Did You Know 1 in 4 Orthodontic Patients is an Adult?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), roughly one in four orthodontic patients is an adult. After all, misaligned teeth aren’t just a problem for children. Adults that neglect this aspect of their dental health may experience various other issues like tooth decay, gum disease and chewing issues. The point is adults often require orthodontic treatment too.

Maybe you didn’t get braces as a kid or your teeth have shifted as an adult, regardless, you’re never too old for braces. Straight teeth are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they are easier to keep clean and maintain a healthy mouth. Orthodontic treatment can also correct your bite by lessening the improper forces on the teeth and improve the chances of keeping your teeth long-term.

Common Adult Orthodontic Problems

Just like with children and teens, adults can have issues with:

  • Spacing: Gaps between teeth that create extra-large spaces between teeth.
  • Crowding: Teeth push against each other and throw off the alignment.
  • Underbites:  The lower front teeth protrude in front of the upper front teeth.
  • Overbites: The vertical overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower teeth.
  • Openbites: The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting down.
  • Crossbites: The top teeth fit inside of the bottom teeth.
  • Overjets: The horizontal protrusion of the upper teeth in front of the lower teeth.

You can learn more about these orthodontic problems here, but it’s important to note that when your teeth and jaw aren’t aligned properly, it can result in abnormal wear of your tooth surfaces.

Adult vs. Children Orthodontics

The orthodontic treatment process for adults and children is relatively the same. The biggest difference is that adults are no longer growing and have greater bone density and maturity than children. In some situations that means that treatment times can be longer but that isn’t a rule. Adult teeth still move in response to force over time and treatment length will depend upon how your teeth respond to treatment. Smoking, teeth clenching and grinding as well as certain medications may also affect the outcome of treatment.

Treatment Options for Adults

Much like children, there are a variety of orthodontic treatment options for adults. Your treatment plan will be set by your orthodontist and will consider your overall dental health, objectives and treatment needs. The most common treatments include:

  • Traditional Metal Braces
  • Clear Braces (Clear or Tooth Colored)
  • Ceramic Braces
  • Invisalign Clear Aligners

Adults can have the same kinds of orthodontic problems that children have, and it is never too late to improve the appearance and health of your smile with orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will be able to help you decide which treatment option is right for you and your lifestyle. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.