Can I get braces as an adult - dr chauvin lafayette la

Can I get braces as an adult?

Orthodontic treatment can help adults and children alike. In fact, record numbers of adults are seeking braces to straighten their smiles. According to the Dental Tribune, more than a million adults get braces each year. Fortunately, today’s patients have abundant options when it comes to braces—with many adults opting for more discreet forms of orthodontic treatment like clear and ceramic braces. If you’re looking to improve the positions of your teeth, we encourage you to speak with our Lafayette dentist, Dr. Tim Chauvin to learn more about your treatment options. 

Types of Braces for Adults

Although adults can and do wear conventional orthodontia such as metal and wire fixed braces, many choose to utilize more discreet treatment methods. Less obvious orthodontic appliances can be made from materials like ceramic and clear plastic. Following is some helpful information on inconspicuous teeth-straightening methods. 

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are very similar to the metal and wire braces we have seen in the past. The difference, however, is that ceramic braces utilize tooth-colored brackets. When brackets are made from tooth-colored materials, they are far less obvious to others—especially in photos. These braces work the same way that conventional ones do by generating gentle but consistent pressure to move teeth to straighter, healthier positions. 

Clear Braces

Unlike ceramic braces, clear braces do not utilize fixed appliances to move teeth. Instead, patients wear removable appliances. One common brand that most people know, Invisalign, consists of patients wearing removable appliances made from translucent plastics.

 Many adults prefer clear braces because of their ultra-discreet appearance and because they don’t impede oral hygiene and meals. With removable braces, eating your favorite foods and performing daily oral hygiene are easy. Typically, braces constructed from smooth plastic are more comfortable than those utilizing brackets. This is because smooth oral appliances won’t irritate soft oral tissue as much as conventional braces. 

Health Benefits of Braces

Orthodontic treatment can benefit more than just the appearance of your teeth; braces can improve your oral health. When our teeth are crooked, overlapped, and crowded, they tend to develop more surface debris because they are difficult to clean. Accumulation of debris like plaque and tartar greatly increases a person’s risks for developing gum disease and dental caries. 

Another way that orthodontic issues contribute to dental health concerns is the fact that misaligned teeth commonly develop excessive wear. Tooth wear throws the entire oral health system off balance. When are teeth are worn down, it places strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMU) and its supportive muscles and connective tissues. This can lead to reduced oral function and orofacial discomfort. Worn teeth can drastically impact your quality of life. Treating worn teeth is also expensive as it typically involves placing custom restorations like dental crowns over affected teeth to rebuild a patient’s bite. 

Preventing risks for tooth wear through orthodontic treatment is a wise investment in your dental health and can save money in the long run. 

How to Find Out Which Braces Are Right for You

Learning online about your treatment options can help you determine which type of braces appeals to you. Those who value inconspicuous treatment will likely favor ceramic and clear braces over traditional metal ones whereas those who have more severe orthodontic concerns may require fixed appliances like metal braces. 

Once you’ve done a little research on your options, we recommend speaking with our dentist, Dr. Chauvin. After examining your teeth, discussing your needs and goals, and reviewing your oral health history, our practice will be able to point you in the right direction. We serve patients from Lafayette and the surrounding areas. Call Tim Chauvin, DDS & Associates at (337) 234-2186 today to reserve an appointment.

braces - dr chauvin lafayette la

The Low Down About Invisalign, Metal Braces and DIY Straighteners

Crooked teeth are not only problematic for aesthetics, they can lead to jaw pain and other issues that can affect your overall health. But straightening your teeth can mean a lot of time in the orthodontist’s office — and a big dent on your wallet. 

The cost alone is why so many have turned to do-it-yourself (DIY) teeth-straightening treatments, despite dentists and orthodontists warning that it’s a bad idea. 

Here’s a look at what services are available to straighten your smile, and which options are better for your overall oral health and budget. 


Benefits of Metal Braces 

Metal braces, the more traditional treatment for crooked teeth, involve brackets that typically run along a wire, both of which are pressed against your teeth. The wire and brackets help to support slight movements, which in turn can better align and straighten your teeth. 

Metal braces typically cost between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on the severity of the tooth problems and whether you have dental insurance. 

Here are the benefits of metal braces (as opposed to Invisalign or other teeth-straightening treatments): 


  • Braces are not removable, so you don’t risk your child taking them off while you’re not watching. 
  • Braces are better at fixing more complicated alignment issues. They’re known for being better than Invisalign if the problems are complex. 
  • Unlike Invisalign, which is used more often to treat the look of crooked teeth, braces are able to also correct other problems, like malocclusion or bad bites. 


Benefits of Invisalign 

Invisalign braces are computer-made trays that you wear on the top and bottom rows of your teeth 24 hours a day to straighten your teeth. You change them out every two weeks, although some trays last six months to a year. 

Invisalign typically costs between $3,000 and $8,000. 

Here are the benefits of Invisalign: 

  • As the name suggests, Invisalign trays are relatively hard to notice when someone is wearing them. For people who are reluctant to smile with metal braces showing, this is an aesthetically appealing alternative. 
  • Invisalign also doesn’t impact your speech, a complaint for some people who wear metal braces. 
  • For people without complex alignment or bite problems, Invisalign is a great way to straighten your teeth, as long as you don’t need to improve overall functionality. 


DIY tooth-straighteners

There is only one benefit to DIY braces — lower cost — but the money you save in the beginning likely will be offset by the money you’ll have to spend later to correct the problems that DIY braces can cause. 

The trend started a few years ago, when a college student used a 3D printer to print his own braces. Since then, there have been a plethora of DIY alignment gimmicks that will ship your alignment trays to your front door. 

But there are some drawbacks, orthodontists say:

  • If the company you’re purchasing from doesn’t do X-Rays beforehand, you run the risk of inserting braces over an undiagnosed condition or problem in your mouth. If that happens, the condition of your teeth could worsen. 
  • Dentists warn that DIY braces kits often move the teeth quickly — in 16-20 weeks — and that’s way too fast. If your teeth move too fast, it can damage your bones and gums. 
  • And if the tooth moves in the wrong direction, which it very well could without proper supervision from a professional, you can “throw off your bite.”


As you can see, there are a lot of options for fixing a crooked smile, but they should always start with a consultation with a dentist or orthodontist. Contact Dr. Tim Chauvin’s office today for help. 

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Can you whiten your teeth with braces

Taking proper care of your teeth when you’re wearing braces is tough. And you can be as diligent as an oral hygienist while they’re on, but sometimes, either based on our diet or other habits, our teeth yellow. And you may want to correct it! Can you whiten your teeth with braces? Yes. The real question you need to ask is “Should you whiten your teeth with braces?” And the answer depends on the type of braces you have. Here’s what we mean.

You shouldn’t whiten your teeth with metal bracket braces on the front:

When you have your teeth professionally whitened, you’re not going to affect the area that is directly covered by the braces. After all, they’re stuck to your teeth! Even though they’ll look better in the short term, when the braces come off, you’ll have spots of uneven color where the braces were attached. And the only way to correct this is to have your teeth whitened again. Depending on the severity of the staining, you still may not be able to get the two colors to match – resulting in uneven color. Having your teeth whitened isn’t cheap either – best to wait until the braces come off.

You can whiten your teeth if the brackets are on the back, or you use Invisalign:

If the brackets reside on the backsides of your teeth, getting your teeth whitened is fine, as the backs of your teeth don’t need to be bleached anyway. Invisalign braces can easily be removed, so having your teeth whitened is not a problem. There’s nothing that can get in the way or be potentially damaged since they are removed entirely.

Methods of teeth whitening:

Additionally, you need to take care not to damage the braces in the whitening process. Ask your dentist what method you should use, because they’ll be able to tell you what options are safest for your braces. There are several methods of tooth whitening:

  • In-office bleaching involves a bleaching agent being put on the teeth, and exposure to a special light that will accelerate the effect.
  • At-home bleaching involves strips or trays that are placed on the teeth. If you have metal brackets, you’ll need custom trays for the bleach that allows for the extra room the braces take up.
  • Whitening toothpaste is the simplest and safest method of tooth whitening for all types of braces.

Keep in mind that your gums, teeth and jaws may be more sensitive, or more prone to irritation while you’re wearing braces. Ask your dentist what their recommendation is for whitening your teeth. If you have more questions, call Dr. Chauvin’s office!

The history of braces

history of bracesIf you think braces are a modern development, think again.  Archeologist discovered that braces date back to ancient man over 3000 years ago.  Although, a better choice then was not letting anyone know you had crooked teeth. You would end up with what is referred to as ‘mouth appliances.’  That wouldn’t get me excited for my next selfie…

Early history of braces

Archaeologists uncovered mummified remains with metal bands wrapped around individual teeth. They used cord from animal skin (catgut) to bind the metal bands together in attempts to straighten teeth.  Installing these devices along with new teeth (dental implants) were often done after death to ensure they looked good enough to enter into the afterlife. 

The first recorded attempts among the living were by the ancient Romans. Aulus Cornelius Celsus wrote about his use of hand pressure that involved applying finger pressure to the teeth at regular intervals.  Today, many Roman tombs opened up by archaeologists reveal that some teeth of the deceased had a small gold wire that was used to attach the arch wire to the bracket. The wire was bound to the teeth in an effort to force the teeth to move and close off noticeable gaps. 

The most important breakthroughs came between 1728 and 1757 with the publication of 2 books by French dentist, Pierre Fauchard and Ettienne Bourdet. The first book titled “The Surgeon Dentist”  talked about all facets of diagnosis and treatment of teeth, with an entire chapter on ways to straighten teeth.  Fauchard used a horseshoe-shaped device made of precious metal which helped expand the arch, called a “Bandeau”.   In 1757,  Ettienne Bourdet’s book, “The Dentist’s Art”, also had a chapter on straightening teeth and using mouth appliances. Bourdet was the dentist to the King of France and further perfected Fauchards’ Bandeau. He is the first dentist on record who recommended extraction and the first to scientifically prove jaw growth.

In 1771, John Hunter, a Scottish doctor wrote a book titled “The Natural History of the Human Teeth,” which described dental anatomy in accurate detail.  John Hunter was responsible for coining the terms still used today for teeth, such as bicuspidscuspidsincisors and molars.

Almost 50 years later, in 1819, the first modern braces for teeth were created by Christophe-Francois Delabarre. Using a wire ‘crib’ to help straighten teeth, this marked the beginning of modern orthodontics. 

Braces during the 20th century 

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the term ‘braces’ was officially used. Dentists would individually wrap bands of materials varied around each tooth. They typically used gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber and occasionally, wood, ivory, zinc, copper, and brass.  Wooden teeth were worn by many but made famous by George Washington (who actually didn’t wear wooden teeth).

Advancements in the 1970’s

In the 1970’s everything about braces changed. Orthodontists could now bond brackets right onto a tooth with a new dental adhesive and secure the wire to the bracket with colored ties. Wires got a new look as well: more flexible metals, like nickel, titanium and copper made things more comfortable.

Several attempts at hidden or ‘invisible’ braces happened but the techniques never really gave people what they wanted. It would be several decades before invisible braces became what they are today.  

Invisalign was created in 1997 by Zia Chishti.  Chishti was a Stanford University graduate with no dental background. She took the concept of the plastic retainer, the same one ancient Egyptians used 5000 years before, and figured out how to use it to straighten teeth, instead of maintaining already straight teeth. Along with Kelsey Wirth, they used 3D imaging software to map out a patient’s mouth and create custom aligners that would slowly transform the wearer’s smile. This eliminated the uncomfortable tightening of wires and more importantly no more ‘metal mouth.’

Invisalign was tested and perfected over 3 years before finally becoming available to the public in 2000. Since then it has grown in popularity over a decade and become the new standard for many patients seeking dental treatment.

So what’s next for braces?

Orthodontists think that the popularity of orthodontic treatment will only increase as both the cost and length of treatment time decreases. 

NASA discovered a special heat-activated, nickel-titanium metal discovered that might change the face of orthodontic treatment. It can be molded into a small wire and improve how teeth align in the mouth while cutting down on office time. 

There is also a futuristic possibility of 3-D printed braces. This was highlighted at a gadget trade show in Las Vegas.

So as companies develop more precise, high-tech materials and methods, your braces will be on for a shorter period of time, be smaller and less visible, result in less discomfort, and give great results. We’ve sure come a long way from the wrap-around “metal mouth” – and that’s something we can all smile about!

Contact Dr. Chauvin – Your Lafayette dentist if you have more questions!