We all think of braces as a rite of passage for middle school kids, maybe high school students, but it’s not something we commonly associate with adults. Many more adults, however, are turning to braces to correct problems that have bothered them for years, possibly since childhood. Adults who grew up being teased or embarrassed by their smiles can turn into adults who have difficulties getting close to people, something that can affect them personally and professionally. Fortunately, braces can help.
Braces can correct a host of oral issues, from simply poor aesthetics due to crooked teeth or an acutely bad bite (known as malocclusion). Adults who didn’t have the ability to change their teeth as children now turn to braces to make positive changes to their smiles and achieve their long-awaited dreams.
Adults and children respond differently to braces. Because a young person’s mouth is still growing and changing as part of aging, braces work more quickly on younger patients. Adults can achieve the same kind of smile successes as children can with braces, but it will just take a little more time due to their bones being already fully formed.
Adults typically care for their braces more than young people. A higher appreciation of the dangers of neglect and improper care can lead an adult to take far better care of his or her oral hygiene than a younger patient with braces.
Some types of braces are available that are less obvious than external brackets, such as ceramic brackets or lingual braces (worn on the inside of the arch of your teeth) or Invisalign aligners. Ask your orthodontist what braces options are available to you as an adult, and what positive changes they can make to your smile.
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Taking good care of your braces is an important part of the orthodontic process. Whether you’re wearing traditional braces or Invisalign aligners, proper care and maintenance will keep your mouth healthy and your appliances in good condition. Follow these guidelines for optimum results while wearing your braces and obtaining a beautiful smile.
How should I maintain traditional braces?
Traditional braces are known for capturing food particles when you eat, and it can be hard to get rid of all the residue. Brush your teeth diligently after every meal when possible, focusing on each side of every tooth before moving to the next one. Most orthodontists provide a small bristled orthodontic brush made for cleaning braces. There will be areas that your toothbrush can’t reach, but the small brush can access all areas more easily. You can also use a mouthwash to rinse away bacteria and food particles.
How should I maintain Invisalign braces?
One of the main selling points of Invisalign braces is the clear plastic aligners that are almost invisible in your mouth. To help keep them invisible, avoid consuming foods that stain like berries, sodas, grape juice, coffee, or wine. Since you shouldn’t be eating while wearing the trays, it shouldn’t be very difficult to keep staining items away from them. Rinse your aligning trays with warm water after wearing them, and brush the trays gently to avoid scratching or damaging them. Many orthodontists advise using a drop of liquid dish detergent on your toothbrush to clean your trays instead of toothpaste, which may contain abrasive particles. Thoroughly clean your aligners from every angle before returning the trays to your mouth, making sure all soap is removed first. Also remember to clean and rinse your teeth and gums properly before inserting your trays. This will help ensure a healthy and fresh smelling mouth.
Contact our Sherman Oaks orthodontists office for more information.
While braces are a fantastic way to achieve a beautiful and perfectly aligned smile, they also can create difficulties in keeping your mouth completely clean and healthy. It can be tricky to clean effectively around the metal wires and brackets, and if you don’t realize the importance of maintaining a clean mouth, you may be destined for developing gum disease while you are wearing braces.
The best way to keep your mouth clean is to brush and floss regularly. While wearing braces, this often means several times a day for the best results. When you eat, the food gets caught in the wires and brackets that are part of your braces. Without brushing and flossing the trapped food away, it remains trapped and collects bacteria. This means that the bacteria combines with the acid in your mouth and can begin attacking your teeth and gums.
The more plaque and bacteria that attacks your gums, the greater your risk of developing gum disease. It starts out in the minor stages as gingivitis, but if left untreated will advance to periodontitis. If gum disease reaches this advanced stage, tooth loss can result. Your orthodontic treatment won’t be worth it if you end up losing your teeth!
Instead of fighting the battle of trying to regain healthy gums once you’ve developed gum disease, the better approach is to combat it in the first place. This means making time to brush and floss your teeth so that your mouth is kept clean. You’ll end up with a healthy mouth and an attractive smile, which was the goal of wearing braces in the first place.
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