What Adults Need to Know About Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment refers to having teeth straightened and moved, usually with standard wire braces or trays and other such devices. Teenagers usually go through orthodontic treatment once their teeth start showing signs of crookedness, but adults may want to get braces or other such treatment as well. Note why you might need braces now as an adult and why it's important to get this treatment when needed, no matter your age. 

1. Health of teeth

Having straight teeth can be very important for the health of your teeth and not just your appearance. It is easier to slide floss between straight teeth and to reach more of your teeth with a toothbrush, which means that you will be able to remove more bacteria and food particles than you could if your teeth were crooked. This means less risk of plaque and eventual tooth decay or gum disease. Straight teeth are also less likely to rub up against surrounding teeth and, in turn, cause less erosion and wear. They may also work better when biting or chewing so that you don't cause tooth erosion when you eat certain foods.

2. Comfort

Crooked teeth can become very uncomfortable if they don't allow for proper support of the upper and lower jaws. Your upper and lower jaw rest on each other for support throughout the day and when you're asleep. If your teeth are crooked, the jaw may move out of alignment to find proper support. This can mean sore muscles in the neck and shoulders as well as the jaw line as those muscles work overtime to keep the jaw supported. You may even develop headaches when your teeth are so crooked that the jaw cannot be supported.

3. Teeth can get out of alignment

You may wonder why your dentist is now recommending orthodontic treatment for you as an adult, especially if you think your teeth look relatively straight. Remember that teeth can get out of alignment as you get older and the shape of the face changes. Your jaw may be getting smaller as you suffer natural bone loss with age, and this pushes teeth together. If you had wisdom teeth that came in and then were removed, this may have opened up some of your gum line so that your teeth moved and shifted into this area, and they are now crooked. If you lost a tooth -- even if you have a bridge or partial dentures -- other teeth might shift into that open gum area. For these reasons, you may need orthodontic treatment even as an adult.