10 Commandments of Surviving Adult Orthodontics

1 in 3 young adults ages 18 to 34 (33%) are reluctant to smile due to teeth and gum problems, notes a 2015 study from the American Dental Association (ADA) regarding oral health in adults. In 2012, research commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) remarked that more than one-third of adults were unhappy with their smile. Why is this relevant? Because a good smile can improve success in the professional, romantic, and social aspects of life.

As awful as it is, the people around us make judgements based on appearances. From our clothing, how we style our hair, the makeup we put on, and the smile plastered on our faces —  onlookers always have something to say. Our smile, in particular, is especially important during a job interview or when going on a date. A perception study by Kelton for Visalign in 2012 stated that around two-thirds of Americans are more likely to remember attractive features, including a healthy smile with emphasis on straight teeth. 

However, not everyone has straight teeth. Many adults, especially those who procrastinate on visiting their family dentist in Chandler, AZ, live their lives with crooked teeth and misaligned bites. This cosmetic issue also poses health concerns, such as gum disease and tooth decay. Thankfully, treatment for straightening teeth is quite straightforward — get braces.

Are You Too Old for Braces?

Of course not! Although it’s more ideal to get braces as a child, there is nothing wrong with seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult. In fact, it’s a growing trend. An increasing number of grown-ups opt for braces in Arizona, with good results to show for. According to the AAO, 1 in 5 patients seeking orthodontic treatment are over the age of 18.

Take into account that since adults are no longer growing, treatment efficacy may take longer than it does for children or teenagers. The average man or woman wears braces for 18 months to three years. Following the removal of these dental devices, wearing a retainer is necessary to maintain the results of treatment.

What are the Types of Braces?

Technological advances in orthodontics now provide a variety of choices you can opt for. So yes, metal braces are no longer your only option. Some of these improvements help in fostering quality of life, making it less invasive and more manageable.

The different types of braces offered in orthodontics are:

  • Self-ligating Braces. These dental devices are similar to the traditional design of fixed metal braces. The difference lies in their ability to appear less noticeable than the metal variety. Self-ligating braces are available in clear or ceramic brackets. And rather than elastic bands, clips hold the brace’s wire in place to make cleaning the teeth easier.
  • Fixed Metal Braces. Traditional fixed metal braces are a tried and true procedure. Today, they and are still popular among dental patients. This type of braces use metal brackets that are bonded onto teeth, along with a wire running across them to produce a steady force that gradually aligns teeth.
  • Lingual Braces. These braces function similar to fixed braces. The difference is that they are attached to the lingual or tongue side of the teeth. As a result, no one can see them. 
  • Invisalign. Invisalign is a removable orthodontic device that uses of a series of transparent plastic aligners for gradual and guaranteed teeth straightening. It is a popular brace type among adults, particularly because it provides a discreet and less noticeable appearance. 

How to Survive Braces as an Adult

To some grown-ups, braces seem foreign and may take some time to get used to. Perhaps the most challenging part would be enduring the first few weeks with braces. Luckily, we have ten commandments that may help.

1. Thou Shall Practice Good Oral Hygiene

This tip is a no-brainer. Clean your teeth after every meal and take extra time to clear the bits of food that might get stuck to your braces. Get into the habit of flossing on a regular basis, too. 

2. Thou Shall Always Have a Cleaning Kit Ready

Keep your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, wax, and even a lip balm on hand. Store them in a kit inside your bag, or somewhere within reach like your car. In doing so, you will be ready to clean your teeth and braces wherever you go. 

3. Thou Shall Use Wax for Those Irritating Mouth Sores

Although braces are designed to be as comfortable as possible, they can rub on your inner mouth and cause irritation to the soft skin. Until the moment your skin toughens up and gets used to your new dental pals, use wax to alleviate any discomfort.

4. Thou Shall Be Careful When Eating

Cutting your food into smaller pieces instead of biting into large portions reduces the risk of food getting into your brackets, or worse, break your braces. 

5. Thou Shall Eat Soft Foods

Your first few weeks with your new braces are better served with you eating soft meals like scrambled eggs, seedless bread, pudding, and porridge. Avoid tough meats that might cause discomfort with every bite 

6. Thou Shall Avoid Certain Foods

In addition to tough meats, chewy or sticky foods are a no-no until you get used to your braces. You should also avoid foods high in sugar and starch to lessen the buildup of plaque, as well as crunchy fruits and vegetables to prevent damaging your braces.

7. Thou Shall Avoid Drinks with Dark Coloring

For some types of braces, such as Invisalign or self-ligating braces, dark colored drinks like coffee, tea, and soda could cause them to stain. Staining would be a problem for your goals of discrete orthodontics.

8. Thou Shall Use Protective Gear When Playing Sports

Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or group fitness classes to protect your teeth and braces. The last thing you want is to experience a dental emergency

9. Thou Shall Stay Confident

Here’s another no-brainer. Don’t let your new braces make you feel insecure. They are there to help you feel good about yourself and to assist in attaining a winning smile that hopefully brings the success you seek in all aspects of your life.

10. Thou Shall Contact Kyrene Family Dentistry

If you start feeling severe pain or feel something is amiss with your orthodontic devices, call us at 480-705-9005 to schedule an emergency appointment. And in general, going to your follow-up appointments in order to adjust your devices regularly is vital to reaping the benefits of braces, as well as to survive them as adults.