Preston Orthodontics
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Adult Treatments

In the past, orthodontic treatment was expected to take place only during adolescent or teenage years. Dental braces were linked with the image of a young teenager, usually around the age of fourteen, wearing metal braces. Until some years ago, it was very rare to see an adult patient with dental braces.

Today the situation is different; you can meet patients of a wide range of ages in an orthodontist’s waiting room. Adult orthodontics are more common than ever. Over one in five orthodontic patients in the United States is an adult.


Why you need Adult Orthodontics

Some adults with malocclusion problems did not get orthodontic treatment when they were children for a variety of reasons such as high treatment cost not affordable by their family or because they were being embarrassed about wearing braces.

Orthodontic treatment for adults is affordable, and dental braces are smaller and less visible than they used to be. Even if you continue to feel uncomfortable about wearing braces, you now have the option to select either ‘invisible’ braces or (in some easier cases) other alternative methods that do not need braces (‘instant orthodontics’).

Adults are more likely to need orthodontic treatment based on dental health concerns. Adult orthodontics can help prevent many serious dental and general health problems such as gum disease, tooth wear or loss, TMJ disorder, chewing, digestive and breathing problems.

Malocclusion problems such as crooked teeth or large gaps between teeth, even if they’re not severe, can have a significant impact on the way people feel about their smile. A person’s appearance may seriously affect his/her professional and personal life. Many adults are more willing today to undergo orthodontic treatment mainly for cosmetic reasons


Treatment options for Adult Orthodontics

There are a variety of dental treatment options that are designed specifically to meet needs of adult orthodontic patients. Along with the classic metal braces which are not that popular, other options include :

  • Ceramic clear braces that can straighten teeth quickly and discreetly
  • Clearstep® teeth aligners which are removable and almost invisible. They are not recommended for severe cases. Learn more about Clearstep®
  • Lingual braces that attach to the back of the front teeth are another option for those who do not want others to notice that they are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
  • "Instant orthodontics" with porcelain veneers can be used for minor teeth misalignments and small gaps, offering immediate results without having to wait for braces to move teeth.
  • Implants have also made treatment possible for many adult orthodontic problems that could not be treated in the past.

The orthodontists evaluate each case and suggest which treatments are suitable for the specific orthodontic problems. Treatment plans for adult orthodontics have to be adjusted and designed based on the fact that the mouth has finished growing. In some severe cases there might be increased need for surgical orthodontics.


Limitations / risks of Adult Orthodontics

The mechanics and process of teeth movement to correct misaligned teeth are the same regardless of the patient’s age. This means that orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age.

The major difference between adult orthodontics and the orthodontic procedures in children and teenagers is that the jaw bones growth has already been completed. Adult orthodontics cannot take into advantage this growing process for cases that require modification of the jaw’s size or position. For this reason adult orthodontics treatment can be more complicated and may require the involvement of more than one dental professional.

The need of oral surgery in order to modify the size or position of a jaw is much more common in adult orthodontics than in treating younger patients. If the size of the jaw can not be adjusted easily, more teeth may have to be extracted to correct crowding problems in adults.

Generally the treatment of malocclusions in adults needs more time than it would be required if the patient was treated in the teenager years. Teeth movement in adult orthodontics may cause teeth to feel loose in their sockets, because in adults the jaw bone takes much more time to heal and fill the gap left behind by the tooth’s movement.

One of the critical factors for the success of adult orthodontics is the health condition of the patient’s gums. Adult patients are more susceptible to gum disease which weakens the teeth supporting tissues. If gum disease is not treated before wearing the dental braces, the already weakened jaw bone may not withstand the applied pressure and suffer permanent damage, that could cause tooth loss.

"You have given me a lot more confidence to smile. Now as an adult its never too late to change your smile. Thank you so much"

British Orthodontic Society The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh British Dental AssociationGeneral Dental Council