Braces are not just for kids, and it’s never too late for a healthy, beautiful smile. But it’s important to do your research before selecting an orthodontist, because not all orthodontic offices treat adults, especially ones affiliated with a pediatric dental office. At Castilla Orthodontics, we are proud that 37 percent of our patients are adults. In fact, our oldest patient is seventy-eight! I am passionate about treating adult patients in my practice because I received orthodontic treatment as an adult myself.
Don’t let age be a determining factor when it comes to seeking orthodontic treatment. Time will pass anyways; the only difference is that after you have braces as an adult you will have a beautiful, healthy smile that can boost your confidence. According to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), at least 27 percent of orthodontic patients in the US and Canada are adults. When I first started my practice, roughly 15 percent of patients were adults. I’m so encouraged by this increasing trend in adults realizing the positive impact a straight smile can have on their self-esteem and confidence.
Before getting braces or Invisalign as an adult, there are a few things you should know:
- Adults are done growing — While the jaw growth of a child can still be guided to correct a severe bite or malocclusion, orthognathic surgery may be needed to correct these same issues in an adult.
- You must consider the health of your gums — Did you know that 47 percent of adults older than thirty have gum disease? That statistic jumps to 70 percent once adults reach the age of sixty-five! Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is when the bone and gums slowly deteriorate and become lost due to chronic inflammation caused by the bacteria in dental plaque and tartar. Checking with your dentist before seeking orthodontic treatment is wise to ensure you are a candidate for braces.
- Know when to get dental work — If you have lost one or more of your permanent teeth and now wear dental implants or bridges, please know that these appliances cannot be moved with braces. This does not mean that you cannot benefit from braces; your teeth will still shift into their desired position, but your implants and bridges will not. If you are considering implants or bridges, check with an orthodontist before getting them to see if you would benefit from orthodontic treatment.
When seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult, it is important to talk to your orthodontist about specific goals. If only a couple of your front teeth cross, limited treatment may be appropriate. However, if your bite is severe or you have missing teeth, comprehensive treatment will be necessary to implement a healthy smile. Use this information to help you ask the right questions and find the correct orthodontist for your adult treatment needs.