What To Expect From Wearing Braces As An Adult

While most people can get braces regardless of their age, getting braces as an adult is a little different from getting braces as a child or even a teenager. As an adult, you'll still have access to most of the same options as children, such as choosing between different bracket and plastic types. However, braces will affect your teeth in different ways, and your options are more likely to be dependent on your specific dental health.

Yellowing Teeth

Adults tend to have yellower teeth than children, and this isn't necessarily due to lack of dental hygiene. Your teeth will start to yellow naturally as the dentin wears away, and because this protective layer has started to wear off, your teeth are a little more susceptible to discoloration.

If you get standard metal or plastic brackets installed, you may notice your teeth start to yellow quickly at first. This is generally temporary, but it can be highly disconcerting. This happens because the adhesive used to attach your braces will catch stains from things like coffee much more easily than your teeth themselves. The good news is this doesn't often last. You can schedule a teeth cleaning with your dentist or orthodontist to remove any adhesive the initial cleaning may have missed, and the yellowing should fade.

Teeth Sensitivity and Shifting

No matter what type of braces you get, some sensitivity is to be expected. This is normal, and you can avoid much of the pain by eating soft foods for the first few weeks. Adults, however, tend to have braces for longer periods of time. You can expect similar sensitivity and pain, but you may deal with it for a little longer than a child with similar teeth.

Mouth Sores

Once you get braces, you might notice that you're getting more canker sores than usual, even in places where your braces aren't touching. If you've been brushing a lot more to keep your braces clean, your toothpaste may be the culprit. Many brands of toothpaste have an ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate, which can cause canker sores.

To avoid this, instead of brushing more times per day, rinse out your mouth after a small meal or use a water pick instead. You can still brush twice a day, but if you notice an increase in sores, you might be brushing a little too much.

Emotional Toll

Even if you're excited to get braces and start working towards straighter teeth, you may also deal with a downward emotional swing, especially to start. While children may be more likely to tease, it's also less common for adults to get braces than children, and you may feel a little self-conscious. This eventually gets easier as you get used to your braces, so go easy on yourself as you start the process. 

If you're interested in braces as an adult, talk with an office like Artistic Dentistry by Gerard Wasselle, DMD to start your new smile.