In American culture, there are many things you are doing that is part of your natural beauty routine – shampooing, conditioning your hair, moisturizing your skin, putting make up on, and straightening your hair. But one of the things that many of your peers have done already in their youth is go through orthodontic treatment, which is the means of when they have spent time already with putting braces on. Your peers, in other words, have already done their teeth straightening process, which has become a natural, normal procedure in the United States to make improvements on your general looks. Everyone has them nowadays, and if you don’t, then you certainly fall behind on the maintenance of your physical appearance. But it isn’t too late! Many adults are still putting braces on to improve their appearance for any number of reasons, and you can certainly be on board with the rest of them.
When you are ready to wear braces, you first have to schedule an appointment with the orthodontist, who is a specialist in tooth and jaw misalignment. They will also work with clients who are interested in smile correction. You do not have to have a referral from a dentist in order to see the orthodontist – which means you can do some research on one close to you and see them on your own (although you can certainly ask the dentist for recommendations). Once you schedule the initial appointment with the orthodontist, he or she will talk to you about your options. While there are certainly many options, not all of them may be available for you to choose from.
For very mild cases, there are retainers, which is basically a wire that is custom fitted to your mouth that is meant to hold teeth together. This is normally worn for anyone with risk of their misalignment getting worse, so it is used as a preventative measurement. It is also used after a period of using braces, so you use the retainer afterwards to make sure that your teeth stay in their new alignment. Retainers are pretty discreet, can be taken off in situations when it is necessary to not have anyone being distracted to your teeth (like meetings).
For moderate cases, there are a couple of discreet options for cosmetic braces. First are the lingual braces, which are also known as hidden braces. These braces are glued to the back of the teeth, and there are wires that are attached to the glued brackets that the orthodontist will use to tighten them as you improve through treatment. No one will be able to tell that you have them on, which is why they are called “hidden.” But they are highly uncomfortable for use, and it is difficult for the orthodontist to apply them. They are more expensive than other types of braces, and they make it harder to clean and eat. They are only for moderate cases, too, so it’s not for everyone to wear. You will have to be eligible.
For moderate cases, there are also invisible braces, also known as Invisalign. These are plastic applicators, which you wear like a mouth guard. They are completely clear, and are made from a 3-D printer, after a high-tech computer program takes a scan of a mold of your mouth. The orthodontist will use the program to create adjustments necessary for your treatment. The clear plastic aligner will push the teeth into placement. It’s very effective for those eligible for it, but it’s the most expensive form of treatment. Every two weeks, you will need to replace your aligner with an upgraded version, and you have to pay for every replacement. If your budget does not allow it, it may not be right for you.
If you have a severe case, then your options have been dwindled to just two: first are the metal braces, which is a type of braces that we are all familiar with, since we have seen it on television and being worn by other children and teenagers. These work by the same bracket and wire system mentioned with the lingual braces, except that these are glued to the front of the teeth for all to see. Lingual braces need a moderate case for them to work, but traditional braces are meant for pretty severe cases, mainly because it makes it easy for the orthodontist to be able to pull severe cases into proper alignment with these braces. But these grab a huge amount of attention because of the way they look.
Also for severe cases are the clear braces – this would be your only option for discretion. These are made of a ceramic alloy instead of steel, so while they work the same way as traditional braces do and your friends and peers will still be able to see them, they do not grab as much attention from others like metal braces do. So this would, of course, be the better option for you.