Am I too old for Orthodontic Treatment?
Did you ever look in a mirror and think to yourself, "Sure wish I could have had braces when I was a kid?" You can't go back in time, but you can still get the healthy, beautiful smile you've always wished was yours. It's not too late. Orthodontic treatment can be as successful for adults as it is for adolescents. Don't let your age keep you from consulting an orthodontist.
Whether you’re 8 or 80, it’s the same physiological process that moves teeth through bone. Adults have denser bone tissue than children, so treatment may take a little longer, but age does not keep teeth from moving.
Adults can have complicated cases, though, for a variety of reasons. They may have fillings, missing teeth, misshapen or worn teeth, or other dental disease. These are conditions well within your orthodontist’s realm of treatment experience. This is just one reason it’s so important to make sure you are being treated by orthodontist. Your orthodontist has years of formal education in orthodontics after graduating from dental school. As an orthodontic specialist, your doctor has the education and expertise you need to manage your orthodontic care and reach your best possible result.
To move your teeth in their ideal positions, your orthodontist will use an “appliance,” braces or aligners, for example, to deliver controlled forces that gently and predictably reposition teeth. There has been a revolution in orthodontic appliances – much of it driven by adults who want straight teeth, but want to be inconspicuous about their treatment. Today’s options include tooth-colored braces, tiny but more traditional metal braces, gold-colored braces, braces that go behind the teeth, and braces that aren’t braces at all, but are a series of plastic-like trays (“aligners”) that move teeth a little at a time. Not every type of appliance is suitable for correction of every kind of orthodontic problem. This is another reason to make sure you are being treated by orthodontist – selecting the right appliance to correct your problem. Orthodontists have access to the full range of appliances, and more than anyone else in the dental profession, orthodontists know which appliance is right for an individual patient’s care.
Treatment lasts an average of 22 months. During that time, orthodontist visits are scheduled about every six weeks to eight. It’s a comparatively small investment of time that pays big dividends in improved dental health, better function (biting, chewing), the ability to more easily keep your teeth clean, and higher self-confidence.
It’s so heart-warming to witness the first time an adult patient sees his/her new smile. Sometimes there are tears through smiles, and sometimes pronouncements of outright joy. The only regret expressed is that this step was not taken sooner.
The opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile has not passed you by. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life hiding your smile. Just because you didn’t have orthodontic treatment when you were a youngster doesn’t prevent you from doing something about it now. Your age doesn’t matter. You can have the smile you’ve always wanted. It starts with consulting an orthodontist. Call us to Schedule an appoinment .
Is there a benefit to early treatment?
Timing is everything – evn when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment. “Early” treatment, also called “interceptive” treatment, means treatment that is performed while some baby teeth are still present.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, but no later than age 7. Why age 7? By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and the jaws, which in turn can provide a wealth of information. AAO orthodontists are trained to spot subtle problems even in young children.
There are generally three outcomes of an initial check-up:
- No treatment is expected to be necessary.
- Treatment may be needed in the future, so the child will be followed periodically while the face and jaws continue to grow.
- There is a problem that lends itself to early treatment.
- Underbites – when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth
- Crossbites – when the jaw shifts to one side
- Very crowded teeth
- Excessively spaced teeth
- Extra or missing teeth
- Teeth that meet abnormally, or don't meet at all
- Thumb-, finger-, or pacifier- sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth
While there are many orthodontic problems that orthodontists agree are best treated after all permanent teeth have come in, early treatment can be in a patient’s best interests if their problem is one that could become more serious over time if left untreated. The goal of early treatment is to intercept the developing problem, eliminate the cause, guide the growth of facial and jaw bones, and provide adequate space for incoming permanent teeth. A patient may require a second course of treatment after all permanent teeth have come in to move those teeth into their best positions.
The kinds of problems orthodontists may recommend treating while a child still has some baby teeth include:
Some of these orthodontic problems are inherited, while others may result from accidents, dental disease, or abnormal swallowing.
Early orthodontic treatment can take many forms. The orthodontist could prescribe a fixed or removable “appliance” - a device used to move teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold teeth in place in order to bring about desirable changes. Sometimes no appliances are necessary. Rather, removal of some baby teeth may help the permanent teeth erupt better. The extractions will be timed to take best advantage of a patient’s growth and development.
Regardless of how treatment goals are reached, the bottom line is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult.
To give your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile, visit an orthodontist. No referral needed! Most orthodontists provide an initial consultation at no cost and with no obligation. Your orthodontist can alert you to potential problems and recommend treatment when it is most appropriate for your child. Remember, timing is everything. We have Payment Plans to make Braces Affordable.