If you, like 62% of Australian adults, would like to do something about your crooked smile, what are you waiting for? Your appearance doesn't need to suffer because there are at least 3 types of brace that are all but invisible, ceramic braces, Invisalign, and lingual (back of teeth) braces. Each of these types allows you to work or socialize while keeping your orthodontic treatment under wraps.
You also shouldn't worry about how long it might take. Adult teeth move almost as easily as adolescent teeth, and the average treatment span is about 2 years. If you still aren't sure if braces are worth the investment as an adult, then you should know that crooked teeth increase the risk of gum disease. Crowded teeth that overlap, and teeth that protrude or are bent inwards are harder to clean and thus this puts a person at greater risk of gum disease.
How Gum Disease Starts in Adults
Have you ever tried to mop or sweep a floor that was uneven, or where some of the tiles were broken or raised? You end up trying to dislodge the pieces of debris that get stuck in the nooks and crannies. Those little, hard to reach gaps and cracks seem to attract dirt. The same is true for your teeth. Over a person's lifetime, due to a process referred to as "mesial drift", the teeth naturally drift forwards towards the front of the mouth.
This causes teeth to become crowded, creating plaque-friendly zones that are almost impossible to reach with toothbrush or floss. Trapped food debris and bacteria then hardens and becomes tartar within about 10 days. This hard, chalky substance that appears as a yellow crust around the bottoms of your teeth, contains bacteria and their acidic byproduct which irritates your gums, causing them to recede.
If allowed to spread, the supporting bone around the teeth soon begins to break down, followed by the periodontal ligaments, and soon the teeth loosen and could even fall out.
Braces Guard Against Gum Disease
Braces won't just improve your appearance and self-esteem, they will also reduce the risk of gum disease. Straight teeth are simply easier to clean. Therefore, brushing and flossing away food particles and bacteria before they can become tartar is a simple matter. However, as a patient, you also need to do your part to ensure your orthodontic treatment is successful.
Excellent Oral Hygiene is Essential
Orthodontic treatment in adults can also cause, not just prevent, gum disease. This is because while wearing braces, oral hygiene becomes more difficult. Brushing and flossing around brace brackets and wires takes a lot of time and effort therefore some patients neglect to properly care for their teeth during orthodontic treatment. Ultimately, this leads to gum disease.
If you develop gum disease during orthodontic treatment, your treatment will fail. That is why it is essential that you maintain your teeth during your orthodontic treatment. You could end up wasting your money and time whilst worsening the condition of your oral health in the process if you don't care for your teeth when wearing braces.
Invisalign Aligners Make Cleaning Easier
By opting for Invisalign instead of traditional braces, cleaning your teeth will simply be a matter of removing the aligner and brushing and flossing as normal. Likewise, you can remove your aligners at meal times so there is no danger of food particles becoming lodged in brackets or wires as with traditional braces.
As long as you do your part to keep your teeth clean and healthy during your orthodontic treatment, in a year or more, your teeth should be straight and gum disease-free. Bear in mind, however, that not all patients are good candidates for braces. Your dentist will first need to check the status of your oral health and your dental history before making a decision.