ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT FOR ADULTS
The days of embarrassing orthodontic treatment for adults are a thing of the past. Today there
are many discreet options in adult braces. The brackets can be hidden behind teeth, such as
iBraces or Incognito Braces (also known as lingual braces). Adult braces today can now be made
clear and virtually invisible like Invisalign. The truth is that one in five patients with dental
braces is an adult!
For adults that are want the benefits of straight teeth but do not want others to know that they
are wearing braces may choose lingual braces. Lingual braces are adult braces (can be used at
any age, really) in which the brackets are on the inside (tongue side) of the teeth. The archwire
is also on the tongue side of the teeth as well. Essentially all metal parts of braces are hidden
behind the teeth. Of course anyone that is looking into the mouth of someone with lingual
braces from above or below may see them, however for normal activities and conversation,
lingual braces are extremely discreet.
While they are virtually hidden from view, patients must pay a bit more for this special feature.
The cost of lingual braces is higher than almost any other form of orthodontic treatment. The
reason that lingual braces are so much more expensive is that they are more difficult to install,
fewer dentists have received the training necessary to competently install lingual braces and
the treatment time is longer (i.e. more orthodontist visits).
For adults that want straight teeth but cannot afford lingual braces, clear braces may be the
answer. Clear braces have changed the practice of orthodontics and adult braces rather
dramatically. Manufacturers of clear braces like Invisalign have figured out a way to bring
millions of adult patients into orthodontist offices with one simple and effective premise: make
adult braces comfortable, removable, and virtually invisible.
Clear braces slide right over your teeth. They are very difficult to see and do not significantly
change the way that patients sound when they speak. Clear braces do not interfere with daily
activities; since clear braces are removable, they can be taken out during meals and put back in
after you brush and floss. Of course the less time that clear braces are out of the mouth, the
shorter the overall length of orthodontic treatment.
Another benefit of clear braces is that they are smooth rather than rough. Perhaps surprisingly,
clear braces are actually cost about the same as traditional braces. This means that clear braces
are discreet, comfortable and affordable, which is almost ideal for adult orthodontic patients.
Adults are taking a second look at traditional braces. Even though Invisalign is attracting a lot
more adult patients into the orthodontist chair, clear braces are not right for every adult
patient. Furthermore, as the attitudes toward metal dental braces are changing among kids and
teens, they are also changing among adults.
For adults that cannot get past the idea of metal brackets, ceramic brackets are an option.
While ceramic brackets are a little more expensive than metal brackets, ceramic brackets are
the same color as teeth and are therefore harder to see. It should be noted, though, that the
archwire is still going to be metallic and somewhat noticeable, even with ceramic brackets.
Retention In Adult Braces
You may be wondering if adults need to wear retainers after the active treatment phase is
finished. It could be argued that since adults have fused and hardened skull bones that once
they are put in their proper position, the teeth will not drift. This is not the case. Adult braces
are followed by retainers just like they are with kids braces and teen braces.