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7 Reasons To Get Braces As An Adult Written By: Dr. Ankita Shah, May 2022

Tongue Tie

Be it a kid or an adult - everyone can get braces. Your oral health contributes to your overall health, and if your mouth isn’t feeling good, chances are your entire body won’t feel good either. People who require braces often see the benefits that they provide.

For instance, braces can help you achieve that picture-perfect smile and a great body posture while preventing potentially serious health issues such as mouth breathing, habitual snoring, clenching and grinding of teeth, amongst others.

For instance, braces can help you achieve that picture-perfect smile and a great body posture while preventing potentially serious health issues such as mouth breathing, habitual snoring, clenching and grinding of teeth, amongst others.

A] Reasons To Get Braces As an Adult

1] To Correct Teeth Crowding

Teeth crowding is a condition in which neighbouring teeth overlap one another to a certain degree, creating a crooked appearance in the dental arches. The lack of proper arch form or crowded teeth can affect the way the jaw closes or deviates and can strain the TMJ. It can also narrow the space for the tongue to rest. Braces are one of the most commonly used treatments for correcting teeth crowding.

However, additional treatments like Myofunctional Therapy and/or Orthopedic Appliances may be required to correct jaw growth and underlying causes of teeth crowding, such as mouth breathing, incorrect swallowing pattern, etc.

Teeth crowding also makes it difficult to clean your teeth thoroughly, leading to tartar build-up, which can cause tooth decay. Thus, while braces can correct teeth crowding, you need to consult with an airway-focused dentist, who will suggest appropriate orthodontic or orthopedic appliances. This will help straighten your teeth and correct & improve the jaw, TMJ and airway structure.

to correct teeth crowding

2] To Correct Bites (Overbite, Underbite, and Open Bite)

There are several reasons that a misaligned bite can cause problems for you. An overbite, underbite or open bite usually causes crowded teeth, gingivitis, TMD or external injury. This can also interfere with your body posture and headaches. It can often give rise to clicking and popping in the jaw joints(TMJ). Adult braces using concepts of Gneuromuscular Orthopedics are a great way to correct bites as well as underlying issues.

3] To Adjust Jaw Size

When you have a crossbite, the lower jaw sits more to the left or right rather than directly below the upper teeth. Adult braces using concepts of Gneuromuscular Orthopedics and Airway Orthodontics can straighten the teeth and improve jaw alignment. If you grind your teeth or find it difficult to chew because of your malocclusion problem, braces can fix these issues too while simultaneously improving jaw alignment and adjusting the jaw size and improving the health of TMJ and the airway.

4] To Alleviate TMJ Pain

TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. You have this joint on each side of your jaw. It attaches your jaw to the bottom of your skull. The muscles near TMJ open and close your mouth. If this joint is compressed or unable to move correctly, you can suffer from TMJ disorder which causes TMJ pain.

Traditional braces and aligners often push the teeth, jaw and the TMJ behind in a compressed position. Gneuromuscular Orthotics followed by adult braces using concepts of Gneuromuscular Orthopedics and Airway Orthodontics are one of the most common and effective treatments for TMJ. If TMJ pain is the result of problems with your bite, straightening your teeth and aligning your jaw with braces is the perfect solution.

If TMJ pain is caused by teeth grinding or jaw clenching, Gneuromuscular Orthotics followed by adult braces using concepts of Gneuromuscular Orthopedics and Airway Orthodontics can help, as teeth grinding or jaw clenching is mostly caused due to misaligned teeth and incorrect body posture. Even if your teeth are straight, you can have jaw alignment problems which can be solved by braces as well.

5] To Prevent TMD and Headaches

Incorrect alignment of teeth creates a pressure on the TMJ from inappropriate biting,chewing and swallowing. This can lead to degeneration of the TMJ condyles and disc. Over time, this could lead to headaches, ear ringing, tinnitus, ear pain, pressure behind the eyes and neck stiffness and pain which can be prevented by braces using concepts of Gneuromuscular Orthopedics and Airway Orthodontics.

6] To Prevent Mouth Breathing and Snoring

Adults with airway obstruction usually benefit from oral appliances that guide the development of their upper and lower jaws. If you experience mouth breathing and snoring, then Myofunctional Therapy in conjuction with braces using concepts of Airway Orthodontics and Orthopedic appliances can help widen your mouth, thereby improving your airways, which can help prevent/treat mouth breathing and snoring.

7] To treat Sleep Apnea

Myofunctional Therapy, Tongue Posture and braces using concepts of Airway Orthodontics and Orthopedic appliances are the primary steps to treat obstructive sleep apnea caused by misaligned teeth. Braces and Orthopedic appliances slowly but methodically move teeth and jaw out of their incorrect positions and into positions where they won’t block the airway. These appliances can be used to treat children’s and adults’ sleep apnea.

B] Types of Braces for Adults

There are several types of braces for adults to choose from based on the condition to be treated:

The most traditional type of braces are metal braces. The newer metal braces with better mechanics are called the self ligating braces. These have metal brackets, which are attached to the teeth and tightened with a wire.

Metal Braces

If you want a more concealed look, you can opt for ceramic braces. They work similar to traditional metal braces. The only difference between the two comes from their look. Ceramic braces are almost invisible because they match the colour of your teeth. Hence, making these a great option for those who don’t want their braces to be noticeable. Ceramic braces also have advanced mechanics called the self ligating braces.

Ceramics Braces

Lingual braces are another virtually invisible option of braces. Instead of being attached to the front teeth like metal and ceramic braces, lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth

Lingual Braces

The last type is braces for adults are called Aligners like Invisalign. They are clear trays that are removable, and you can take them out whenever needed, which also makes it easy to clean your teeth.

Invisalign

There is one more way of solving your dental problems, and that is Airway orthodontics. Unlike traditional orthodontics, it focuses beyond the teeth by including a thorough examination of the throat, face, nose, neck, and muscles of the tongue to render appropriate treatment.

C] Why Choose Airway Orthodontics treatment?

Airway Orthodontics (also called Forwardontics/Orthopedic) treatment is tailored for individuals based on their age, specific dental malocclusion, and health concerns. The treatment may include a combination of traditional orthodontics and gneuromuscular dentistry.

Airway orthodontics treatment for adults can help improve the appearance of the teeth and leads to enhanced speech and chewing function, TMJ function, breathing through the nose as well as quality sleep function.

To achieve this, the orthodontist uses:

Braces and Aligners: Depending on the situation, the orthodontist selects an orthodontic appliance that will help the facial bones, jaws, and body to develop naturally to their full potential.

Alternate Lightwire Appliances: ALF appliances work on the principle of cranial osteopathy. Commonly used for children between ages 7-11, an ALF device is used for selective adults to improve alignment, balance, function, and aesthetics.

Maxillary Skeletal Expander: Mini-screw-assisted rapid palatal expansion is a minimally invasive, non-extraction, non-surgical treatment that is an excellent treatment for individuals with very narrow upper jaws as well as those who experience breathing issues through their nose.

Day/Night Appliances: This is a pain-free and minimally invasive process that uses DNA Appliance to expand the upper arch space in three dimensions, thus increasing the size of the nasal cavity. It significantly helps to improve the individual’s ability to breathe.

Orthopedic Appliances: These appliances focus on growing the jaws wide and forward. This helps in opening up the airway and improves the health of TMJ. It can also help create space for the tongue, which ensures the patient breathes through the nose.

Myofunctional therapy: Myofunctional therapy consists of procedures that help exercise the mouth and facial muscles. It can also help improve the tongue posture, which ensures the patient breathes through the nose.

D] Special Considerations While Wearing Braces

Age-related bone structures: Adults do have various options for the type of braces they can choose from, but there are age-related considerations when deciding to get braces. So you and your airway-focused dentist should consider bone structure, bone loss, and the length of time you need braces.

Tooth extraction issues: Many adults may have had one or more teeth extracted before, presenting a problem for the airway focused dentist. This often reduces the tongue space which affects the breathing and also affects the health of TMJ leading to clicking and popping of the joints.

Oral hygiene: All braces, bond to your teeth with a dental adhesive. It is vital for you to maintain good oral hygiene during the process to keep you free of cavities and bad breath.

FAQs

Yes! Adults can have braces. While the process may require more time, as fully-developed teeth have already emerged and the jaw has stopped growing, braces for adults are still as effective in treating oral issues.

You should ask your dentist about the approach for teeth alignment. Are they growing your jaws wide and forward? Are they looking into the health of your airway and TMJ? The type of braces to opt for, the benefits, the cost, whether there are any lifestyle changes you have to make, and also the duration for which you’ll have to wear them.

Once braces are removed, there are several brace care tips that you should follow, like wearing retainers. You can of course enjoy all the sticky and crunchy foods you have missed.