Brackets. Wires. Rubber bands. If you had braces as a child, you probably remember all of the trappings of traditional metal braces. You probably also remember restrictions on your diet and frequent trips to the dentist's office. Finally getting the braces off felt like a victory. Being told as an adult that your teeth require straightening again can come as a real disappointment after all of that work. Why does this happen, and do you have options besides traditional metal braces? Here's what you need to know.
Why Didn't Your Teeth Stay Straight?
If you already went through one round of braces, why would you ever need to do it again? What many people don't realize is that your teeth and mouth change and grow along with the rest of your body. Your teeth may have shifted when your wisdom teeth came in around the time you reached adulthood, for example. Even if you had them removed, the shift in position could have remained, or even become more pronounced.
You may also have failed to follow your dentist's instructions about wearing your retainer after the braces came off, or stopped wearing the retainer too early. This could have caused your teeth to drift back to the position they were in before you had braces. Finally, trauma to your mouth could have caused the positioning of your teeth to change.
Are Invisible Braces An Option?
You probably aren't thrilled about a return to brackets and wires, but straight teeth are important for more reasons than just maintaining a brilliant smile. Crooked teeth can affect your ability to bite and chew properly, and may also cause pain or discomfort in your jaw.
Fortunately, you're not locked into to metal braces just because you had them before. You may be a candidate for invisible braces, especially if your tooth misalignment is mild or moderate. Having had metal braces in the past won't affect whether or not you can use invisible braces now.
Why Are Invisible Braces Better?
There are a few reasons why patients might prefer invisible braces. For one thing, they're made of a clear plastic material that isn't obtrusive the way that a mouth full of metal can be. Invisible braces are also removable, allowing you to eat normally instead of following a restrictive diet.
The ability to remove the braces also allows you to brush your teeth normally. If you found that you had several cavities underneath your braces once they were removed, you can see why that might be a benefit. Invisible braces require fewer visits to the dentist and are often more comfortable than metal braces as well.
If your dentist has told you that your teeth require straightening again, find out if you're a candidate for invisible braces. A cosmetic dentist can evaluate your dental health and history and let you know if you can straighten your teeth with invisible braces.