Adult OrthodonticsYou might associate orthodontic treatment with teens but it’s never too late to get braces to straighten your teeth or correct bite problems. Adult orthodontics can also give you an awesome smile that will increase your self-confidence.

A growing number of adults are now getting braces, which have improved greatly over the years. The days of “metal mouth” references are long gone. Today’s braces are lighter, more discreet and less costly, and you have a wider choice of options.

One of the main reasons adults get braces is that teeth can shift as you get older, even if you wore braces as a youngster. Your teeth may move out of position due to injury, a medical condition or natural changes in the mouth.

Crooked or crowded teeth can result in:

  • Jaw pain.
  • Difficulty keeping your teeth clean.
  • Self-consciousness about smiling.
  • Difficulty speaking or eating.

Some adults need orthodontic care because they didn’t wear their retainers as instructed after having braces when younger. Orthodontists now believe retainers should be worn much longer than recommended in previous decades – sometimes indefinitely.

Others get braces because they’ve always had crooked teeth as they didn’t get orthodontic treatment as a child and never got around to doing anything about it.

Another reason it’s never too late to get braces is if you’re considering dental implants to replace missing teeth. Your remaining teeth will have to be straight for implant treatment.

Adults may have to wear braces for longer to get the same results as youngsters but many see braces as an investment in their future – a couple years of treatment in exchange for a life of healthy teeth.

Benefits of Adult Orthodontics

Studies have suggested that adults are just as likely to need braces as children and teens.

Misaligned teeth or an irregular bite increases the risk of food debris, bacteria, plaque and tartar accumulating on your teeth and gums. This can cause tooth decay and gum disease (periodontitis). The likelihood of cavities and periodontal disease increases with aging.

Besides oral health issues, orthodontic problems can also result in complications in other parts of your body.

Being unable to chew your food properly can cause digestive problems or force you to limit your diet. Trying to digest large chunks of food can cause problems such as bloating, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Dietary restrictions can lead to malnutrition over time.

Other issues that can be related to orthodontic issues include:

  • Earache.
  • Headaches.
  • Erosion of tooth enamel.
  • Jaw bone loss.
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

In general, people are living longer and keeping their teeth for life. This makes it sensible to correct crooked or crowded teeth. The Academy of General Dentistry says a million people aged over 18 in the U.S. and Canada wear braces.

Even senior adults are discovering it’s never too late to get braces. According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), an increasing number of people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s are getting braces.

If you decide on adult orthodontic treatment, you’ll be in good company. Celebrities who got braces as adults include movie stars Tom Cruise and Danny Glover and country music singer Faith Hill.

Giving Your Professional Life a Boost

Some adults get braces to enhance their professional life in the belief that crooked teeth may be preventing them from achieving their full potential. Evidence suggests they’re right.

According to the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics (AJO-DO), an individual’s appearance can affect their ability to land a job. The Journal adds that people with attractive smiles are regarded as being more intelligent.

Research carried out on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) also concluded that people with a winning smile were perceived as being smarter and more successful.

What Are My Options When Considering Getting Adult Braces?

Depending on your age, you’re likely to find a greater range of braces options than when you were younger.

Metal braces are the most affordable and they are now more discreet and comfortable but are still the most noticeable. Metal braces are a popular choice for adults, especially when teeth are seriously overcrowded.

Many people opt for ceramic braces for the aesthetic appeal of their tooth-colored or clear brackets. Ceramic braces move teeth more quickly than clear plastic aligners but are more expensive than metal braces.

Invisalign clear plastic aligners provide a braces option that may not have been available in your younger days. Being removable, Invisalign appliances are healthier than regular braces, which can make oral hygiene tricky. You simply pop out your

Invisalign braces to brush and floss your teeth as normal to guard against tooth decay and gum infections. It’s estimated that adults make up 25 percent of Invisalign patients in the U.S.

Finding a Dentist for Adult Orthodontic Treatment

More and more adults are choosing orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth, safeguard their oral health and give their smile a makeover.

There’s no longer a stigma associated with dental braces for adults, which are higher tech and less conspicuous than before. Gone are the days of clunky traditional braces, a mouth full of metal wires and the unsightly headgear you may recall from childhood.

Although adult orthodontic treatment can be a longer process, the outcome is likely to be better because adults tend to take more care in looking after their braces and following the advice of their orthodontist.

To get the best possible outcome from your adult orthodontic treatment, you may decide to choose an orthodontic specialist rather than a general dentist. Orthodontists undergo a further two or more years of training after their four years of dental school.

A good orthodontic practice will offer you a free consultation and be happy to answer questions such as:

  • How much will my braces cost?
  • How long will I need to wear my braces?
  • What experience do you have with treating an orthodontic problem like mine?
  • Can I get references from existing or former patients?
  • Will I be able to get appointments at convenient times?
  • What financing options do you offer?