Braces aren’t just for kids anymore!

Orthodontic treatments (Braces) aren’t just for kids anymore!
Orthodontic treatment in adults is the most rapidly expanding area of contemporary orthodontic practice because of an increased availability services, greater acceptability of appliances and increasing awareness of the potential of orthodontic tooth movement. Nowadays, a greater proportion of the general public is keeping their teeth for longer, which is resulting in an increasing demand for orthodontic treatment to facilitate restorative and periodontal care.

Reasons for adult to consider braces:
1) Straighten their teeth
2) Improve their smile
3) Improve oral health
4) Braces can help manage some more serious issues, too, such as bite problems that cause jaw pain.
5) Braces are needed to change the position of neighboring teeth for a new bridge, crown, or implant.

Options of Orthodontic appliances for adult patient
A) Fixed Appliance
i) Conventional metal fixed appliance
ii) Conventional ceramic fixed appliance
iii) Self-ligating fixed appliance ( metal or ceramic )
iv) Lingual Fixed appliances

B) Removable appliances for adult ( Clear Aligners )

Fixed Appliance
Fixed appliances are the most commonly used appliances and are able to produce very precise tooth movement to achieve ideal results. Treatment with fixed appliances usually starts once all the adult teeth have erupted. All fixed appliance treatment is followed by retention. Retention may be length or permanent in adult cases.

Conventional Metal Fixed appliance
They are most commonly made from stainless steel and are sometimes used in combination with titanium. It attached onto the teeth using tooth composite resin (coloured filling material) Care has to be taken eating hard foods as the attachment can easily be broken leading to a disruption in treatment. An orthodontic wire (archwire) is tied (or ligated) into the bracket using coloured elastic rings which can discolour in-between visits.

Conventional Ceramic fixed appliances
Rather than using stainless steel, the attachments may be made from a hard ceramic material to blend in with the tooth colour. This produces a more aesthetically pleasing appliance which is more of an attractive option particularly for adults. Clear elastic ties and white metal ties are available to be used with these clear braces to help keep the appliances less conspicuous. Ceramic fixed appliances can be as effective as conventional fixed appliances at achieving tooth movement. Sometimes they are not recommended for the lower teeth, if the bite is deep, because the hard material can damage the opposing teeth that contact the attachments. Ceramic appliances are slightly more difficult to remove than conventional metal fixed appliances; however, they are unlikely to damage healthy teeth in most cases.

Self-ligating Fixed Appliances
Self-ligating appliances maybe made from metal or ceramic. Rather than using elastics to hold the orthodontic wire into position, these appliances have an integral clip mechanism (sliding door) that holds the wire which allows the wire to slide more freely. They offer a lower-friction solution to teeth straightening therefore it is less painful following appliance adjustment compare to conventional fixed appliance. There is evidence that the time taken to change the wire is reduced with a self-ligating mechanism and there is less likelihood of the appliance discolouring in-between visits as no elastics are used to tie the wires.

Lingual Fixed appliances
Lingual appliances are attached to the inside surface of the teeth which makes them look invisible when patient smile. Problems that maybe encountered with lingual appliances include initial difficulty in speaking, tongue soreness and problems in keeping the appliances clean. The cost of treatment with lingual appliances is considerably more than the appliances mentioned so far which reflects the greater laboratory fees in producing the appliance and the increased surgery time required in the adjustments.

Removable appliances for adult
Clear removable aligners are a relatively new way of correcting milder orthodontic problems following a comprehensive assessment and discussion of the all the available options. These braces are the most recent type of braces. It is customized plastic aligners that fit like tooth guards over teeth, gently moving your bite into a new position. “Invisible” or clear removable aligners are perhaps the highest profile orthodontic appliance, with widespread advertising in magazines and television (examples of which are Invisalign and Clearpath).  These newer appliance options no doubt have contributed to the increase in adults seeking treatment, with most reporting that they are very happy with the results. The braces are hardly noticeable on the teeth and work to gradually move the teeth into their right position without the need for wires or tightening. Like traditional braces, they do require an improvement in the amount of oral hygiene because they have to be removed to eat and one must brush and floss after every meal. Overall, you’ll find that clear aligner costs more than other options for adult braces.