Braces are no longer just for teenagers. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, roughly 20 percent of the patients who undergo orthodontic treatment are over 21 years old. Adult patients in Oak Lawn either received no treatment at all as children or they received incomplete treatment. They, thus, need braces for adults to correct problems like misaligned bites or malocclusions, crowded teeth, spaces between teeth, or crooked teeth.
Adult patients may choose from the following types of braces:
• Traditional metal braces
• Ceramic braces
• Self-ligating braces
Self-ligating braces for adults resemble metal or ceramic braces, but the brackets have special clips that hold the archwire and help it maneuver teeth into their proper places and alignment. The brackets can be active or passive depending on the thickness of the archwire used. Active brackets use a thicker archwire that puts more pressure on the teeth and moves them more quickly, while passive brackets have a thinner archwire. The patient won’t need to use elastics, and they will need fewer adjustments.
Invisalign® is a brand of clear aligners and is essentially removable braces. The patient will wear them for at least 22 hours every day, but they can take them out to eat or to clean their teeth. The patient will, thus, have an easier time keeping their teeth clean. They may also eat and drink what they like without having to worry about damaging their orthodontic devices. The patient will change trays every two weeks.
Ceramic or porcelain braces for adults are made of clear materials and are much less visible than traditional metal braces. They are more fragile than metal braces, so the patient will have to treat them carefully. The orthodontist may use ceramic braces for just the upper teeth and use metal braces for the lower teeth.
Metal braces are the oldest type. As they are effective and generally less expensive than other types of braces, they are still the most commonly used type. Modern metal braces for adults are smaller and less noticeable than the “railroad tracks” that earlier generations used.
During the first consultation, the team will go over the patient’s medical and dental history. They will also perform a complete oral exam, including X-rays, to determine the best treatment for the patient.
After completing the exam and going over the X-rays, the orthodontist will explain the different treatment options. After the patient chooses one, the orthodontist will explain the rules for caring for the braces.