As many adults never had the chance to undergo orthodontic treatment in their childhood years, many are now taking the opportunity to do so later in their lives. After all, there's no age limit. It's entirely possible to straighten your smile whenever you like. However, as orthodontic devices are less commonly seen on adults, some people can feel self-conscious about them. Here's how to handle that — and an alternative option if you prefer.
Ordinary metallic braces are glued to your teeth and remain there for the entire duration of the treatment. Wires of various thicknesses and strengths are fed through these brackets, changed out one at a time, in order to slowly bring your teeth into line. All these braces look more or less the same — although you can choose the colour of the elastic bands that hold your wires in place if you're feeling brave! They feel very conspicuous, but they're really only visible when you smile with your teeth. When they do show, it's certainly nothing that the people around you haven't seen before. You'll more than likely wear your braces for between one and two years.
As an alternative to the metal standard, some dentists may offer ceramic brackets for your braces. Due to their colour, these blend in more with your teeth and are significantly less visible — although the wires will still be present and in their original metallic colours. They work in exactly the same way, but they may be a little more expensive.
If you'd prefer not to have visible brackets fixed to your teeth all, then you can opt for these invisible retainer-style pieces. They are almost completely undetectable; only a dental professional would probably notice that you're wearing them. You'll need to wear them 24 hours a day, but you can remove them yourself in order to clean them or your teeth. Just like a traditional brace, this form of treatment will take around one to two years — if you wear your retainer as often as you're supposed to. However, they are significantly pricier than traditional braces.
In all three cases, you'll need to wear a retainer at night to maintain the newly-straight look of your teeth. If you don't, it's easy for them to shift back into their original position. As such, the main difference in treatment is your personal comfort and preference. In any case, you should speak to your orthodontist before making any decisions. That way, you can ensure that orthodontic treatment is right for you. Good luck!