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Teeth Straightening for Adults: Here’s What You Can Expect

If you’re an adult thinking about straightening your teeth, you’re not alone. Adults make up 25% of all orthodontic patients and choose to straighten their teeth for many different reasons.

Among those reasons are wanting a more pleasing smile and needing to address dental conditions such as:

  • Misaligned bite
  • Dental crowding
  • Open bite
  • Gaps and spaces
  • Overlapping teeth

These conditions increase your risk of gum disease and tooth loss, as they make it more difficult to brush and floss effectively. When you can’t clean your teeth well, plaque builds up. 

Braces and clear orthodontic aligners move your teeth into the correct position, improving both the look and function of your smile. At Dental Studios in Summit and Westfield, New Jersey, our dental providers specialize in helping adults get a straighter, more pleasing smile using clear aligners. 

Our adult patients find the smooth, flexible plastic aligner trays preferable to the uncomfortable, bulky metal brackets. And clear aligners are less noticeable, so you can wear them at work and to your daily activities without feeling self-conscious. 

Consultation first 

Before getting started with clear aligners, you can expect to meet with your Dental Studios provider to make sure you’re a good candidate for the treatment. Your provider examines your teeth, bite, jaw, and how these factors work together. 

You can expect an X-ray and photographs to help your provider determine the severity of any irregularities and design a treatment plan. Some patients may need to have additional preparatory work before beginning teeth straightening, such as filing off excess dental enamel in crowded places or adding small composite patches to help the aligners grip the tooth. 

If you need any prep work, your provider explains the details to you and incorporates them into your plan. You and your provider also discuss the timeline of teeth straightening treatment, the requirements you’ll need to comply with, and the cost. 

Getting your dental aligners

When you receive your dental aligners, you can expect them to fit snugly over your teeth. At first, they may feel pretty tight. This is because they work using constant but gentle force to encourage your teeth to move into correct alignment. 

Living with dental aligners

You can expect to wear the aligner trays for 20-22 hours every day. As your teeth respond to treatment and start to move, you switch to a new set of aligners. This occurs about every two weeks. 

Adult patients appreciate that you don’t have to worry about endless office visits with clear orthodontic alignment. Most patients only need to schedule an appointment every 6-8 weeks to check progress and make any changes necessary. 

One of the best things about this treatment is that you don’t have to avoid certain foods. When it’s time to eat, simply remove the aligners and eat normally. After your meal, it’s easy to clean your teeth and put the aligner trays back in place. 

When you’re straightening your teeth, you continue with your daily brushing and flossing routine. Just remove the aligners, brush and floss your teeth normally, and replace the aligner trays. 

Straighter teeth in months

Your length of treatment depends on the type of correction you need and its severity. In general, most people complete treatment with aligners in about 12-18 months. Because adults are no longer growing, it can take a little longer to correct than for a child with the same issue. 

Keep in mind that if you don’t wear your aligners for the required time each day, it may take longer for your teeth to move into place.  After treatment, to help you keep your straighter smile, your provider may prescribe a retainer. These appliances are custom-made to fit your teeth and keep them from shifting out of place. 

Orthodontic correction can be as successful for adult patients as it is in younger patients. In fact, many adults enjoy better results as they take the responsibility more seriously and wear their aligners as prescribed. 

You’re never too old to enjoy straighter teeth! Clear aligners are an excellent choice for adults seeking to correct crooked smiles and underlying dental conditions. To find out if this treatment is right for you, schedule a consultation with a Dental Studios provider.

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What Our
patients say
  • I had an excellent experience with this practice! The dentist was very kind and listened attentively to my concerns. Everything went great and they checked on me a few hours after I got home. Great doctor and caring staff!

    by Damian L. on 8/29/21