Your family dentist will probably suggest that you take your children to see an orthodontist while they're young (generally shortly after their permanent teeth begin to appear). This is in no way suggesting that your child has a problem that needs to be dealt with via orthodontics (generally braces), but more of a way to thoroughly check that your children's teeth are coming in at an appropriate angle. It means that any serious problems can be identified in the very early stages and can then be effectively dealt with. Braces are the most common course of action and your child will wear these devices for a number of years, leaving them with wonderfully straight teeth afterwards. But what about your own teeth?

Talk to Your Dentist

Not everyone received orthodontic treatment when they were a child, even if it was beneficial. You might simply have come to live with your misaligned teeth, but it does not have to be this way. If you have any concerns about the alignment of your teeth, you should have a word with your dentist who can then refer you to an orthodontist. There are a number of corrective options available, and braces are not just for younger people!

Oral Hygiene

Misaligned teeth can cause dental problems, and this is not a reflection on your oral hygiene. The misalignment of teeth can result in teeth that seem to overlap each other leaving very little space in between. This lack of space can make flossing difficult and food debris can be practically impossible to dislodge. A water flossing device (where a concentrated jet of water removes the food debris) might be more effective than traditional floss, but depending on the severity of the misalignment, you might not have much success.

Your Bite

You might have simply come to live with having misaligned teeth, with the possibility of having them corrected as a child not being an option for whatever reason. Your bite might in fact be improper (not symmetrical) which can mean that chewing food is more of a struggle than it needs to be. While braces and other corrective devices are typically applied to teeth that are still developing (such as the teeth of children and young adults), braces can be effective at any age, improving your bite and making it far easier to keep your teeth healthy.

Many Options Beyond Traditional Braces

There are a number of discreet braces available which are difficult to spot. There are also invisible braces, which is a series of clear plastic mouthguards. These slip over the teeth, are practically invisible, and are then changed for a slightly different mouthguard every few weeks or so. This process subtly manipulates your teeth into the preferred position. Before considering treatment, you should discuss the likely outcome with the orthodontist. You may need to be receiving treatment for several years before you achieve the desired result, and you would need to be willing to commit to this.

You don't need to put up with misaligned teeth just because you're older than most people are when they received their braces. Your oral hygiene will improve, as will the appearance of your smile. Have a word with your dentist and you will soon learn that braces are not just for kids.