Many people get braces when they're teenagers, but not everyone does. Some people couldn't afford braces when they were young or their teeth took longer to fully develop. If you're an adult who has misaligned teeth, it's not too late to seek orthodontic treatment. Adult orthodontic treatment is just as effective as treatment undergone in adolescence. In fact, in some ways, it's beneficial to have your teeth straightened as an adult since you won't have to deal with braces and other oral hardware during the emotionally tender years of adolescence. Here are three things you should know if you're considering adult orthodontic treatment.
1. It can take anywhere from one to three years.
The exact length of your treatment will depend on several factors. It will depend on the degree of misalignment present in your teeth, and it will also depend on the type of orthodontic treatment you choose. If you decide to choose clear aligners that can be removed, you'll be responsible for making sure you wear them as often as prescribed. If you're noncompliant with your treatment, it may take longer. However, most people are totally finished with their treatment within three years.
2. It can be discreet.
If you're worried about walking around with noticeable braces as an adult, you should know there are varying levels of discreet treatment available. If you choose metal braces, you can opt for clear or white rubber bands, which are less noticeable than the colored rubber bands younger teens tend to favor. You can also choose ceramic braces which are made from tooth-colored material. These braces will blend in seamlessly with your teeth. Clear aligners such as Invisalign are a third option; these aligners can be removed for special occasions, so you may want to consider this choice if you have an upcoming event where you will have your picture taken.
3. It may be temporarily uncomfortable.
It's not uncommon for people to experience periodic discomfort while pursuing orthodontic treatment. As your orthodontist makes adjustments to shift your teeth into place, you may experience a sensation of tightness or pain. Taking over the counter pain relievers can help you feel more comfortable. As your teeth adjust to the new tension on your orthodontic advice, you will begin to feel more comfortable. Any discomfort you feel can be managed with oral and topical painkillers and most people find the outcome worth it.