There are four million people in braces in the United States at any given time. The majority of them are young patients, between 10-14 years of age. 20% of those four million are adults. You can straighten your teeth at any age. It is a bit easier at a younger age because your mouth and jaw are still growing. That makes your teeth, gum, and muscles more conducive to realignment. It may take a bit longer when you are older, but it can be done. You can have a straight smile regardless of when you have braces put on your teeth.
You and your orthodontist will decide on the course of action that will give you the desired results. Braces can be metal, plastic, or ceramic, and they affix directly to your teeth. Wires and elastics are used to gently move your teeth to straighten them, and to correct an over bite, under bite, or cross bite. Lingual braces are also available. They are attached to the back of the teeth and hidden from view. The average length of time people spend in braces is from 18-30 months. Another option is the use of clear molded trays that you wear for two to three weeks at a time. When you are finished with one mold, you go onto the next mold. These are popular with adults because they are not very noticeable.
Headgear is sometimes worn with braces when external force is needed to move the jaw and teeth. Some retainers can be used for minor corrections. To protect your teeth from trauma, you should always wear a mouth guard when playing sports. When you look into straightening your teeth, the office or center, like questions for orthodontists, for example, will let you know all your options in full detail. The latest technology makes corrections faster with fewer follow up appointments.
How Straight Will Improve Your Overall Happines is difficult to say, since everyone is different. In general, a straighter smile boosts confidence, increases self esteem, and helps with career advancement. If you are looking to move up in your company, straight teeth might give you an edge over others applying for the same position. Regardless of your reasons for wanting straight teeth, keep in mind, that you will spend three times more time caring for teeth with braces on them. You will need to brush more often, floss carefully, and rinse with fluoride mouthwash. It is easy for food particles to get caught in brackets and wires. As your teeth begin to shift, you will need to be sure to in between them. Straight teeth will not help if they are full of cavities when the braces come off.