What are adult orthodontics?

What are adult orthodontics?

Adult Orthodontics are available to correct a range of issues

Orthodontics tends to conjure up images of teenagers wearing braces but you would be surprised to know that more than 30% of orthodontic patients are adults. New technology has made it easier and more effective to correct crooked teeth, improper bites, overcrowding and protrusions at any age. And the rise in popularity of less conspicuous braces has encouraged more adults to seek orthodontic treatment, investing in both their appearance and health.

How is adult orthodontics different?

Although the approach to adult orthodontics is similar to that of adolescent treatment, there are some important differences:

  • The adult face has reached its final shape and size. Children can use devices such as headgear and functional appliances to alter growth patterns but these are not very effective in adults though there are workable treatment options
  • Adult bones have stopped growing which means that their teeth may take a little longer to move into their correct position
  • Adults may have worn or heavily filled teeth and even missing teeth. There may be gum or tooth problems that require treatment by your dentist or another specialist prior to starting braces work. Sometimes new restorations are required after orthodontic treatment
  • Adult teeth have a greater tendency to return to their original position making the post-treatment retention longer

What treatment options are available for adults?

There are a number of treatment options available which will be recommended by your orthodontist, just depending on what your needs are.

Regular braces – These are not as cumbersome and visible as they were in the past. Braces use gentle pressure to move your teeth into position over time. Your orthodontist will glue brackets to the front of your teeth and connect them with a wire. These will need to be tightened ever 4 – 6 weeks as they slowly move your teeth or jaw or both into place.

Ceramic braces – These function and are applied as regular braces through the brackets are ceramic and tooth coloured, making them less visible.

Lingual braces – These are placed on the back of your teeth. They are less visible than regular braces those used less commonly. They may hinder your speech.

Clear aligners – The most popular in the clear aligners are Invisalign which are comprised of clear plastic trays that fit over your teeth. These are fully removable allowing you to eat, floss and brush as normal however they are not stuck to your teeth, making them easy to lose.

Veneers – These are tooth-coloured layers of porcelain that go over your existing teeth. They are ideal for fixing small, chipped, dull or stained teeth.

Is orthodontics only for aesthetics?

Of course, orthodontic treatment will provide you with a better smile but it can also improve your health. Orthodontic problems are actually associated with several health problems including:

  • Difficulty in keeping gums and teeth clean while teeth are crooked and crowded, increasing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and may even lead to tooth loss
  • Difficulty in chewing may make you less likely to eat nutritious foods. Some people may omit high-fibre foods from their diet for this reason. Also, food that is not properly chewed is difficult to digest
  • A poor bite may cause extra stress on the chewing muscles which may result in pain or problems with jaw joints
  • Protruding teeth are more easily chipped or fractured
  • A bad bite may also result in abnormal or excessive wear of tooth surfaces

Is it too late?

Since every adult’s teeth and jaws are unique, Dr Barber will talk to you about your individual treatment plan and the appliances you need. Whether you are six or sixty, appearance and health are an important part of your life. Your smile affects your looks and helps communicate your thoughts and emotions. Don’t be hindered by crooked teeth or a poor bite. Orthodontic treatment can improve both your smile and your health. For more information on adult orthodontics, contact Smart Smile today to find out more.

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