Most people get braces as teens, but what if you need them as an adult? Or worse, what if you need them as an adult after you've already had them as a kid? There are many reasons why you may need braces later in life, but the good news is there are so many more options available than before.
If you never thought you needed braces as a teenager or young adult, but suddenly got self conscious about your grin as a grown-up, there are several common causes.
Wisdom teeth typically grow in during your teenage years, but there are some instances in which they don't show up until you are well into your twenties. These extra teeth at the back of your jaw can seriously mess up a person's bite, especially if they come in sideways or are impacted. Most people can get these teeth taken out fairly easily before any damage is done, but if you missed out on the needed immediate orthodontia, your teeth can become crooked as these new molars push themselves into place. These few extra teeth can cause crowding amongst the rest of your teeth, even if you have already had braces.
If you had braces as a teenager, the only way to completely ensure no need for them again later in life is to wear your retainer exactly as advised. A retainer is usually worn at night and keeps your teeth from shifting as you sleep. If a bad bite or crooked teeth runs in your family, braces may not be enough to keep them straight. As strange as it seems, there are many instances in which teeth try to move back to their original positions. You may need braces as an adult if you did not regularly wear your retainer after you had braces the first time. Usually, if you get them again, you will not need them for as long. Just be sure to follow the orthodontist's directions this time around.
Other bad habits can contribute to crooked adult teeth, such as tongue thrusting or teeth grinding. These actions are typically done while sleeping, which means that a person is unaware he or she is even doing it. Your dentist can tell if you have this kind of problem and, if you do, will often suggest a nighttime mouth guard. If a bad habit it noticed early on, the need for braces may be avoided.
There are several options available for braces to make the experience easier for adults. Clear braces are very popular, as they can barely be seen and are just as effective as regular wire braces. If the retainer-like clear braces are uncomfortable or inconvenient for you, there are porcelain wire braces, which are significantly less noticeable than regular wire versions. Even celebrities like Tom Cruise have corrected their pearly whites with this approach.
How much do braces cost? Given the personalized nature of dental correction, the cost of such a procedure can vary.