Often, adults feel that they’ve missed the best opportunity to get the smile they’ve always wanted. Corrective orthodontic treatments are often thought of as appropriate for children and teenagers only, but this is simply not the case. While it is true that adolescence is a prime time for braces and aligners, it’s also true that adult orthodontic treatments are extremely effective in correcting crooked teeth, overbites, and all manner of other oral problems in adults. There’s just no age limit on orthodontics.
At Craig & Streight, we treat patients of all ages with personalized solutions that can be built to fit any given situation. Because of this, we hear from many adult patients about why they’re now deciding to seek treatment, as well as some of their fears about being an adult with braces. Let’s go over this information in some detail before discussing the many treatment options available.
Why Seek Treatment?
To begin, you should know that having questions and concerns about the way your smile looks is a good reason to visit an orthodontist for a consultation. Discussing your situation with a professional is never a bad idea, as this can reveal problems that you may not have been aware of previously. At the very least, you can walk away assured by a clean bill of health.
Changes During Adulthood
A common misconception about teeth is that they stop developing and shifting around the end of adolescence. This time is hugely important for the way your mouth will evolve in the long run, but it’s not the only factor affecting your adult smile. Regularly applied exterior forces, injuries, and some natural factors can lead to post-adolescence changes in the mouth. These effects can lead to jaw pain, misalignment, and severe bites.
There’s No Better Time Than Right Now
There are many reasons a patient might not have had orthodontic treatment sooner. Maybe they couldn’t or didn’t want to see an orthodontist during childhood, or maybe their oral issues are only now presenting themselves. Perhaps the reasons for seeking treatment now are aesthetic in nature, or maybe they’ve been referred by a dentist in the interest of oral health. Misaligned teeth and bad bites can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if you aren’t careful. Nobody wants those health problems, and orthodontic treatment can help prevent them.
What Are the Concerns?
For a few reasons, adult orthodontic treatment needs to be approached differently than adolescent treatment. The landscape of the mouth is just different. This means that some extra considerations need to be made that might not when treating children and teenagers.
If a patient has previously had a tooth extracted, it can be difficult to shift teeth into that area with an appliance. While this isn’t an obstacle for most patient, it can certainly be for others. In these cases, we can use a small, custom made piece of prosthetic bone to guide the teeth where they need to be.
As an adult, your bones have had more time to develop. This means that your bones are harder and teeth have a more difficult time shifting with treatment. Orthodontic solutions can sometimes take longer than they would in younger people, but this isn’t always the case. Treatment times will vary from person to person, and your orthodontist will be able to tell you more about your unique situation.
For patients of any age, pain can be a concern when it comes to braces and aligners. Luckily, modern orthodontic techniques make pain very rare during treatment. You can expect a bit of soreness for a few days after treatment begins, but not much else as long as you keep up with proper maintenance.
Perhaps the most common concern among adults considering orthodontic treatment is that of aesthetics. For many, traditional braces just aren’t very appealing. While they’re an effective and cost-efficient option, there are certainly more discreet alternatives in most cases.
Treatment Options for Adults
There are many options available for adults when it comes to orthodontic treatment, and it all starts with an initial consultation. During this hour, your orthodontist will perform a thorough examination and discuss your situation with you. Most adults deal with one or more of these problems:
- Crowded teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Gapped teeth
- A bad bite
At Craig & Streight, we treat these cases with a few noninvasive techniques.
More comfortable, effective, and sanitary than ever, conventional metal braces can often be one of the best options for busy adult patients. We find that most patients get used to wearing the brackets and wires surprisingly quickly. If you take the proper care of your appliance, they’ll be off in no time, and you’ll be left with a beautiful, straight smile.
Many people don’t realize that braces with clear or tooth-colored brackets are an option, but they certainly are! These ceramic braces work almost the same as traditional metal braces, but they’re a bit more discreet. For patients with these clear braces, it’s important to be careful about chewing sticky or tacky foods as they are slightly more sensitive than their stainless steel counterparts.
Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible and completely removable. For many adult patients, this is a huge advantage over other options. It allows them to eat and drink whatever they’d like, without the worry of having food particles get stuck in their braces.
The Invisalign system consists of a series of custom-made thermoplastic tray aligners that the patient will replace every two weeks on average. Gradually, these BPA-free aligners guide the teeth into alignment. The treatment can consist of anywhere from 12 to 48 trays, but the most cases trend towards the shorter end of the spectrum. The only way to get a real estimate of the length of your Invisalign treatment plan is to consult your orthodontist.
How Do We Get Started?
The only real place to begin when it comes to orthodontics is the initial consultation. Craig & Streight has Oklahoma offices conveniently located in South Oklahoma City, Norman, and Mustang to make this process as easy as possible. To get started, visit us here. We hope to see you in the office soon to talk about your needs, concerns, and possible treatment plans.