Orthodontics is not just for children and teens. In fact, 1 in every 5 patients in orthodontic treatment is an adult. No one is too old for orthodontic treatment.
Adults seek orthodontic treatment for many of the same reasons as children. Some adults had orthodontic problems as children but were unable to correct them until now. Others, who had treatment as children, may need further treatment as adults due to relapse or limitations in initial treatment.
Benefits of Treatment
Adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment in many ways. These include:
- Align the teeth to create a more aesthetic and beautiful smile
- Correct relapse after previous orthodontic treatment due to lack of long term retainer wear
- Improve the ability to brush and floss, especially for crowded or overlapping lower front teeth
- Create a better or more comfortable bite and ability to chew
- Address missing teeth
- Close spaces between the teeth
- Reduce excessive wear on the teeth due to grinding or poor bite
- Jaw surgery to correct discrepancy between the upper and lower jaws.
Adult Orthodontics vs. Orthodontics for Children and Teens
The main difference between treating adults and children or teens is that the jawbones of younger patients are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may make orthognathic surgery possible to align the jawbones. Other differences include:
- Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Adults are more likely than children to experience gum recession or even bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Patients with straighter teeth are less likely to get gum disease.
- Worn or missing teeth — Over time teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt, creating a bad bite and increasing the possibility of gum disease.
- Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment. As an adult, they choose to complete their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.
John Gerling Orthodontics also recognizes that adults and children have different needs, and require a different level of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatments, and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.
Appearance of Braces
Many adults are concerned with the appearance of braces. Often, Invisalign® (The invisible alternative to braces) can be used to treat adults. This technology involves clear removable aligners, fabricated through advanced 3D imaging to align the teeth. For more severe problems, we have the option of clear ceramic brackets or lingual braces behind the teeth instead of traditional metal braces.
Orthodontic treatment is no more uncomfortable for adults than children. Adults undergoing orthodontic treatment report the same level of soreness as children (although adults are more willing to tell us about the soreness).
Typically, the teeth are most uncomfortable 12-24 hours after an orthodontic adjustment and will disappear within 3 to 5 days. Modern appliances are smaller and more comfortable to wear. Modern techniques, with the new titanium technology, put less pressure on the teeth to cause discomfort, while moving the teeth more rapidly and efficiently. It also decreases the time required between adjustments to every 8 – 10 weeks. Treatment time, on average, is completed in 15-18 months.
The fee for adult orthodontic treatment is determined the same way as child or adolescent treatment. It is based on the severity of the problem, the complexity of the correction, the appliances used and the length of time to correct.
Dr. John Gerling has treated individuals in their 50’s, 60’s and even their 70’s. It is never too late to gain the smile you have always wanted.