DETROIT - Braces can be considered a rite of passage for teenagers, but more adults are considering them, too.
Crooked teeth and poorly aligned bites are not just cosmetic concerns, because they make brushing and flossing more difficult. They are also associated with bone loss, erosion of tooth enamel, headaches and jaw joint pain.
Dr. Pam Steiger, an orthodontist, said people experience some gum loss over time, bone structure changes and teeth tend to shift, as well.
Natalie Lewis, 62, decided to get braces because she was unhappy with her smile and thought it made her look older than she felt.
"It seemed as though my bottom teeth were crowding, the crowding was becoming more obvious," Lewis said.
Lewis tried Invisalign. The removable, customized retainers are changed every couple of weeks and gently shift the teeth into better alignment.
Steiger said there are several aesthetically pleasing options for braces.
"We do have Invisalign which is a clear alternative to straighten the teeth. We do also do braces that go along the inside of your teeth so completely invisible as well and we do have nice clear braces," Steiger said.
Lewis says her straight teeth really have her smiling.
"I feel more self-confident because of it," Lewis said.
Adult braces can cost generally between $4,800 and $7,000.
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