Options Available with Adult Braces and the Process Prior to Placing Them

Posted on: March 15, 2017

Adult BracesIf you are considering using adult braces to straighten your teeth, visit our office to meet with an orthodontist and member of the San Joaquin Dental Society. Working with an orthodontist is the best way to improve the smile because you will be exposed to a variety of treatment options and helped by someone with extensive educational and clinical training. Keep in mind that an orthodontist has gone to school for several years longer than a general dentist and is, therefore, better equipped to address issues pertaining to the position of the teeth and jaw – impacted teeth being one of them.

Addressing impacted teeth

Prior to placing adult braces, we need to address issues like impacted teeth. A tooth becomes impacted when there is insufficient space in the mouth for it to descend. Overcrowding due to early tooth loss or too small of a palate can force a tooth to remain positioned against bone or another tooth, without erupting normally. The result is often gum disease and pain in the jaw. We need to remove any impacted teeth or help them to descend prior to straightening teeth since it could be in the way and lead to additional issues.

For example, if impacted teeth are allowed to remain in place, they could put pressure on the remaining teeth, pushing them forward, even after braces have moved them back into the correct position.

Wisdom teeth are the most common type of impacted teeth because most people have wisdom teeth but few people have room for them. While it is common to have wisdom teeth extracted during the teenage years, those who have not done so and are now getting adult braces need to consider extracting the wisdom teeth first.

The process

The position of impacted teeth and whether or not they have erupted through the gums will determine the treatment we recommend. If they are completely inside the gum tissue, the best option will be to cut into the gums and surgically remove them. While also the most invasive, this is an effective process and the procedure is performed under anesthesia so patients will not feel or remember anything.

If the tooth has partially broken through the gum tissue, we can potentially extract it using traditional methods. In some scenarios, we can even help the tooth to descend. This is only done when a portion of the tooth has erupted through the gums so that we can secure a bracket to it. In this scenario, we can possibly lower the tooth gradually and once it is fully descended, we can move it into the proper position using orthodontics.

Adult braces options

Once an impacted tooth has been removed, we can finish straightening teeth using adult braces. Adults have more options than children or teens including wearing traditional metal braces, clear ceramic braces, or clear plastic aligners that surround your teeth like a retainer. The latter two options give you the ability to straighten your teeth discreetly and improve your smile without it being noticeable.

Discover your options

To discuss adult braces and orthodontics in further detail, call our office and schedule a consultation.


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