When it comes to orthodontic treatment, a lot of people tend to associate it with teens and preteens. But in recent years, more and more adults have been turning to orthodontics as well. That might be because they missed out on having braces as a kid, or it might be because as adults they can really appreciate the benefits that go hand-in-hand with braces, like a more attractive smile, greater self-confidence, or better long-term oral health.
Whatever the reason, the big question for most adults is, am I too old for braces? At Freedom Orthodontics in Cedar Park, Texas, board-certified orthodontist Brendan D. Smith, DDS, MS, and his team help patients of all ages get the custom care solutions they need to enjoy a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles. Here’s how to tell if you’re a good candidate for adult orthodontics — and if there’s an age where braces might not be a good choice.
Benefits of adult braces
Perfect smiles almost never happen naturally. Most of us can use some professional help. While it’s true that a lot of orthodontic treatments are performed on preteens and teens, it’s also true that lots of adults — including older adults — opt for orthodontics to help them enjoy the benefits of straight teeth.
More attractive smiles
Having a beautiful smile is just as important to adults as it is to younger people. In fact, a survey by the American Dental Association found many adults are affected negatively when their smiles aren’t ideal. Of the 15,000 adults surveyed:
- About a fourth said they felt embarrassed by the condition of their teeth
- The same number said they actually smile less because of the way their teeth look
- About a fifth said they experience anxiety because of their unattractive smiles
With orthodontic treatment, you can finally feel confident about the impression you’re making on others at work, in social situations, and anywhere else you go. Straighter teeth are more attractive, sure, but they can also help you appear more “pulled together” and confident — impressions that can leave a lasting mark in both your professional and social life.
Better oral health
As important as it is to have a great-looking smile, it’s just one of the benefits of orthodontic treatment. Straightening your teeth can have some important benefits for your oral health too:
Fewer cavities and less gum disease
Straight, evenly-spaced teeth are easier to brush and floss. Crooked or oddly-spaced teeth tend to form gaps and crevices that are hard to clean, which means they’re ideal hiding spots for bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Straightening your teeth eliminates those odd spaces, so it’s easier to clean with regular brushing and flossing.
Reduced risk of bite-related problems
Teeth are designed to line up and work in pairs, creating an optimal bite balance that evens out the stresses on your jaw joints. When your teeth are crooked, they don’t line up properly, and that means the strain on your jaw is uneven. Over time, an unbalanced bite can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, along with symptoms like chronic jaw pain, headaches, and “sticking” sensations when you open your mouth wide or when you chew. Orthodontic treatment rebalances your bite, so the force on your jaws is evened out.
Am I too old?
Now, for the real question: When it comes to orthodontic treatment, how old is too old? The answer: You’re never too old for orthodontic treatment. As long as your jaws can support the tooth movements that need to occur during your treatment, you can have braces or aligners and enjoy all the benefits they have to offer.
Orthodontics involves a lot of bone remodeling in your jaw: As your teeth shift into new positions, new bone forms around the tooth roots. That’s what holds them in their new positions after treatment is complete. Generally speaking, as long as your jaw bone is healthy enough to support this remodeling process, you’re good to go.
So, how can you tell if your jaws are ready for orthodontic treatment? By having your bite and jaws evaluated. Dr. Smith and his team are skilled in ensuring each patient gets the best care for their needs. If you’re wondering if orthodontic treatment can help you achieve your goals, now is a great time to find out. Call our office or use our online form to schedule your appointment today.