Let’s cut to the chase and give you the answer straight away: yes, you should. Ideally, human teeth should line up neatly but many people are forced to deal with crooked teeth, crowded teeth and poorly aligned bites. If you think they add character to your face or you’re not bothered about your appearance, consider this: poorly aligned teeth raise more than cosmetic concerns. They can cause chewing and swallowing problems, facial pain and difficulty in pronouncing certain words or making certain sounds.
Childhood is obviously the ideal time to make changes in the positioning of the teeth but more adults are opting for orthodontic treatment than ever before. According to the American Dental Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of eighteen.
If you’re considering treatment to correct long-standing dental problems or even new ones like (tooth loss), here are a few things to keep in mind: because the bones of adults have stopped growing, there are a few changes (structural in nature) that can only be corrected by surgery. Also, the process might take longer for you than for a child or adolescent. Treatment time is relative to individual requirements but on average, it lasts about two years for adults. You may also need to see a periodontist as well as your dentist and orthodontist to make sure that the treatment you’re undergoing isn’t complicated by bone loss from gum disease.
Now for the good news. Braces today are more comfortable and less in-your-face than ever before. They’re smaller, use fewer brackets, the wires are less noticeable and more effective. You can choose from braces that are practically invisible to braces that act as a fashion statement: bold, colourful and quirky.
Some orthodontists give you the option of using a device that’s known as a lingual appliance. It attaches to the back of your teeth so brackets and wires don’t show when you smile. They do have a drawback though: they tend to be more expensive and require more care than traditional braces. The cost of braces ranges, on average, between $5000 and $7500. It really depends on the type of treatment you need and the severity of the problem – and, of course, the kind of braces you finally decide to go with.
So to sum up: if you think you need braces, it doesn’t matter if you’re 30. Here are some tips to help make that first visit to the orthodontist easier:
- If you don’t want to wear brightly colored braces or draw attention to yourself but can’t afford Invisalign, try porcelain braces. They are less expensive (although not as economical as traditional metal) and they’re barely noticeable.
- All that extra stuff in your mouth can make your cheekbones seem more prominent and your lips feel fuller. Which is awesome.
- Start noticing how many people your age have braces – you’ll start feeling less self conscious. Like we said, one in five people wearing braces will be over the age of eighteen.
- Know that you have way less food stuck in your teeth than you think you do. (But stay away from food items like turmeric.)
- Do what your orthodontist tells you to. Just because you’re not a teenager doesn’t mean you know everything.
- Own it.