Braces? Who hasn't had them?
If you’re a young person or teenager who has been told that you need to get braces, this news may at first be somewhat daunting. However, it’s reassuring to know that you’re in good company, and that a whole host of renowned celebrities have been through the same experience.
Alternatively, you might be an adult who is suffering from problems caused by mouth and jaw problems, or it may simply be that as you get older, you want to improve the quality of your smile. You too may very well be surprised by the number of actors, models and people in the public spotlight who likewise have chosen to have braces as adults.
Braces for Children and Teenagers
When young people are advised that they need braces, it’s usually to address problems such as having crooked or crowded teeth, or problems with your bite (how your teeth line up when you close your mouth or chew) caused by the alignment of your jaw. A misaligned jaw can also make it harder to brush your teeth and maintain good oral hygiene, and so correcting this when you’re young can help you to prevent tooth decay, cavities and gum disease as you get older.
Often these problems occur in young people when your baby teeth fall out and are then replaced by adult teeth. These adult teeth may not grow in at the correct angle, are twisted and crooked, or badly crowded because your mouth is too small. This is why the teenage years are often the ideal time to get braces, because at this age your head and mouth are still growing, which means braces can do their job most effectively. However, it is not uncommon for people to have braces much younger than this.
Braces straighten your teeth because they remain in place for some time and so exert steady pressure on your teeth, positively affecting their alignment and spacing. Your orthodontist will continue to adjust your braces during the time that you have them, to ensure that this gentle pressure remains sufficient for your teeth to be correctly aligned.
There are many famous people—actors, models, singers—who had braces in their younger years. Have a look at them now, and judge for yourself if they made the right decision!
Braces for Adults
While it’s true that most people get braces when they are in childhood, there is an increasing number of adults who choose to get braces later in life. It may be that you want to improve your smile, or are having problems with your bite, which is causing you problems with speaking, breathing, or chewing, which can in turn make it more difficult to maintain good oral hygiene. Alternatively, you may be suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) headaches. If any of these are the case, then braces might offer you a solution, irrespective of your age.
Types of Braces
There are different types of braces available—your orthodontist will be able to advise you as to which is most suitable for you.
Metal braces are the most familiar type of braces, and consist of stainless steel brackets bonded to the teeth, and exert pressure on the teeth with wires.
Clear ceramic braces, often a popular choice with adults, are almost clear and less obvious than metal braces, while functioning in much the same way.
Lingual braces work in a similar way to metal and ceramic braces, except that they have brackets that attach to the back, rather than the front, of the teeth and so are almost impossible to see.
Invisalign braces are not braces in the traditional sense, but rather consist of custom-made aligners made from smooth, transparent plastic. These are worn over the teeth and are replaced roughly every two weeks.
See Your Orthodontist
If you are considering braces, irrespective of your age, it is important to consult an orthodontist. Your family dentist will be able to refer you, but this is not necessary—as orthodontists are primary health care professionals, you can visit one without a referral from a general dentist. The extensive and specialised training that Australian orthodontists undertake means that they are the best qualified and most experienced practitioners to deal with problems associated with the alignment of teeth and jaws.