If you're tired of feeling self-conscious about your smile, then it may be time to consider braces. In fact, a study by the American Association of Orthodontists has found that instances of adults seeking orthodontic treatment have increased by about 40% since 1989. Still, if you're thinking about getting braces as an adult, it's a good idea to begin with an assessment from a trusted orthodontist.
During this consultation appointment, your orthodontist will have the opportunity to take a closer look at your teeth — and you'll have the opportunity to ask some important questions.
What Are My Options?
Start by finding out which teeth-straightening options are available to you, especially if you're worried about how you'll look with traditional metal braces. These days, there are less visible alternatives that include invisible aligners and even ceramic braces (which use tooth-colored brackets and wires to blend in with your smile). There are even lingual braces, which are placed on the back of the teeth instead of the front. Take time to discuss your options in detail with your orthodontist, weighing the pros and cons of each before reaching a decision.
How Long Will Treatment Take?
One of the most important things you'll want to ask during your initial consultation is how long your orthodontist expects your treatment will take. Typically, the treatment length refers to the total amount of time you'll be wearing braces before your ideal results are achieved and the braces can be removed.
There are many factors that come into play when determining an estimated course for treatment. This includes the type of braces chosen, as well as the complexity of your treatment. In general, however, adults should expect to be wearing braces for 1 to 3 years.
Will I Need to Wear a Retainer?
After your treatment is complete, there's a good chance that you will need to wear a retainer to prevent your teeth from shifting back out of place. In some cases, you might need to wear a retainer indefinitely. In other instances, you might be able to get away with wearing one only for the first year. Find out exactly what you should expect in terms of the type of retainer you'll need, how often you'll need to wear it, and for how long.
Getting braces as an adult can be a great way to reward yourself with a beautiful new smile. And by asking these questions during your initial consultation, you'll have a better idea of what to expect from your treatment. For more information, contact your orthodontist.