It’s never too late to move healthy teeth! Yes, I’m speaking to all of you adults out there who may be under the common misconception that orthodontics is for children or adolescents only. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, recent studies indicate that adults are seeking orthodontic treatment in record numbers. I know I personally am witnessing the increase, with about one-third of the patients in my practice being over the age of 18.
So why the recent increase in adult orthodontics? Many adults now understand the multiple benefits of having a healthy, beautiful smile. We all want to look our best, and dental aesthetics is now an important part of the overall beauty package. Even celebrities constantly in the public eye, such as Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani, and Beyoncé, have opted for braces as adults.
Today’s innovative technologies allow for highly esthetic orthodontic options, such as clear (ceramic) braces, and lingual braces, which are braces that are placed on the back of the teeth (by the tongue and palate) and hence entirely invisible. Another option for many adult patients is Invisalign®, is which is a series of custom made aligners that gradually move teeth into proper alignment. Aside from being highly aesthetic, these various options are also considerably comfortable, as technology has greatly advanced with patient comfort in mind.
Aside from aesthetics, an even more important factor driving the increase in adult orthodontics is dental health. A common issue such as excessive crowding of teeth can lead to difficulty in cleaning and maintaining them, which can ultimately result in problems such as tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum problems). Other issues such as excessive spacing, misalignment, or bite problems can lead to uneven wear over time potentially causing weak or compromised teeth or even difficulty chewing. Orthodontics may also be necessary to move teeth into their proper positions before restorative dentistry (such as dental implants) can be accomplished.
Many adults find that their teeth begin to shift later in life. I often see patients in their late teens or early twenties who are experiencing a shifting of their teeth, or adults who tell me that their teeth were always straight but recently began moving. I remind patients that every part of our body shifts and changes with age, and our teeth are no exception. I also frequently see many adult patients for orthodontic retreatments, such as a patient who may have had braces as a child and was not so diligent with their retainers, or who did not fully complete their treatment the first time around. Fortunately adult orthodontics can remedy these situations.
If you are considering orthodontics as an adult, there are a few important factors to keep in mind. These include the importance of starting treatment with a healthy mouth, which means being cleared by your general dentist as free from cavities or gum disease. It is also important to maintain regular visits with your general dentist during orthodontic treatment, ideally every three-to-four months for cleanings and checkups. Additionally, adult teeth typically move somewhat slower than those of children since the benefit of growth is not present. However, there are no age limitations to doing orthodontic treatment… teeth will move at any age. I have treated a number of patients in their late 60’s with braces or Invisalign with great success!
The benefits of orthodontics in adults are numerous. A healthy, beautiful smile lends itself to increased self-confidence and subsequent improved social and professional success. It is an investment for a lifetime, no matter what age the treatment begins! Please call Pinecrest Orthodontics for a complimentary initial orthodontic consultation!
Pinecrest Orthodontics is located in the Dixie Belle Shops at 12197 S. Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, FL. PH: 305-423-4130. www.pinecrestortho.com.