If you think orthodontic treatment is just for kids and teens, we’ve got some news for you: According to the American Association of Orthodontists, about a quarter of all orthodontic patients are adults — and it’s a trend that’s on the rise. Why? Because more and more adults are realizing that braces and aligners can be great options for people of all ages who want to improve their smile aesthetics and enjoy better oral health.
Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, is a leading provider of adult orthodontics for women and men in Cedar Park, Texas. Here’s what he and our team at Freedom Orthodontics want you to know about getting orthodontic treatment as an adult.
While you might be too young for braces or aligners, you really can’t be too old. There’s no upper age limit when it comes to having your teeth straightened and your bite aligned.
What does matter is the health of your teeth and your jaws. If you’ve lost teeth or you have a metabolic issue that affects bone strength, those factors may influence your treatment. It doesn’t mean you can’t be treated — simply that your treatment might need to be adjusted.
One of the biggest benefits of having orthodontic treatment as an adult is that you may be more likely to be compliant with the requirements of treatment (like caring for your braces or aligners and wearing your retainer the way you’re supposed to). And, having lived with crooked teeth for a while, you also might be more appreciative of your results.
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of orthodontic treatment is enjoying a more beautiful smile. Not only can a straight smile improve your appearance, but it can also improve your confidence. And as an adult, a little extra confidence can go a long way in social situations and at work.
But a better-looking smile and the confidence it brings are just two pluses of having orthodontic treatment as an adult. There are also lifelong oral health benefits.
Having a balanced bite might not seem like a big deal. After all, if you’re able to chew normally, what’s the problem? Bite balance is about more than chewing, though.
When your bite doesn’t align properly, it puts extra strain on your jaws, and that can lead to chronic headaches and jaw pain. Orthodontic treatment realigns your bite to help prevent future bite-related headaches and facial pain.
When your teeth are crooked or poorly aligned, areas of your tooth surface are subjected to more wear and tear, leading to rapid enamel erosion and a marked increase in your risk of decay and cavities.
Once again, orthodontics comes to the rescue, improving tooth alignment so wear is equally and evenly distributed for better tooth health.
Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss, occurring when bacteria invade your gum tissue, causing infections that weaken your tooth roots. One of the best ways to combat gum disease is to brush and floss regularly to get rid of the plaque deposits where bacteria hide.
Unfortunately, when your teeth are crowded or crooked, brushing and flossing aren’t always as effective as they should be. Even if you’re diligent in your dental hygiene routines, you can still be leaving plaque behind.
By straightening your teeth, orthodontics makes it much easier to clean around your teeth and your gums. Over time, that means your risk of gum disease — and tooth loss — can decrease.
Having orthodontic treatment as an adult means you can enjoy a lifetime of beautiful smiles and better oral health. To learn about all the orthodontic options we offer, call Freedom Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.