Teenagers are traditionally the candidates for orthodontic treatment. In the last 10 years, adult braces have been trending with more treatment options like clear braces, lingual braces or Invisalign.
More adults are seeking orthodontic treatment to avoid bone loss, to fix their crooked teeth, or to prevent tooth decays and collectively to improve their oral health.
Kids vs adult orthodontics
Adult orthodontics is different from kids orthodontics.
Teeth move easier in kids and teens. Orthodontic treatment plans are also different for kids and teens since kids are growing. For example, orthodontists use an expander in kids to separate the two bones in the upper jaw. This is not possible in adults because the two pieces of bone are fused.
Aesthetic, treatment time, cost are the most important factors in adult orthodontics. Clear aligners, lingual braces, or even ceramic braces are orthodontic appliances that are offering various types of braces to adult orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic treatment in adults ranges from correcting limited issues to comprehensive care. Old restorative dentistry like crown and bridges or gum issues such as recession needs to be factored in when treating adult patients.
Adult orthodontists often provide you with interdisciplinary care where you work with more than your orthodontist to straighten your teeth with braces or aligners. Another common treatment in adult patients is corrective jaw surgery. An orthodontist and an oral surgeon work together to come with a plan to fix severe issues with jaws alignment. The treatment starts with aligners or braces for a period of 10-14 months. The surgery is the next step and the orthodontist finishes the care with aligners or braces.
Orthodontic treatment for adults
Never too late to get a straight smile whether you like invisible braces or traditional metal braces. Adult patients can easily have a beautiful smile that boosts their self-confidence as well as improving their oral hygiene.
For adults it is not only about straight teeth, correcting malocclusion helps with avoiding gum disease which increases the lifetime of one’s teeth. Some adults seek orthodontic treatment to address their TMJ problems aka TMD. There is no scientific information supporting that orthodontic treatment corrects jaw joint problems.
Post orthodontic care
Retainers after orthodontic treatment are an essential part of adult orthodontics. Retainers overall divide into two classes: removable or fixed retainers.
Fixed retainers are glues on the inside of your front upper or lower teeth. The challenges with fixed retainers are (i) hard to clean between the teeth, (ii) likely to break, (III) can bend and move teeth.
Cost of adult orthodontics
Cost of orthodontic treatment for adult patients is often higher than kids and teens. Most orthodontic clinics offer payment plans to help their patients achieve beautiful smiles. Other costs associated with orthodontic treatment in adults is the cost of other procedures that you have to do before or after orthodontic treatment. Sometimes you need to fix cavities or broken teeth to have all healthy teeth before you can start adult braces or aligners. Some orthodontic patients need to see a gum specialist to get their gum disease under control before they can start their treatment. These procedures often add extra cost to the overall care.
How to choose an adult orthodontist
To find an orthodontist for adult treatment, you can start with your local orthodontists. You can look up the doctor directory on the American association of orthodontists. You can also ask your general dentist to see if they know an orthodontist that you can work with. Consult with a few different orthodontists to get 2-3 different treatment plans. Decide if you like metal brackets or looking for more aesthetic orthodontic treatment options. Learn more about the insurance coverage.
There are a few important questions that you can ask in your first consultation appointment from your orthodontist:
1) Do you treat adult patients?
2) Do I have more than one treatment option?
3) How long will my treatment take?
4) Does the clinic offer payment plans and accept my dental insurance?