Right now, there are over four million Americans undergoing orthodontic treatment. In fact, the number of adults with braces has gone up almost 25% in the past decade. Clearly, braces are not just for kids anymore.
One of the biggest reasons for the increase in adult braces has been the technological advances in the field. Each new technique is designed to either decrease the visibility of the appliances or to reduce the amount of time the appliances need to be in place — and sometimes, new techniques can achieve both.
Lingual Braces. “Lingual” means “having to do with the tongue”. Lingual braces, while based on the traditional bracket-and-wire design, are placed instead on the lingual side of the teeth (or the side your tongue rests against). This makes them virtually invisible, with correction times comparable to non-lingual braces. The technique involved in their installation, however, is more advanced than with other forms of correction, so the price does tend to be higher.
Invisalign. This correction can usually be done with no metal whatsoever, relying instead on clear plastic trays to guide the teeth into their proper position. Prices are comparable to traditional braces, and treatment time is usually the same, although patients must stop into their orthodontist’s office more often. The tradeoff is a discrete correction technique, with no eating restrictions and a easier cleaning (since the trays can be removed for meals and brushing).
Damon Braces. The Damon system uses brackets, like the traditional system, but the brackets are self-ligating, meaning there’s no elastic and fewer adjustments are needed. The Damon system also provides a more holistic approach to correction, taking post-correction facial shape into account when devising a treatment. The system boasts fewer extractions, reduced correction time, and a price similar to traditional brackets and Invisalign.
Adults who are dissatisfied with their smile but have been unwilling to subject themselves to the stigma usually associated with traditional brackets are looking at orthodontics in a new light, thanks to all these new types of braces. Which might finally give them something to smile about.