One in four orthodontic patients today is an adult, according to the American Academy of Orthodontics. While you may picture a teenager with a mouth full of metal when you think of braces, Ki Youn Kil, DDS, and Nathalie Phaeton, DDS, at Oasis Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics, in Falls Church, Virginia, knows that isn’t always the case. Adults have more orthodontic choices than ever before to straighten teeth, correct a bad bite, and fix overcrowding. To learn more about orthodontics for adults, call Oasis Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics, or schedule a visit online.
Orthodontic therapy targets dental problems related to bite alignment and tooth straightening. While the ideal placement time for braces is between the ages of 10 and 14, many people don’t realize they need braces until they’re older. Others have braces as teenagers and notice their teeth shifting as they age.
Some of the most common reasons adults consider orthodontic treatments are to:
Orthodontic therapy doesn’t just improve your oral health; it also gives you the confidence to show off your smile.
There are several different types of orthodontic treatments for adults, such as:
Traditional braces rely on metal wires and brackets to gradually shift your teeth and jaw into proper alignment.
Ceramic braces are nearly identical to conventional metal braces, but they are made using ceramic materials that blend in better with the natural color of your teeth.
Like conventional braces, lingual braces are made out of metal. However, they affix to the back of the teeth, rather than the front. While lingual braces are effective at straightening teeth, they take longer than conventional braces and are harder to clean.
Invisalign clear aligners are ideal for adults who want to straighten crooked teeth, correct overcrowding, or fix malocclusion (a bad bite). Not only are they completely clear and removable, but these clear aligners also typically have a shorter treatment time than traditional braces. The average treatment time for Invisalign is about six to 18 months, compared to conventional braces’ 18 months to three years.
Similar to traditional braces in appearance, self-ligating braces rely on small clips rather than elastic bands to secure the wires in place. As a result, self-ligating braces are easier to clean than their conventional counterparts, though they’re also more expensive.
Because the jawbones of children and teenagers are still developing, their orthodontic therapy is often different than treatment for adults, who have fully formed jawbones. Other factors that affect orthodontic therapy in adults include:
Adults tend to have more worn down or missing teeth than children. Over time, missing teeth can cause the rest of your teeth to shift, which often leads to malocclusion.
If you already had braces as a teen and still need orthodontic therapy as an adult, you may not have completed your initial treatment. In many cases, your teeth can shift or become crooked if you never wear your retainer after getting your braces off.
Gum disease, or chronic gum inflammation, can lead to gum recession or bone loss when left untreated.
Orthodontics for adults can ease jaw pain, correct crooked teeth, and realign your bite. To schedule an appointment with Oasis Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics, call or book online today.