Tooth alignment for adults is the process of straightening teeth and correcting bite issues using various orthodontic treatments, including traditional metal braces, clear aligners, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and self-ligating braces. Each treatment option has its advantages and disadvantages. The best choice depends on the individual patient's needs and goals.

Tooth alignment can not only improve the appearance of the teeth and smile, but it can also improve oral health by correcting bite issues and preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Overall, tooth alignment for adults is a safe and effective way to improve the appearance and health of the teeth and smile. Consult with an orthodontist to find the best option for your specific needs and goals. 

Reasons Why Most Adults Opt for Tooth Alignment

Here is why more adults are opting for a straighter smile.

  1. Enhanced Appearance and Self-Esteem

One of the main reasons more adults are opting for a straighter smile is the improved appearance it can provide. A straighter smile can make a person's teeth look more uniform and symmetrical, which can be more aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, a straighter smile can improve the overall appearance and make a person look more youthful.

Another reason adults choose to straighten their teeth is its positive impact on their self-esteem and confidence. A straighter smile can make a person feel better about themselves and their appearance, leading to increased confidence in personal and professional settings. A straighter smile can also help a person feel more comfortable in social situations and make them more likely to smile and laugh.

It is also worth noting that a straighter smile can also have benefits for oral health. Straight teeth are easier to clean and maintain, which can reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Also, the alignment of teeth and jaws can impact the ability to chew and speak properly and the overall health of the jaw and joints.

  1. Physical Health Benefits

A straighter smile can improve the alignment of teeth and jaws, which can help to alleviate symptoms associated with malocclusion (a misaligned bite), such as:

  • Headaches and migraines — A misaligned bite can cause tension in the jaw and facial muscles, leading to headaches and migraines. Straightening the teeth can help to alleviate this tension.
  • Tooth wear — When teeth are misaligned, it can lead to uneven wear on the teeth, which can lead to sensitivity and tooth damage. Straightening the teeth can help to distribute the forces of biting and chewing more evenly.
  • TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) — Improper bite can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw joint, leading to TMD. Orthodontic treatment can help to realign the bite and alleviate these symptoms.
  • Sleep apnea — Misaligned teeth and jaws can narrow the airway. This can lead to sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing disorders. Straightening the teeth can help open the airway and improve breathing during sleep.
  • Digestion — A proper bite allows for proper chewing and digestion of food. Straightening teeth can also aid in the proper function of the jaw, throat, and tongue muscles, which are needed for swallowing and speaking.
  1. Teeth Shift Over Time

Teeth can shift over time. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Age — As we age, our teeth and gums can change, which can cause teeth to shift.
  • Genetics — Some people are more prone to tooth shifting than others due to their genetic makeup.
  • Habits — Certain habits, like thumb sucking or using a pacifier for a prolonged time during childhood, can cause teeth to shift.
  • Injury — A traumatic injury to the face or jaw can cause teeth to shift.
  • Missing teeth — When a person loses a tooth, the remaining teeth can shift to fill the space.
  • Crowding — When there is not enough room in the jaw for all teeth, they can become crowded and shift.
  • Teeth grinding — Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can cause teeth to shift, especially during sleep.
  • Lack of retention — If the patient does not wear their retainer as advised by their orthodontist after the treatment, teeth can move back to their original position.

These shifts can lead to a misaligned bite and an uneven or crooked smile. Orthodontic treatment can help to straighten the teeth and improve the alignment of the bite, resulting in a straighter and more attractive smile.

  1. Resolve Jaw Problems

Another reason more adults opt for a straighter smile is to resolve jaw problems. A misaligned bite can cause a variety of jaw problems, such as:

  • TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder — TMJ affects the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. It can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw and surrounding muscles.
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding) — This habit can cause damage to the teeth, jaw, and surrounding muscles.
  • Sleep apnea — This sleep disorder can cause breathing difficulties, loud snoring, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Open bite — Occurs when the front teeth do not touch when the mouth is closed.
  • Overbite — This malocclusion occurs when the upper front teeth extend further over the lower front teeth.
  • Underbite — Witnessed when the lower front teeth extend too far forward or the upper front teeth are too far back.

Orthodontic treatment can help correct these problems by realigning the teeth and jaws. By straightening the teeth, orthodontic treatment can improve the bite and alleviate symptoms associated with malocclusions, like jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty speaking or chewing.

Tooth Straightening Options for Adults

There are several tooth straightening options available for adults, including:

  • Traditional metal braces — These are the most common braces and consist of metal brackets and wires attached to the teeth. They are typically the most effective option for severe cases of misalignment but can be noticeable and uncomfortable.
  • Ceramic braces — The brackets are a product of clear or tooth-colored ceramic, making them less noticeable.
  • Lingual braces — Brackets and wires are attached to the back of the teeth, making them virtually invisible.
  • Clear aligners — Custom-made, clear plastic trays that fit over the teeth. They are virtually invisible and are removed for eating and brushing. Invisalign is a well-known brand of clear aligners.
  • Self-ligating braces — These are similar to traditional metal braces but use a specialized clip instead of elastic bands to hold the wire. This can make them more comfortable and require fewer adjustments.
  • Mini braces — Smaller versions of traditional metal braces and are suitable for minor tooth movement.
  • Removable appliances — These devices can be removed for eating and cleaning. They are suitable for minor tooth movement and can be used with other treatments.

Your orthodontist will be able to advise you on which option is best for you based on the severity of your misalignment and your personal preferences.

The Pros and Cons of Tooth Straightening Aligners

Tooth straightening aligners offer several advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional braces.

Advantages of Tooth Straightening Aligners

  1. Clear aligners are virtually invisible, making them a popular choice among adults who want to straighten their teeth without the appearance of traditional metal braces.
  2. They are removable, which makes eating, brushing, and flossing easier.
  3. They are typically more comfortable than traditional braces, as they do not have metal brackets or wires that can irritate the inside of the mouth.
  4. Clear aligners are custom-made to fit the patient's teeth, making the treatment more precise and effective.
  5. Clear aligners can be more convenient for people with busy schedules, as they do not require as many office visits as traditional braces.

Disadvantages of Tooth Straightening Aligners

  1. Clear aligners are not suitable for all cases of misalignment and could not be as effective for severe cases as traditional braces.
  2. Clear aligners can be more expensive than traditional braces.
  3. They require a higher level of hygiene, as they must be cleaned and disinfected regularly to avoid bacterial buildup.
  4. Clear aligners could not be as durable as traditional braces and could need to be replaced more frequently.

Consult with an orthodontist to determine which option is best for you based on the severity of your misalignment and your personal preferences.

Questions to Pose to Your Orthodontist Concerning Tooth Straightening Aligners

  1. Are Straightening Aligners the Ideal Solution for My Particular Issue(s)?

It is difficult to determine if clear aligners will work for your specific issue(s) without a proper examination by an orthodontist. Clear aligners can be used to treat a variety of tooth misalignment issues, including crowding, spacing, overbite, underbite, and crossbite. They are not, however, appropriate for all cases of misalignment or severe cases.

An orthodontist can evaluate your teeth and bite and provide an accurate assessment of whether clear aligners would be an effective treatment option for you. They could also recommend other options, like traditional braces or treatments that work best for your specific needs and goals.

You should only consider treatment options recommended by an orthodontist after a proper examination, as self-diagnosis and treatment can lead to further complications and the need for more extensive treatment.

  1. What is the Best Way to Care for My Teeth During Treatment?

Taking care of your teeth during clear aligner treatment is vital. It ensures the effectiveness of the treatment and maintains good oral health. Here are some tips on how to take care of your teeth during clear aligner treatment:

  • Brush and floss regularly — Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once daily to maintain good oral hygiene. Clear aligners should be removed when brushing and flossing.
  • Use an antimicrobial rinse — An antimicrobial rinse will help reduce the risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay.
  • Wear your aligners as directed — Wear your aligners for the recommended amount of time, usually 22 hours a day. Not wearing them as directed can prolong the treatment time.
  • Keep your aligners clean — Clean your aligners regularly with a clear aligner cleaning solution or mild soap and lukewarm water. Rinse them thoroughly before putting them back in your mouth.
  • Avoid hard, and sticky foods — Hard and sticky foods can damage the aligners or cause them to become dislodged. Avoid eating popcorn, nuts, and candy while wearing your aligners.
  1. How Should I Visit the Office During the Treatment Plan?

The frequency of office visits during a clear aligner treatment plan depends on the severity of your misalignment and the specific treatment plan recommended by your orthodontist. Typically, patients need to visit the orthodontist's office every six to eight weeks to ensure the treatment is progressing as planned.

During these visits, the orthodontist will check the fit and alignment of the aligners, make any necessary adjustments, and provide the patient with new sets of aligners. The orthodontist could also take progress photos and X-rays to monitor the treatment's progress.

Keep in mind that the frequency of office visits varies depending on the specific treatment plan. Some patients require more or fewer visits. Your orthodontist will provide a more accurate estimate of your specific treatment plan's frequency of office visits.

Clear aligners require strict compliance from the patient, as they must be worn for at least 22 hours a day to be effective. If the patient does not wear them as directed, the treatment could take longer and require more office visits.

  1. How Long Will My Treatment Plan Take?

On average, clear aligner treatment takes 9 to 18 months. However, some patients require treatment for as little as six months or for as long as two years.

The duration of treatment also depends on how well the patient follows the treatment plan, including wearing the aligners for the recommended amount of time, keeping scheduled appointments, and maintaining good oral hygiene. The treatment could take longer if the patient does not wear them as directed.

Each case is unique, and your orthodontist will provide you with a more accurate estimate of the duration of your treatment plan after conducting a thorough examination and evaluating your specific needs and goals.

Further, the treatment is not over once the teeth are straightened. A retainer should be worn as directed by the orthodontist to ensure that your teeth stay in their new position.

  1. What is the Cost Implication? Does Insurance Cover the Cost?

The cost of orthodontic treatment varies widely depending on the type of treatment, the location of the orthodontist, and the individual patient's needs. Clear aligners tend to be more expensive than traditional metal braces.

The cost of treatment can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. On average, the cost of Invisalign treatment can range from $3,500 to $8,000. Traditional metal braces can cost between $3,000 and $7,000.

However, many dental insurance plans include orthodontic coverage, and some could cover a portion of the cost of treatment. Check with your insurance provider to understand your specific coverage and any out-of-pocket expenses you could be responsible for.

Additionally, some orthodontic offices offer flexible financing options, like payment plans, which can make treatment more affordable for patients. Talk with your orthodontist about the options they have available.

Note: The cost of orthodontic treatment should not be the only factor determining your best treatment plan. Consult with an orthodontist to find the best option for your specific needs, goals, and budget.

  1. Will I Need to Wear a Retainer After I Finish Treatment?

Yes, you will likely need to wear a retainer after you finish your orthodontic treatment, whether you have traditional braces or clear aligners. Retainers are designed to help hold the teeth in their new position after treatment.

Retainers are typically worn for a certain period after treatment. The length of time will depend on the individual patient and the type of treatment they have received. Your orthodontist will give you specific instructions on how long and often to wear the retainer.

Teeth have a natural tendency to shift over time. Not wearing a retainer as directed can cause the teeth to shift back to their original position. Therefore, it is very important to follow the instructions provided by your orthodontist regarding the use of the retainer, as failure to do so can result in a relapse of the treatment.

There are different types of retainers, like removable ones, bonded retainers, and clear aligner retainers. Your orthodontist will recommend the best option based on your specific needs and goals.

Find a Hawthorne Dentist Near Me

If you are looking for tooth alignment, scheduling a consultation with an orthodontist is important. An orthodontist is a dental specialist trained in diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities. They will be able to evaluate your teeth and bite and recommend the best course of treatment for you.

During the consultation, the orthodontist will explain the options available, the length of treatment, the cost, and insurance coverage. They will also address any concerns or questions you raise. Do not let the fear of the unknown or the price stop you from achieving the smile you have always wanted. With the help of an orthodontist, you can find the best treatment option.

Do not hesitate to take the first step in improving your smile and overall well-being by scheduling a consultation with a Hawthorne orthodontist today. Talk to Ganji Dental today at 310-643-8045.