The Specialist

You are never too old for braces

Did you know braces aren’t just for kids? Today, millions of adults globally wear braces, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. Straighter teeth are considered more attractive. However, there are many long-term health benefits of braces that promote a happier and healthier smile.

In this column, I address the benefits of adults wearing braces and the various choices of braces available for your specific needs.

You’re never too old for braces. Teeth can move at any age. Maybe you had straight teeth when you were younger, but they’ve shifted and become crowded as you have gotten older. Braces can correct these changes. Perhaps, you have always had a bad bite but never did anything about it. It’s never too late!

If you are interested in braces, your dentist should examine your teeth and mouth closely and develop a customized plan for you. In complex cases, a dentist will refer you to an orthodontist.


Variations of
braces for adults

Invisalign: Invisalign is the brand name for clear aligners. They’re not traditional braces, but they do deliver the necessary pressure to move teeth. As the name implies, these aligners are practically invisible. These are removable trays and are usually changed weekly. Treatment can last 18 to 24 months.


Clear braces:
Clear braces are tooth-colored (ceramic) brackets that move teeth much like traditional and metal braces. They come with clear or tooth-colored wires. Treatment usually lasts 18 to 36 months.


Traditional metal braces:
Metal brackets are still most common because they are the most effective in treating severe bite problems and very crooked teeth. The metal brackets tend to bond stronger to the tooth surface. Metal braces are also made for the inside surface (lingual) of your teeth. Treatment times for both traditional, clear and metal brackets are approximately 18 months to three years.

Self-ligating braces: Self-ligating braces do not use elastics or O’rings. They are popular because of their flexibility and the limited pain they incur. They are used in many orthodontist’s offices today. Treatment usually last 18 months to three years.


FastBraces:
FastBraces have been around for over 25 years, helping people get straighter teeth in a much faster time. It looks like traditional braces, however it is a fast, safe, comfortable and affordable alternative to traditional braces. Fastbraces is a system which causes the roots of teeth to straighten (making them upright) using one square wire. Its treatment time is usually three to eight months.


There are great
benefits to adult braces

• Prevents oral health problems. Crowded teeth cause more plaque build-up, gum disease, tooth decay, gum and bone loss, joint disorders and irregular teeth wear.

• In FastBraces and Invisalign systems you do not have to extract four good teeth. In many cases, you can have braces while avoiding the removal of four good teeth in order to make space.

• You can enjoy your smile for a lifetime. Bahamians are living longer with their teeth intact. Adults in their 50s to 70s are investing in braces. Why not live the rest of your life with a great smile?

• Braces can assist in preventing gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease is an infection of the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. Orthodontitis (bone disease caused by crooked teeth) can result when some teeth are crooked or misaligned. It’s easy for plaque and food particles to get trapped between the teeth. Wearing braces makes it easier to clean and less likely to trap germs around your teeth.

• Bone erosion prevention – every tooth has a long root which is embedded in the jaw. If bacteria gets under the gum and on your teeth, you can suffer bone loss. Crooked teeth cause jaw bone erosion because the misaligned teeth usually place excessive forces on the teeth and gums. This creates pockets where bacteria can hide and cause bone erosion.

• Increased digestive health – some people are debilitated because of an overbite, underbite or crossbite. This prevents them from being able to bite and chew. The result is large chunks of food being unable to be digested causing intestinal distress and irritated bowels. Braces can correct this challenge.

• Improved emotional health – braces can immensely improve your mental health, self-confidence and self-esteem. Many people struggle with crooked and uneven teeth. Wearing braces can change this by correcting these flaws, helping to regain self-confidence.

Braces for adults are common-place in today’s dental treatment. Adult braces help in maintaining long-term oral and dental health and is an important choice in creating healthy smiles and a greater sense of wellness.


 • Dr. Kendal V.O. Major is the founder and CEO of the Center for Specialized Dentistry, which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in New Providence and Grand Bahama. He is the first Bahamian specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He is also a certified fast braces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, New Providence. He can be contacted at (242) 325-5165 or kmajorcsd@gmail.com.

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