Kids and Adults Get Straighter Teeth Faster with the Latest Orthodontic Innovations
Having a straighter beautiful smile to show off has just become easier for kids and adults due to new technological advancements in the orthodontic world. New treatments allow for shorter treatment times and less noticeable braces. This allows adults that are concerned with being seen in braces the option of straightening their teeth at any age.
If you’re looking to potentially start orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, then you’re probably wondering “How fast can I get straighter teeth?” While we can’t give you a straight answer since every patient receives a customized treatment plan, with a combination of incredible new orthodontic technology and certain things you can act on, you can make treatment as short as possible. Today, getting the beautiful and straight smile you want is faster and more affordable than ever before. So whether you’re curious about what a smile realignment would be like for yourself or you’re looking into braces for your child, here’s some information you should know.
You’re Never Too Old for Braces
Even if you’re well past your teenage years, you can still get straighter teeth. Today, one in five patients who get orthodontic care is over 18 years old, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. The number of adults receiving orthodontic treatment has increased by more than 40% since 1990.
Orthodontic treatment also helps fix problems with your bite. Unfortunately, crooked teeth and jaw misalignment don’t just cause issues with your self-esteem. They can lead to a variety of serious health concerns including:
- Sleep apnea caused by snoring (or mouth breathing)
- Grinding teeth
- Speech impediments
- Chewing challenges
- Jaw pain
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
When many patients who experience these issues learn that the root cause is related to misaligned teeth also known as malocclusion, they are surprised. Patients are typically better off treating the underlying dental causes rather than just treating the symptoms.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, if your child is approaching the age of 7, they should have their first orthodontic consultation scheduled. When a patient is 7 years old or younger, an orthodontist has the opportunity to see potential orthodontic issues, correct concerns before braces are needed and even consider if there are any preventative measures available.
If your dentist has identified any of the conditions listed above and they believe they could be resolved with orthodontic treatment, you should schedule an orthodontist evaluation.
We make it easy at Castle Dental with free orthodontic consultations. During your consultation, our orthodontists will examine your facial structure and teeth. They might also review output from newer diagnostic tools such as 3D dental imaging or digital X-rays in order to get a better view of what’s going on with your teeth and jaw so they can then recommend a course of treatment.
How Do Braces Work?
Orthodontic devices apply consistent pressure to the teeth. It’s this pressure that causes the root of the tooth to create tension with the alveolar bone. Ultimately, the pressure on the bone then causes a portion of the bone to dissolve which then allows the tooth to move into the desired position. New bone then grows into spaces empty left on the other side of the root.
Braces are still very versatile and that’s just one of the reasons as to why they are still the most commonly used orthodontic device. With braces, multiple teeth can be treated at once and move in a variety of directions. Braces are often the best choice for children and parents typically love them, this is because they are glued to the teeth and cannot be removed, therefore the child can’t really mess with the timeline or lose them. Brackets are cemented onto the tooth surfaces when traditional metal or ceramic braces are put on. Then, an archwire is anchored to molars and threaded through the brackets. This wire gets adjusted by the orthodontist during your visits to direct the pressure that’s applied to the teeth.
While braces are a great choice for children, many adults want a faster and less noticeable option for straightening their teeth. Part of the reason why adult orthodontics has exploded in popularity in these last years is due to the availability of alternative treatments which have dramatically shortened treatment time.
Orthodontic Treatment Options
The good news is that today’s braces are a lot more comfortable (and less noticeable) in comparison to older treatments. Typically, treatment plans span from 1 to 3 years, although every patient’s treatment is customized based on their specific needs. After the braces come off, retainers are recommended to be worn every night in order to keep all the teeth properly positioned.
Here are the types of braces available for you to consider:
- Metal braces: These are the most common and traditional treatments for children because they are sturdy and economical. With metal braces, metal brackets are glued to each tooth. An archwire along with elastic bands apply pressure to your teeth. During your orthodontist appointment, the archwire is adjusted to keep your teeth moving into the desired position.
- Ceramic braces: Less visible than metal braces, ceramic braces are also called clear braces. They are made of the tooth- or cleared-colored crystalline, composite, or glass brackets. They operate just like traditional metal braces. Thanks to innovative technology though, they are a lot more durable than ceramic braces used to be.
- Self-ligating: These orthodontic devices are gaining in popularity. They are placed just like traditional metal braces but they don’t use rubber bands because they are not needed. Instead, a special clip helps the archwire move into position. In some cases, these are easier on your teeth, less uncomfortable, and save time by requiring fewer visits to the orthodontist.
- Lingual braces: These are braces that are attached behind the teeth to make them less noticeable. If having noticeable braces is a concern, talk to your orthodontist about less noticeable options that might work for your treatment needs.
- Clear Aligners: While traditional braces remain a good option for many, the market for alternative orthodontic treatments is growing at more than 20% a year according to MarketWatch. Clear aligners have driven most of that growth, while hybrid treatment technologies are also growing.
- Also called aligner trays, Invisalign® is the leading provider of clear aligner technology. When using aligners, your teeth are gradually shifted into position as you progress through a series of different clear plastic trays. The aligners are virtually invisible and can be used for both mild and more severe cases. Depending on the number of trays required, treatment can range from just six months to over two years. New materials and techniques have made aligner therapy much more effective in recent years cutting Invisalign treatment times by up to 50 percent.
- Sagittal First: This is an emergent multi-phase orthodontic treatment technique that employs a specialized correction device to resolve the most difficult part of the treatment upfront before placing brackets or clear aligners. This combination approach reduces overall treatment length by up to six months. Sagittal First treatment can be used on all types of malocclusion to both simplify treatment and minimize the need for extractions.
What You Can Do to Manage Your Orthodontic Timetable
Even though there are some things out of your control when you get orthodontic treatment, there are certain things you can do to keep your treatment on track or not set back your progress. Here are four tips:
- Follow your orthodontist’s instructions – The more you follow your orthodontist’s instructions, the more your treatment will stay on track. If part of your treatment is to wear rubber bands or use other tools to get your teeth to move and you don’t follow instructions, you can expect treatment time to be extended. This is especially important in the case of clear aligners. Aligners should be worn between 20 and 22 hours a day for maximum impact. They should only be temporarily removed when eating as well as when you brush and floss your teeth.
- Keep all scheduled ortho appointments – Most orthodontic patients need to visit our office every 5 to 10 weeks to get their braces adjusted. If you miss appointments, you might extend your treatment time.
- Good oral hygiene – Be sure to see your dentist for regular cleanings and exams at least every six months even when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Even though it can be more challenging to take proper care of your oral health because brushing and flossing may not be as easy, it’s even more important to do so in order to avoid tooth decay or infections. In some cases, your orthodontic care could get stalled while other issues caused by bad oral hygiene get resolved.
- Don’t eat foods that could harm your braces – You don’t want your brackets loosened or your wires bent. Some foods, notably chewy or hard foods, can damage your brackets or wires. If your brackets aren’t properly adhered to, they can’t do their job adequately. So, follow the food guidelines recommended by your orthodontist. Avoid chewing gum and ice; crunching nuts, popcorn, hard pretzels, and other hard foods; say “no” to caramels, taffy, and other sticky foods; and cut difficult to bite foods such as apples and corn on the cob before digging in.