Many people think of braces as a teenage rite of passage, but more adults are taking advantage of the opportunity to improve their appearance and oral health by getting braces.
Teeth can be moved and straightened at any age, and the benefits go beyond cosmetic. Crooked or crowded teeth or a misaligned bite can make thorough teeth cleaning more difficult, which increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Also, a misaligned bite can interfere with speaking and can even lead to jaw problems.
Because an adult's facial bones are no longer growing, the same treatments may take longer in adults than in children. Also, certain types of tooth and jaw corrections may not be possible for adults with braces alone. Other types of orthodontic appliances or procedures may be needed to achieve the desired result.
No matter what your age, you can choose braces that are inconspicuous or obvious. If you want your braces to be subtle, ask your dentist about attaching the brackets to the back of the tooth, rather than the front. Or, if you have brackets attached to the front of each tooth, they are available in clear or tooth-colored versions. But you can make a statement with your braces, too. You can choose brackets in your school colors and brackets are available in different shapes, such as hearts and footballs.
If you play any contact sports that might result in a head or jaw injury, be sure to wear a protective mouth guard. If you aren't sure what type to buy, ask your dentist for a recommendation.