Planning adult orthodontic braces is a little more complicated than designing them for children. To begin with, the tooth movement and adult jaw development take longer to accomplish. Adults often have broken, worn or missing teeth that must be addressed before braces can be placed. Any periodontal disease must be controlled. And braces may just be one part of the adult’s complete treatment plan. First, we’ll do a thorough exam to identify and repair any problems.
Planning your treatment
Once your mouth is healthy, we’ll take photographs of your face and profile, x-rays to show the position of the teeth and roots, and an impression of your teeth. We’ll use these to design a plan specifically for you and discuss the next steps with you.
Before we place the braces, we may have to make room for them by adding spacers to your back teeth. We may have to remove a minimal amount of enamel between your teeth, or even extract a tooth.
To place your braces we bond a bracket to each tooth in a specific location. Arch wires are threaded through the brackets and, usually, held in place with small elastic bands. The arch wire puts constant pressure on your teeth to move them. Some kinds of braces don’t need rubber bands. We’ll discuss what kind is best for you.
How adult braces move your teeth move
As each tooth moves, it creates a gap on one side of the bone that will be filled in with new bone cells, while the pressure causes bone cells on the opposite side of the tooth to break down. This process moves your existing teeth into their proper positions and helps them stabilize. We’ll need to see you every one to three months to adjust the tension and make any necessary changes.
Most adults wear braces for about 18 to 36 months. How long you wear them depends on how complex your case is, how well you respond to treatment, and how well you follow our instructions.
Deciding to get braces is a positive step in getting a healthy, beautiful smile. And we’ll be with you every step of the way.