The orthodontic treatment of adults is common today due to the invention of invisible braces. There are two common types of invisible braces: clear orthodontic aligners and clear brackets with tooth-colored wires, both of which treat even the most complicated of cases. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in four orthodontic patients is an adult!
A study conducted for Invisalign® about first impressions, found that in the United States, the way in which your teeth are aligned creates assumptions about your success, popularity, intelligence and general health. This survey confirmed what we already knew: your teeth and smile make the most memorable first impression!
Another recent survey discovered that 57% of Americans cover their mouth with their hands when they laugh because they are embarrassed about their teeth. 70% of people surveyed admit they are self-conscious about their teeth.
What is dental occlusion?
Dental occlusion is the way your upper and lower teeth sit and fit together (alignment). Even if you had braces as an adolescent, changes in occlusion can be caused by missing teeth, dental decay, wear on the teeth due to bruxism (tooth grinding), periodontal disease (gum disease), poor quality dental restorations, diet, trauma, etc. Untreated poorly aligned teeth (malocclusion) can cause abnormal tooth wear, chipped teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, difficulty chewing, breathing problems, and also jaw joint problems.
Adult orthodontics can improve your occlusion making your teeth fit together better and reduce improper forces on the teeth which can reduce the risk of dental problems in the future. Regardless of your age, it will be easier to keep your teeth clean, improve the chewing of your food, and enhance your appearance!
How do orthodontics work?
Orthodontics is a biological process. Teeth are moved by placing gentle pressure on the teeth with the use of braces or aligners to guide the teeth into better position over time. Once the teeth are in the correct position you will wear a retainer (indefinitely) to support them in their new location and position.
Why are my teeth crooked?
Factors such as genetics, poor jaw development, the size of your jaw, and how the teeth come together can cause crooked teeth. Teeth can move out of position, twist, and shift based on the forces of your bite. Orthodontics can correct tooth alignment, straighten the teeth, and improve chewing and biting overall.
What can orthodontics do for you?
Orthodontics can give you a more beautiful smile and help improve your confidence and self-image. Orthodontics can improve your oral health by making it easier to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Additionally, it can improve your ability to chew which makes eating more enjoyable and is also a benefit for healthy digestion. As a bonus, by correcting your occlusion, you can also help treat snoring and sleep apnea.
Am I too old for braces?
It is never too late to desire a healthy and beautiful smile. The results from adult orthodontics can be just as successful as for adolescents. Your treatment time may take a little longer because adult bone is denser, but the results can be spectacular. If you have crowded and worn teeth, orthodontics can create space to allow for cosmetic crowns and veneers. If you have missing teeth, orthodontics can help create and open up space to make room for an implant or bridge.
Is it painful?
You can expect some discomfort and it is important to treat the discomfort with over-the-counter pain medications because the keys to success are comfort and compliance.
The Modern Way
The modern way to straighten your teeth is with clear orthodontic aligners made by ClearCorrect and Invisalign, or with invisible braces like 6 Month Smiles. Many people choose adult orthodontics for aesthetic reasons, but more importantly, adult braces can help to create healthy occlusion (bite) so you can chew effectively and improve your oral health.
About Clear Aligners
Orthodontic aligners are clear, invisible and removable appliances that gradually move your teeth over the course of months. Because they are removable it is easy to maintain good oral hygiene. And because they are invisible, most people won't notice you’re even wearing them! They are worn during 22 hours of the day and do not need to be removed for your daily activities like sports, social events, and working. The only time you remove them is when you are eating or drinking. Most cases require treatment for 18 to 24 months. Visits are scheduled every six to eight weeks.
6 Month Smiles
6 Month Smiles is a system of clear brackets placed on your teeth along with white wires and clear bands. This is an ideal treatment for crowding cases or space cases where tooth movement can be corrected relatively quickly. Average treatment time for 6 Month Smiles is between 5-8 months old and then the teeth are permanently held in retainers, so they don’t shift or move.
Your Initial Consultation
At your initial consultation Dr. Trombetta will examine your teeth and oral tissues. She will listen to your concerns about your teeth and your smile and answer your questions. She will suggest a panoramic x-ray to examine your jaw bones and tooth placement, as well as identify any decay or other dental problems. This is vital to be able to accurately diagnose your orthodontic problems and to design a treatment plan customized to your specific needs to achieve your goals. Photographs and an intraoral digital scan will also be taken.
Dr. Trombetta will review the results of her examination and the imaging and discuss with you what you need and how she can improve your teeth and your smile with orthodontics.
You will learn about if your occlusion is problematic, hear about your treatment options, and whether you need other dental services to achieve good oral health. She will provide you with an estimate of the length of ortho treatment, as well as your estimated costs.
If you ask an adult about their experience with orthodontics, the one regret they had was that they wish they had started treatment sooner.