Orthodontics for adults is a relatively new phenomenon. The old way of thinking that orthodontic braces were just for children has been tossed out the window. Orthodontics for adults is a booming segment of dentistry. With new advancements in dental materials and techniques orthodontics for adults has become easier than ever.
Is Orthodontics For Adults For Everyone?
According to the Amercian Association of Orthodontists, approximately one in four orthodontic patients (about 1.7 million between Canada and USA) is an adult(anyone over age 18). As dental knowledge has advanced we have realized that leaving crooked teeth and misaligned teeth was not just a cosmetic issue.
This crowding leads to increased risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease as well as difficulty in chewing and speech. Orthodontics for adults can fix that creating a smile that is in harmony not only esthetically but functionally. This will lead to being able to maintain dental hygiene easier which will lead to longer tooth life.
Is There An Age Limit For Orthodontics For Adults?
No! You are never to old to receive orthodontic treatment. There are a ton of factors that your dentist or orthodontist will consider but age is usually not one of them.
Is Orthodontics For Adults Possible With Missing Teeth?
It all depends on what is missing and where. The beauty of orthodontics for adults is that this is where a dentist and an orthodontist will come together and work as a team creating the perfect smile for you. Your treatment plan may include a mix of orthodontic treatment as well as a dental implant or two to complete your smile.
Orthodontics For Adults Vs Adolescent Orthodontics
The process of moving teeth is exactly the same whether you are 6 or 60. Orthodontics moves teeth by placing directional force on our teeth over time. Many issues can be corrected as an adult as easily as for a child. The biggest difference between children’s orthodontics and orthodontics for adults is that adults have stopped growing. This can cause an increase in orthodontic treatment time for adults. Adult bone will be denser as well which will make tooth movement slower.
Also considerations need to be made if the adult patient has any dental crowns. These can be moved but care must be taken to ensure these teeth are healthy and the dental crown is properly placed. Adults and children can have very similar orthodontic issues. These can include:
-Crowding or too much space between teeth
-Overbites or Underbites. For an open bite, the front teeth may not make contact when the back teeth touch, or vice versa. Poorly aligned teeth and jaws can, over time, can result in abnormal wearing of tooth surfaces.
Orthodontics For Adults Initial Treatment
Your initial consultaion will usually be a no cost consultation. In addition to the consultation x rays and photographs will be taken. There may be a charge for these. These x rays and photographs will help the dentist and orthodontist map out your treatment safely. At your initial consultation you will discuss with dentist or orthodontist why you are there. They will examine you and look at the following factors to develop a customized treatment plan for you.
-What is the orthodontic issue that brings you in?
-Multiple orthodontic options to correct the problem or problems. -Customized treatment goals that you wish to achieve.
-Will any teeth need to be removed to accomplish these goals? -Whether other dental services are required prior to orthodontic treatment to bring your dental health to optimal levels.
-A rough estimate on the length of your orthodontic treatment -Estimated cost of orthodontics for adults care.
Orthodontics For Adults Treatment
As mentioned previously, teeth are moved with controlled directional forces over time. Orthodontists use clear aligners (invisalign) or braces to guide and move your teeth into their ideal positions. The tooth movement occurs as the underlying bone is broken down and then rebuilt. If the process goes too fast the bone does not recover properly. Timing is critical for long term health.
Following orthodontic treatment, you can expect to wear a retainer to maintain the movements you have gained while undergoing active orthodontic treatment.