Although we usually think of braces as a hallmark of teenage years, there are many reasons that adults could benefit from a straighter smile. The perks of aligning your pearly whites go far beyond vanity. Braces align your bite, enhancing your ability to chew food and even alleviating some speech impediments. Straight teeth are much easier to clean; better brushing and flossing reduces the potential for cavities and periodontal disease.
However, for many adult patients, the idea of wearing braces carries a sort of stigma. The team at Falmouth Dental Arts encourages all of our patients to have a healthy smile. We want to help you at every step of the journey, no matter your age! Let’s take a look at the three major types of dental braces:
- Conventional: Conventional braces consist of a single bracket, mounted to the front of each tooth with dental cement. Wire is strung through the brackets, and the shape and tension of the wire gradually moves teeth to the desired, aligned shape. Brackets can be metal, clear, or ceramic. Conventional braces boast the shortest average treatment time. However, they also are the most noticeable of the three types of braces, which can be a deterrent for some patients. With customizable rubber band options and shiny silver, conventional braces can add some extra sparkle and flair to your smile. A healthy mouth is the best accessory of all!
- Lingual: Lingual braces apply the same general concept to orthodontic alignment: brackets are cemented to the teeth, and metal wires work to straighten teeth. However, lingual brackets are cemented to the back of the tooth, not the front. This option eliminates the immediate image concerns. However, because they require a little more customization and time than conventional braces, lingual braces are typically the most expensive brace option.
- Aligners: Like a perfect mold of your teeth, aligners are customized clear trays made from an elastic thermoplastic material. Aligning treatments consist of multiple removable trays and enamel-colored “buttons” which are affixed to your teeth. The buttons allow the trays to snap into place and gradually leverage your teeth into the desired configuration. Typically, trays are switched every two weeks. However, aligners require the highest degree of patient discipline because their success relies on the patient remembering and keeping the trays in place for most of the day (typically 20-22 hours per day). Since they require more responsibility, aligners are a good option for adults. Many adults prefer aligners because the clear material is much less visible than conventional options.
Invisalign is the most recognizable brand of dental aligners. Falmouth Dental Arts now offers Invisalign treatment for our patients. If you think that you could benefit from braces of any kind, discuss the options with your doctor during your next visit. They’ll be happy to discuss the pros and cons of each option with you. If you are a candidate for Conventional or Lingual braces, you will be referred to one of the trusted local orthodontists.
Please note: our office opened on June 1 with new protocols and procedures in place to keep you and our staff safe. You can also read the full list of these updates on our COVID Protocol Page, easily found in the top menu bar of our website, so you know what to expect before your next appointment. If you are overdue for your appointment, rest assured we will be in touch soon as we catch up with our backlog. We do look forward to seeing you again. Thank you for being our patient!
From the day your braces are first put on, you have probably imagined what your smile will look like on the day they are taken off. To avoid any unwanted surprises, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene from the moment your braces are affixed right up until the day when they are removed.
Proper dental care with braces does require more effort, but it will be well worth it in the end! Adding to your usual oral hygiene routine can prevent decay, staining, and prolonged treatment. To help you tweak your habits, we put together a short list of ways to help you keep your smile sparkling.
- Watch what you eat.
Avoid eating too many sugary or starchy foods. These can make plaque build up quickly around brackets, which can cause staining or even cavities. Sticky foods should also be avoided as they are harder to clean off brackets and wires. Hard foods, such as nuts, popcorn, and beef jerky, can break wires and loosen, or even take off, brackets. Switch up your drinks, too. Stick to water as other beverages may contain dyes and sugar which can sneak into cracks and spaces between your teeth and brackets.
- Don’t forget to brush.
For everyone, brushing your teeth twice a day is important. But when you have braces, you might want to consider brushing more. While this might sound crazy, you should brush your teeth after every time you eat. Even those mid-morning or afternoon snacks! Having brackets and wires in your mouth create more places for plaque to hide. The longer the plaque can hide there, the more likely it is to cause problems in your mouth. You also might need to change how you brush. Be sure to brush around the brackets at an angle to make sure you are getting in that space where the bracket meets your tooth.
“At FDA, we recommend an electric tooth brush to make your brushing more effective. The moving bristles can get into those small nooks and crannies better than a manual brush can.”
- Rinse it off!
Don’t have time to brush? Forgot your toothbrush at home? Another effortless way to help get rid of that pesky bacteria is to use an antibacterial mouthwash. After eating, vigorously rinse out your mouth with some water to get rid of any larger pieces of food that may be stuck between brackets or wires. Then, swish with mouthwash to kill off any bacteria. If you can brush (which should always be your first choice), go ahead and use the mouthwash after anyway! The extra attack on bacteria is a terrific way to keep your mouth healthy.
- Floss, floss, floss.
We know, flossing is hard when you have extra hardware to work around. However, it is incredibly important to keep up a regular flossing routine when you have braces. To make it easier, we suggest getting a floss threader to get under those wires and between the braces. You can find those at any drugstore or in our office! While you are there, grab some waxed floss, it is easier to slide into those hard-to-reach areas.
- Don’t stop going to the dentist.
We know you visit the orthodontist often with your new gear, but don’t stop coming to see us! Not only do we want to see you and your changing smile, we want to help keep your mouth and teeth clean. We will also make sure each part of your braces are intact and working effectively. We are here to help with any questions you may have regarding brushing, flossing, or getting those hard-to-clean areas.
In fact, many patients increase their dental hygiene visits to ensure optimal oral hygiene while in orthodontic treatment. If you have questions about keeping your mouth clean with braces, give us a call at 207-781-5900 or schedule a visit today.
What’s scarier than having a child who needs braces? If you think the orthodontist’s bill will be scarier than a Stephen King novel, think again. Most orthodontists will work with you to create a manageable payment plan. It’s actually much more expensive to forgo braces when your child needs them.
Braces correct serious problems. Crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and other issues corrected with orthodontia can have massive implications for your child’s dental health if left untreated. Often, malocclusions (misalignments) worsen over time. Your child could be facing a lifetime of increased risk of tooth decay, jaw pain, and gum disease. Not to mention that misshapen teeth can be a serious blow to self-esteem.
Therefore, if a dentist recommends you take your child to the orthodontist it’s best to do so. While your child may not be happy with the situation at first, once their braces are removed, they will be pleased with their great new smile.