Life

Ask the Dentist: Are you all grown up but fancy straighter teeth? Brace yourself...

If you want to dip back into your youth now you can with adult braces, writes Lucy Stock, dentist at Gentle Dental Care in Belfast

A more confident smile is the motivation for many adults to go down the braces route
Lucy Stock

BRACES have become an increasingly normal part of treatment for many adult patients – but why?

Well, the obvious reason is to have straighter teeth to give a more confident smile. Some people, for whatever reason, feel that they missed the boat first time around and now, as an adult, have become self-conscious of their wonky smile. Others did have brace treatment as teens but then the teeth moved out of position again – especially if they didn’t want to wear a retainer to keep the teeth in place.

No teeth stay in the same place for eternity; even people who have never worn a brace, have all their own teeth, perfect bone and no missing teeth will be subjected to teeth moving slightly during their lifetime.

One reason for this is that our bones are continually changing and remodelling – a process in which our entire skeleton is replaced every 10 years – and this means that our faces are changing shape imperceptibly and teeth move.

Generally people lose teeth as they get older. More people are seeking to replace these with implants. After a tooth is removed other teeth can drift out of position and into the resulting gap. This means that some teeth can drop down, rotate or tip over. So the gap now is too narrow for an implant to be placed. Braces allow these wayward teeth to be pushed back into position and the space then opens up for an implant with a properly sized crown tooth on top to be fitted.

One great advantage of having straighter teeth is that they are easier to clean. Little teepee brushes and wood sticks are easier to insert between upright teeth that aren’t jammed too tightly together.

This is great for all but especially good for people who are more prone to gum disease.

There are so many different types of brace to choose from and many adults, if their teeth are suitable, prefer to have the more discreet clear type.

With advances in technology, brace treatment times and the number of appointments necessary have been streamlined – always welcome news to patients.

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