Many people are surprised to find that, although they had braces as teenagers, they are faced with the reality of needing them again in adulthood. Just like the rest of your body, your teeth and jaw continue to change as you age. Over time, your teeth will revert to the way they had been before you got braces. While facing the prospect of braces for the second time is frustrating, you have some good options to consider to get that brilliant smile back.
Because you previously had braces, retreating them shouldn't be very difficult. It is likely that your teeth are only just beginning to shift back out of alignment. The difference might be noticeable to you (and your regular dentist, who is frequently in your mouth and studying your x-rays), but it probably isn't obvious to anyone else in the early stages of change. This is the best time to get your teeth realigned. Treatment will take only a few months instead of years.
One effective treatment your dentist or orthodontist will tell you about doesn't require any metal or bands. It is the use of clear aligners that make subtle changes in your teeth. Aligners are best for short treatments and focus primarily on the front teeth, although they can be used to adjust rear teeth as well.
Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and make clear cartridges for you to wear. These cartridges are easily removed for eating and brushing your teeth. You wear one cartridge for a few weeks before switching it out and wearing a new one in its place. Each cartridge makes slight adjustments to the way your teeth sit, which eventually straightens them back out.
If you put off re-straightening your teeth, or sustained an injury that caused them to change drastically, braces might be a better option for you. Your dentist or orthodontist will recommend braces when treatment will be longer than a few months, or when you need more than a few teeth readjusted. But just because you have to wear braces, doesn't mean they have to be obvious to everyone around you.
Braces can be made invisible in a variety of ways. Some are concealed simply by using clear bands and porcelain instead of metal. Others are placed behind your teeth rather than in front of them. These are known as lingual braces and are typically a more expensive option because it is harder for the orthodontist to adjust them. However, the extra cost might be worth it to you because they aren't noticeable from the front.
Maintaining Straight Teeth
The best thing you can do to maintain your straight teeth is to wear a retainer. If you have a removable retainer, make sure you wear it – at least during the night. Removable retainers should also be replaced regularly so they don't wear down and lose effectiveness. If you have a permanent retainer, it is unlikely that you'll need braces a second time in your life. However, prolonged use of the retainer becomes a health issue as bacteria could build and cause infection around it. Eventually, your permanent retainer will need to be removed.
Unless you have been diligent about wearing a retainer all your life, it is likely that you will be faced with the prospect of needing braces again in adulthood. While this is a reality for many people, the comforting thing is that you probably won't need as extensive treatment the second time as you did the first. And today, there are many discreet options to choose from. Most people won't even realize that you are wearing clear aligners or invisible braces as you re-straighten your teeth to maintain your brilliant smile. You can click here to learn more about clear braces.