If it's been recommended that you, as an adult, get braces for your teeth, note a few questions you might have about this procedure. You can then discuss your concerns with your dentist or orthodontist as needed.

1. Why can't teeth just be covered with veneers or caps?

If your teeth are just slightly crooked, you might opt for veneers, which are like small coverings that are glued to the front of the teeth, or caps, which are a covering that slides over the whole tooth itself; both of these can make teeth appear to be straight. These are often used if you simply have cosmetic concerns; however, braces are needed when a person has orthodontia issues, meaning problems with the overall jaw structure, and not just a few crooked teeth. By means of the braces gently nudging the teeth into a new position over the course of many months or even years, the actual shape of the jaw itself changes. In time, you will have better support and alignment of the jawbone and the hinged area of the jaw itself.

2. Is it true you cannot eat certain foods with braces?

You will probably be advised to avoid very sticky foods like taffy or caramels and foods that might damage the wires of braces, such as hard candies. However, you may not be as limited in your diet when you have braces as you assume. Foods that might snap the wires, like apples or toffee, can be chopped and then eaten, and you usually don't need to avoid meats if you are sure to clean the braces properly after a meal. If you're concerned about having to go without your favourite foods or dishes when you have braces, ask your orthodontist about these in particular and whether they're off-limits or whether you simply need to adjust how you eat your favourite foods.

3. Aren't braces just for kids?

Many orthodontia problems are noticed as a child becomes a teenager, but an adult may also have orthodontia problems that were never addressed when they were a teen or because their face has changed shape over the years. Missing some teeth can mean that other teeth settle into that area, which can mean that the shape of the jawbone changes, or you may suffer bone loss due to a lack of calcium or radiation treatments, surgery, and the like. Your teeth may also simply be too crooked to cover with caps and veneers or other cosmetic processes, so your dentist may then recommend braces for a better smile and appearance.