Mikayla is a publicist for a well-known celebrity based in Los Angeles. As a trained journalist, her greatest moments are when she is the center of attraction, especially when she has news about her client to announce. She is one of many who would need clear braces for adults. For although she is a stunning beauty and a confident public speaker, she was once very insecure about two teeth that stuck out on her upper jaw.
“I hated it,” she says, “It made me feel paranoid and may have even triggered a stage fright I experienced once when I was still new at this job. I always avoided meeting my client face-to-face and always tried to keep my public appearances to the minimum. This, of course, hurt my job.”
Can Adult Teeth Be Straightened?
Initially, Mikayla believed there was no way to straighten her teeth until she asked her dentist.
Mikayla did not want braces. As far as she knew, wire braces were for metal mouth kids. It wouldn’t be sightly for her to appear on behalf of a public figure with wires crisscrossing her mouth.
“Of course, you can straighten your teeth as an adult. Even without braces.”
Besides being unsightly, braces are known to have adverse effects on an adult’s oral health. A 2011 study revealed that braces could cause root resorption or shortening of the teeth’ roots, canker sores, and soft tissue injuries. Adults using metal braces to straighten their teeth are also at risk of ankylosis, a condition that occurs when the tooth’s root fuses to the bone.
“There is a better way to do it,” Mikayla’s dentist advised her. “Consider clear braces.”
Traditional braces are made of metal brackets glued to the teeth with dental cement. Clear braces, also known as invisible aligners, are comfortable and removable retainers that work just as well as wire braces. The most significant difference is that they are virtually undetectable even from a few feet away. Furthermore, they are very easy to fit.
How Clear Aligners Work
Two students from Stanford University are credited for inventing the first clear aligners. Their idea was elementary: a series of clear plastic aligners used to make removable braces work just as well as metal brackets to align teeth over time.
Suddenly, adults could get discrete treatment to realign and straighten their teeth. Before this, the only option to straighten crooked teeth was to endure a traditional wire brace with metal brackets.
Clear braces are trendy among adults, even when you cannot see the braces. A recent study by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) published in the Dental Tribune shows that as many as 3 in 10 orthodontic patients in the US are adults. The study also reveals that by the year 2025, as many as half of all patients considering teeth straightening options will be adults. More respondents are drawn to teeth straightening largely because of new technologies such as invisible braces and clear aligners.
Invisible aligners and clear braces work by exerting subtle pressure on the teeth to guide them gradually to their correct positions. As the aligners are changed out – often over a couple of months – the patient will witness their teeth take shape, and their bright smiles come back.
Having researched further and learned how they work, Mikayla opted to get clear braces for adults to straighten her teeth. Having settled on an orthodontist, she ordered an impression kit online, took her dental impression, then sent it back to have her customized invisible aligners created.
Duration and Cost of Clear Adult Braces
Clear aligners work gradually. Depending on the severity of the teeth misalignment, it may take as short as six months for the invisible aligners to straighten an adult’s teeth, or as long as a year. As Mikayla found out after having her removable clear braces fitted, the length of time she needed to wear them was of little concern. This is because the braces were comfortably matched to her teeth, and no one would notice she was wearing them unless they were close enough to feel her breath.
“Investing in the clear braces was the best career and personal decision I made,” she says. “I was confident they work, and I would always check in anticipation to see if my teeth moved. Of course, I couldn’t notice for months because I did not feel them move.”
On being asked how much she spent on the clear braces, Mikayla laughs and lifts her index finger. “I got the best deal. All I can say is it was less than a thousand.”
Clear braces are costlier than metal and wire braces for a good reason: it is still a new technology offered by few orthodontists. Price comparison by Health.com shows that the average clear braces cost USA is $1950. Some providers are charging as much as $2,400 for the treatment.
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The Pros and Cons of Clear Braces for Adults
Clear braces are a perfect solution for adults looking to get back their straight smiles. It takes only a couple of minutes to create customized clear aligners, but they have been proven safe and effective.
However, Mikayla discovered there are a few downsides to using clear braces to straighten teeth. The first is that they are not as permanent as wire braces. This means that she had to remember to remove the aligners before eating, brush her teeth, or even drink water. The aligners could break or get damaged if she ate or drank before removing them.
“It was a minor inconvenience at the beginning,” she says. “After a few weeks, it was automatic. I did not need to remember to remove them once it became a habit.”
The aligners need to be changed every two or so weeks. The frequency of change will be determined by the progress of the teeth straightening process. Since clear braces work gradually, the process cannot be rushed as it can have unintended side effects.
The American Dental Association (ADA) published a report that reveals just how enthusiastic American adults are considering new ways to straighten crooked teeth. The stigma around wire braces will never go away.
If you are like Mikayla and have always been conscious about your teeth’s appearance, you would like to get back a youthful and healthy smile with straight teeth. There is no price too high to pay for beautiful, easy-to-clean, well-aligned teeth. Clear braces for adults promise these fantastic results in just a couple of months.