Marcus, a 52-year-old male, first visited our office in May of 2019. He suffered from a bite problem his whole life, and wanted to improve his confidence through orthodontic treatment. During his initial consultation at our St. Louis orthodontic office, Dr. Frost examined his smile, taking special note of misalignment and bite issues. After the initial steps were taken, Dr. Frost recommended adult braces to correct Marcus’ smile.
What is Adult Underbite?
Underbite is a fairly common condition affecting millions of adults in the United States. Many avoid treatment because they are either wary of the cost or are unaware of their options. However, it can be affordably corrected through orthodontics, regardless of its severity.
Also known as “prognathism” in the dental profession, underbite is a type of misalignment where the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. In the vast majority of cases, underbite is either present at birth due to genetics or develops during early childhood.
Although braces are traditionally used to correct children’s teeth, adults can also benefit. Marcus was ready to move forward with a healthy smile. His treatment recommendation from Dr. Frost was based upon a formal examination of his teeth, which included X-rays and a 3D impression from our newly developed iTero Element Plus Mobile Scanner.
What Are Braces?
Braces are orthodontic devices that help correct problems in the teeth, such as overcrowding, bite issues, crooked teeth, and more. As patients wear them, their teeth slowly straighten and align, creating a healthy smile. Marcus received traditional braces, which are metal brackets attached to the front of the teeth with flexible wires that hold the brackets together. Rubber bands are then used to link each bracket to the wire.
The process of braces treatment can take several months to a few years, depending on the severity of a patient’s condition. In Marcus’ case, we were happily surprised that his mouth and bite were corrected after just 20 months!
Every situation is unique, but the procedure to receive braces remains the same from one patient to the next. The steps include:
- The orthodontist inserts a device to keep the mouth dry and the tongue in place.
- An etchant is applied to the front surfaces of the teeth to prepare them for bonding.
- A special adhesive is used to hold the brackets in place.
- The adhesive is hardened and the bond is set through a curing light.
- The orthodontist runs the wire through the brackets and places rubber bands to secure.
The appointment for placing braces lasts approximately 90 minutes to two hours total. In many cases, patients have about 4-8 weeks to familiarize themselves with the new devices before their next follow-up appointment.
Follow-up appointments are much faster than the initial procedure. Taking place regularly every month to every two months, the orthodontist analyzes your progress, as well as adjusts the wires and rubber bands during each appointment. Marcus visited our office routinely throughout his 20-month treatment for checkups and adjustments, resulting in the beautiful smile he has today!
When your braces treatment is complete, the devices are removed. During this procedure, the brackets come off easily, leaving behind a trace of bonding material. The orthodontist removes the excess materials and polishes your teeth’s enamel, leaving smooth and pearly whites. In many situations, patients receive a retainer to wear at night that helps their teeth “remember” the new placement.
Get Started With Your Adult Orthodontics Treatment Today
Receiving braces as an adult is not something to be ashamed of – rather, it’s a good thing. You’re improving your smile, confidence, and overall oral health. Marcus achieved significant results through his adult orthodontic treatment, and you can, too. When you visit our orthodontic office in St. Louis, you’ll receive the utmost care. It’s our goal to assist you in achieving your dream smile! Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.