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Embarrassed by teeth that are crooked or misaligned but think that you’re too “old” for braces? Sitting among a row of middle-schoolers at the orthodontist’s office can make people who are thirty-something (and older) feel out of place. Traditional orthodontist offices are set up with 4-6 chairs in the treatment room to accommodate several patients at once, and the orthodontist works on each patient along the line. For adults looking to avoid hanging out with teens on the “assembly line”, there is a more personal and private alternative. Dentists that specialize in Invisalign not only give you individualized treatment, but also fix your teeth in a way that works with your adult lifestyle.
Braces are much more common among adults than you might think. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, about 22% of people wearing braces are adults. You may not even notice how many people around you are wearing braces, or have recently undergone orthodontic treatment. That’s because technological advances and modern treatment options have made it easier than ever for grown-ups to get the smile they’ve always wanted without it being obvious. Celebrities like Tom Cruise, Faith Hill, Justin Bieber and Katherine Heigl have all worn braces as adults, with many choosing invisible options such as Invisalign.
Orthodontic Options for Adults
While there are several options for straightening your teeth, clear aligners (like Invisalign) are a popular choice for adults looking to fix their smiles quickly, discreetly. Virtually invisible, Invisalign is a system of plastic trays that are custom fitted for your mouth that gently move your teeth while you wear them.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign uses a custom-made series of aligners to shift your teeth into place. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable, see-through plastic (no metal brackets or wires), and can be taken out to eat, drink, brush and floss. Patients get a new set of aligners every two weeks, and typically see results in 6-12 months. Designed to be worn at least 20-22 hours a day, Invisalign trays keep your teeth cleaner because they’re removed for eating and dental hygiene. About every six weeks, your teeth are checked to measure their movement.
Average Invisalign Treatment Time
Most treatments involve 20-30 trays. Every person is different, but the typical treatment plan usually takes about a year for adults. For teens, the treatment time is comparable to that of traditional braces.
Typical Treatment Costs
The total cost of Invisalign treatment depends on how much work is required. Usually, dental insurance covers only a portion of the cost, but there are ways to ease the financial burden. Ask about payment plans, third-party financing, and organizations that assist financially-challenged people who need braces.
Benefits Beyond Beauty
Being able to walk into a meeting room, a restaurant, or a party with a confident smile on your face can open doors both personally and professionally. But, improving your confidence and getting a gorgeous smile aren’t the only benefits of straightening your teeth. Misaligned teeth can lead to serious health problems. A special health report issued by Harvard Medical School states that crowded or overlapping teeth can be difficult to clean, making tooth decay and gum disease more likely. Teeth that don’t come together properly when you close your jaws—a problem called malocclusion, or “bad bite”—can cause chewing and swallowing problems. Poor tooth alignment can also make it difficult to pronounce certain sounds and can put excessive stress on the chewing muscles, causing facial pain. Studies by the American Dental Association have shown that oral infections are more likely in patients with crooked teeth and the infections can also lead to other more serious ailments such as heart disease, stroke, pneumonia and diabetes.
First Impressions Count
One of the very first things people notice, your teeth — and how they look — convey a lot about you. Crooked teeth can also play a part in the development of serious health issues. If you’re tired of hiding your smile, and want to prevent disease and oral infections, schedule an appointment for a consultation to learn more about Invisalign and other teeth straightening options available.