This short post will provide patients with advice on how to look after their braces…
Dental braces have changed in recent years and many more adult are seeking treatment. Its easier, more discreet and more affordable than ever to get that smile you always wanted. We are addressing some of the myths about braces in this blog and answering questions our adult clients commonly ask.
1.” Braces are for teenagers”
As long as your teeth and gums are healthy, you could benefit from getting your teeth straightened at any stage in life. When most people think of orthodontic braces, they think of teenagers. But an increasing amount of adults are getting braces too. 1 in 3 of our patients are adults and most of our patients opt for invisible braces – so no one knows they are wearing them.
Why do people get braces in adulthood? Usually, their families could not afford braces when they were children. Now that they are adults, they want to improve their smile and their dental health. Some adults had braces as children or teenagers, but didn’t wear their retainers, causing their teeth to become crooked again. And still others have more complicated cases, which may involve jaw surgery and braces.
You are never too old to get that smile you always wanted.
2. “Braces are only for aesthetic reasons”
One of the most important things that orthodontists evaluate is your “bite”. This is the way that your top and bottom teeth meet when you open and close your mouth. Orthodontists are just as concerned with how your mouth functions as they are with making your teeth look great. After all, what good are straight teeth if you can’t chew or speak properly, or if you get TMJ headaches?
Of course improvements in appearance are also a common and great reason to get your teeth straightened. As you grow older a confident smile is a great asset in all situations in life – business and pleasure!
3. I can get braces from my regular dentist why bother with an orthodontist?
An experienced orthodontist will be able to tell you, with a fair amount of accuracy, what needs to be done: what types of braces you could wear, whether you need extractions, how long your treatment might be, and (ballpark) how much it might cost. Orthodontics is a highly specialised area and orthodontists have many extra years of full time training extra to what a dentist has. They also practice full time in orthodontics – I don’t think you would want an orthodontist doing your filling or crown! Likewise a dentist is not the best qualified to treat advanced bite or tooth straightening problems.
Dr Leydon has practiced for 20 years exclusively in orthodontics and is one of the most experienced specialists in Ireland.
4. Are the brackets you choose important?
The companies that make orthodontic brackets and appliances spend a lot of money on advertising and marketing. Any good orthodontist will tell you the truth: it’s not the brackets that make the difference, it’s the technique and experience of the orthodontist who is treating you. Sure, some of the newer brackets have advantages because they are smaller, less noticeable, or don’t require elastic “o-ring” ligatures to hold the wires in place. But that doesn’t make them any better than other types of adult braces.
So don’t get hung up on one type of bracket or one type of treatment. Trust the experience of your orthodontist. If you don’t like their approach, you can always get another opinion from a different orthodontist.
5. Braces can take years and cost a fortune.
Braces can be as affordable as you like. We offer a discount for paying upfront in advance for all your treatment. We also offer family discounts and payment plans to make the treatment more affordable for you. Different treatments have different prices so there is always something to match your pocket.
One to two years is the average for adult braces and it may seem like a long time, but it will go by faster than you realize, and is often safer and more reliable than the newer quick methods.
6. Braces are painful!
Yes, it hurts a little to wear braces at first.
It doesn’t hurt to get them put on your teeth; the pain and pressure come a day or two later. Not only will your teeth feel sore, but the brackets will rub the insides of your gums and lips and cause mouth sores. This is not pleasant, but fortunately this stage only lasts a couple of weeks. The initial stage of braces is not fun, but it passes soon enough. You will need to eat soft foods and chew very slowly and carefully. Believe it or not, in a few months the braces won’t bother you very much at all.
Invisalign and aligner treatments are a little easier to adapt to. The freedom to eat as you please is one of the great attractions of invisalign. There will still be pain with aligner treatment as the teeth are put under pressure.
7. Beware of allergies
Some people are allergic to nickel, which is found in some brackets and wires. Some people are allergic to latex, which is found in o-ring ligatures, elastics, and exam gloves. And recently, it seems that some people are allergic to something in the plastic of aligner trays and plastic retainers.
If you know that you have an allergy or sensitivity to any substance, tell your orthodontist or dentist. There are always alternative products they can use which won’t cause problems for you. Do not take these sorts of reactions lightly. A severe allergic reaction can kill you in a matter of minutes.
8. Once I get my braces off, my teeth will stay straight forever
Not necessarily! To maintain a perfect smile you have to wear a retainer. You can have a permanent retainer bonded to your teeth or wear a removable one. The most important thing is to realise that retainer wear is forever. A new retainer costs around 180 euro, so pay attention and take good care of it!
When it comes down to it, braces are a complex treatment and one that should be carefully considered before being undertaken. We make sure every person who walks through our door leaves well informed. If there are any questions you have about braces leave a comment under this post and we’ll make sure to give you the answers you need!