Orthodontists are fond of saying, "A smile can be improved at any age!" and patients are listening. Today, more and more adults are choosing to have orthodontic treatment.
The American Association of Orthodontists estimates that one in five orthodontic patients is an adult and that more than 1,000,000 adults in the United States and Canada are receiving treatment from orthodontists who are members of the organization. Orthodontics is also the fastest-growing dental specialty in the United Kingdom and adults are the fastest-growing patient group within the specialty.
Gaps between teeth, crowding, protruding front teeth and teeth in abnormal positions are orthodontic problems that can easily be corrected in adults. Orthodontic treatment may help prevent many serious orthodontic problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, or deterioration of bone. Even some chronic pain can be traced to orthodontic problems creating stress on joints and muscles. While health concerns such as crooked teeth, bad bites, and jaw dysfunction are often the primary reason for choosing to undergo orthodontic treatment, many adults are choosing to treat themselves to the cosmetic improvement they didn't have a chance to undergo as children.
The newer, low visibility innovations in orthodontics are almost entirely due to demand from adult patients who want to straighten their teeth, but don't want a "tin grin." These innovations include tooth-colored ceramic braces, clear braces, tooth-colored ties and arch wires, and nearly invisible, clear plastic aligners that are computer generated and may be removed for eating and brushing. Lingual appliances, which are fixed appliances that are attached to the back, or tongue side, of the teeth, and are therefore completely unseen, are becoming increasingly popular as interest in adult orthodontics increases.
Braces work by applying gentle, gradual pressure to teeth to make them move into better alignment. These forces work the same way for adults that they do for children, but adult treatment may take a little longer because an adult's jaws are no longer growing. Because of this lack of jaw growth, and because an adult may have experienced gum or bone loss, or have damaged or missing teeth, orthodontic treatment may be only a part of the treatment plan. While orthodontic treatment may take a bit longer or involve treating gum or other disorders, healthy teeth that are supported by healthy gums can be moved at any age. And straight, even teeth are easier to clean and, therefore, easier to keep healthy.
The great-grandparents of today's adult patient expected to lose most of their teeth by age 40. The rate of loss of teeth has declined each decade due to improved dental care, increased awareness of the importance of dental hygiene, and increased life expectancy. With excellent hygiene, regular check-ups and a healthy diet, today's 30-something will keep his or her teeth for another 75 years! More and more patients are choosing to make sure those years are filled with healthy, straight, beautiful smiles.
At Boschken Orthodontics, we are committed to providing you with the most innovative and successful treatment available today. You are never too old for orthodontic treatment and never too old to stop smiling!