ADULT DENTAL BRACES
A top dental specialist answers questions about adult dental braces
IF you’re considering orthodontic treatment as an adult, you’re not alone. Recent research conducted by the Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO) revealed that over a third of Australians (39%) don’t like their teeth. Not surprisingly, over the last five to ten years there’s been a significant increase in the number of adults undergoing treatment.
Orthodontic treatment has come a long way since the days of big, chunky metal braces and the stigma once associated with having braces is all but gone. If you’ve ever considered having orthodontic treatment to fix your crooked teeth as an adult but you’re unsure where to start, here are the top five questions asked about adult braces and adult orthodontic treatment in general:
1. What are my treatment options?
Contemporary orthodontic treatments are designed to be as unobtrusive and practical as possible so you can get on with your life. While the smaller metal braces used nowadays are still an extremely effective way of straightening teeth and achieving a perfect smile, orthodontic treatment options for adults now include Ceramic (clear) Braces, Lingual (inside) Braces and removable Clear Aligners (for example Invisalign / Clear Correct and others). You can read more here.
2. How long will treatment take?
The average time frame an adult will wear braces or aligners can be anywhere between six months to three years, depending on the type of treatment you choose and the severity of your presenting problems.
3. Will it affect my speech?
While it’s common for lingual (inside) braces to cause a slight lisp at first, we can assure you that regular metal and ceramic braces and clear aligners won’t impede your speech.
4. Can I still drink red wine and enjoy my favourite foods?
Many of us enjoy a nice drop of wine now and then, but it’s high in acidity and can erode the enamel on your teeth when consumed frequently. Both coffee and red wine can cause slight discolouration of ceramic braces so consumption should be kept to minimum if you want the braces to stay nice and clear. Making sure you regularly brush your teeth and drink plenty of water will also help avoid this staining.
Slight modification in diet may be required, but that won’t necessarily be a bad thing since most of the foods to avoid are usually sticky, sugary treats anyway! According to the Australian Society of Orthodontists’ guidelines, the following should be avoided:
• Hard sweets • Gum • Nuts • Popcorn • Some raw vegetables such as carrots (however steaming is totally fine).
5. Is it worth it?
Absolutely! Not only does orthodontic treatment straighten the teeth, create confidence and a more pleasant appearance, it can also help prevent other long term oral health issues such as uneven or accelerated tooth wear and gum disease. So, what are you waiting for?
Whether you’re considering traditional braces or a more invisible alternative to braces, only an orthodontist has the training, experience and expert knowledge to be able to offer you the full suite of treatment options and give you the confidence you’re in the best hands. Book a consultation with an ASO registered specialist Orthodontist to find out which is right for your treatment needs and lifestyle.
Dr. Howard Holmes BDSc (Hons) MDSc (Ortho) AOB Cert FADI FICD is a registered specialist orthodontist, and spokesperson for the Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO). For more information on the ASO, please visit: www.aso.org.au