are normally very happy after 9-12 months.

Will I have to get metal train-tracks?

No, there are many adult braces options nowadays.  Invisalign is very popular here at the Sensational Smiles clinic, which is a brace made from clear plastic.  It is very discreet and almost completely invisible.

Other forms of braces can utilise clear ceramic brackets, which also look a lot better than metal brackets.  See the picture below for what they look like:

healthy gums

Do I have to straighten both sets of teeth?

You do not have to straighten both your top and bottom teeth if you do not want to. It really depends on the case and what it will look like afterwards. It also depends upon your bite too.

If one set is really straight and the other is very crowded it is more likely that you will need to do both sets as it all comes down to spacing. Crowding (or crooked teeth) basically occurs when you have too many teeth and not enough space in your natural arch. When you don’t have enough space, the teeth will need to overlap to fit within that arch. To create space in an adult’s mouth, we have three methods:

  1. IPR (Interproximal Reduction) – this is where we remove a very small amount of tooth structure by gently polishing between each tooth. There is obviously a limit to how much space you can gain by doing this but, if you do this on 8 teeth at the top it can add up to a maximum of 4mm.
  2. Expanding the arch – we can expand the arch out to create space and this can help a lot.
  3. Removing teeth – this is the traditional method used to create space, but it obviously has a major disadvantage. We generally try and avoid this method unless absolutely necessary and nowadays this method is rarely used by us. However, if your orthodontist recommends it, they will discuss it with you in detail explaining the advantages and disadvantages before proceeding.

Normally, the first two methods are combined together, and this results in creating sufficient space to align the teeth nicely.

Now, coming back to the original question of straightening one arch only; let’s say you decide to straighten the top arch only and decide to leave the bottom ones as they are. We would probably expand the arch out at the top a little which means your top teeth will bite further forward compared to your bottom teeth. Depending on how much further forwards, this can create a poor aesthetic outcome, but this does depend upon the case and what your main goals of treatment are!

Let us now compare the opposite scenario where you decide to treat the lowers only and leave the top as they are. This means the lower teeth expand out and end up biting further forward in relation to the uppers, creating again a poor aesthetic result.

So sometimes you can get away with treating one arch only, if there is minor crowding, but a lot of the time its best to do both arches.

If you would like to straighten up your teeth, our friendly team would love to help, simply contact us to arrange and appointment where we can discuss all our treatment options with you in a relaxing environment. We will have time to answer any questions you may have, including adult braces cost. After we have checked your teeth, you will receive a full written treatment plan to read in your own time. Once you are happy to start treatment, we will take some impressions and get to work towards your beautiful new smile!

 

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