Orthodontic Treatment for Adults
Braces are not just for kids anymore! According to the October 5, 2015 edition of the Wall Street Journal (http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-more-adults-are-getting-braces-1444066342) the number of adults undergoing orthodontic treatment is up 39% since 1996. Currently, Smith and Weeks Orthodontic Specialists’ patient population is about 35% adults with patients as old as 85 years of age. As long as the gums and the bone that support the teeth are healthy, treatment can be rendered and a wonderful new smile can take shape at any age. It is never to late to improve
Why Orthodontics? Why now?
The last thing adults want to be confronted with is wearing braces for an extended period of time. But for many potential patients the pros of dramatically improving your oral health, biting function, personal appearance, and self-esteem far out way the cons of undergoing treatment.
Orthodontics is more than just straight teeth. Gum disease, tooth decay and wear, jaw joint pain, and even headaches may be reduced or eliminated with orthodontic therapy.
Recent technological advances have dramatically decreased conventional treatment times, require fewer treatment visits, and lessen the discomfort of treatment to the patient. Traditional options for orthodontic movement include metal braces, clear braces, and clear aligners (Invisalign). However exciting and new techniques have been developed by both Dr. Weeks and Dr. Smith that may allow patients to undergo certain tooth movements with minimal or no braces!
Major differences between adult and children’s orthodontics
There are two main differences between adults and children. The first is that children are still in a growth and development stage of their lives, while adults have ceased growing and are now aging. In a growing patient, an orthodontist is able to affect the teeth (orthodontic change), as well as modify and guide bone growth (orthopedic change). For children, the combination of orthodontic and orthopedic change allows significant issues to be treated without a compromise the final result. For adults however, without the aide of growth, ideal results may not be achievable unless surgery is utilized in combination with orthodontic treatment.
The second major difference is that adult patients have undergone many more years of life than children, and the wear and tare of life can sometimes adversely affect the oral environment and complicate orthodontic care. Examples of complications include:
– Worn or Missing teeth
– Crown or Bridgework of the teeth
– Gingival recession
– Bone Loss
In those cases that are deemed complicated, Smith & Weeks Orthodontic Specialists will help to assemble a team of experts and specialists that will consult, educate, and ultimately treat a patient in concert with their orthodontic care.