Orthodontics for Adults: A Popular Choice

Have you ever thought to yourself “I’m too old for braces” or thought that orthodontic treatment can be done only on children? If you have, we have great news for you: It’s never too late to straighten your teeth! Adult braces and other orthodontic treatments are becoming more and more popular, with adults making up about 25% of today’s orthodontic patients!

Drs. Berkman & Shapiro particularly enjoy working with adult patients. We recognize that adults often have different needs and goals than children. Therefore, our approach to adult treatment is comprehensive and takes health, function, and esthetics all into account.

Why should I seek treatment as an adult?
Some adult patients seek treatment for esthetic reasons. But teeth-straightening is not just about appearance – it’s about function, too. Bad bites and misaligned teeth can contribute to harmful things like tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, many of the problems associated with aging teeth (enamel wear, loss of some gums, etc.) can be best addressed with orthodontics alongside regular dentistry. You may be thinking: “But can’t I just get veneers? Why would I get braces instead?” That answer is simple. Veneers are a surface-only solution and don’t fix the underlying problem. Although veneers can make crooked teeth appear straight, they don’t actually address the body of the tooth, the root, or anything related to the bite. Orthodontics, however, straightens the tooth and the root while fixing your bite at the same time. A set of veneers are also very expensive. In many cases, they are nearly double the cost of adult orthodontic treatment. That’s why we encourage adults to come see us for an initial consultation to see what type of treatment would best suit your specific needs.

Will my adult treatment take longer?

smiling patient with braces receiving a dental exam

The time required to correct any particular orthodontic problem will depend on the severity and specifics of the problem. That being said, it may come as a surprise, but treatment time is typically shorter for adults as treatment is generally unrelated to the growth of the jaws. With adults, the focus of the treatment is directed at the teeth and the smile (instead of including the growth of the jaws as with children) and this reduces the time in treatment significantly.

How often will I need to see the orthodontist?
Regular follow-up appointments are an important part of your orthodontic treatment and should be scheduled for every four to eight weeks. Our office hours are designed with your busy schedules in mind. We know your time is valuable, and want to make sure that your experience with us is efficient. In addition to offering convenient hours during the weekdays, we also offer appointments during evenings and on weekends!

Will I feel anything?
Thanks to modern orthodontic techniques, there is typically no sharp pain of any sort during treatment. Braces and aligners are known to sometimes cause a dull ache, similar to a sore muscle after a workout.

What are the treatment options for adults?
You may be surprised to know that there’s a wide variety of orthodontic options. During your initial consultation, Dr. Berkman or Dr. Shapiro will do a thorough examination and discuss your personal situation with you. Most adults deal with one or more of these issues:

• Crowded teeth
• Crooked teeth
• Teeth that are spaced out
• Teeth sticking out of alignment
• A bad bite

We can treat these instances with a number of noninvasive techniques.

Traditional metal braces – this is a popular option for busy adults. Most patients report that they become accustomed to wearing them quickly. Made of high-quality stainless steel and tried and tested over many years, these are extremely effective for moving teeth. In addition, modern metal braces are much smoother and more comfortable than ever before!

Ceramic braces – these are a more esthetic choice than metal brackets. They come in a clear, white, or tooth-colored ceramic material but function in much the same way as traditional braces. They are an excellent option for those who would like their treatment to be a bit more discreet.

Lingual braces – these are similar to metal braces but are placed behind the teeth (by the tongue and palate), rather than in front, and therefore offer a great cosmetic alternative for those who want their teeth straightened quickly, without the braces showing.

Invisalign or Clear Aligner Therapy (CAT) – these are a popular choice because they are nearly invisible and are removable. These clear plastic trays are custom-made to fit over your teeth and gently move them into the desired positions over time. You are given a new aligner every few weeks. With this treatment choice, patients can eat and drink what they choose and continue with the same oral hygiene routine as before without the outward appearance of traditional braces.

Orthognathic and Accelerated Treatment – For a small number of adults, braces alone will not achieve the improvement desired. It might be indicated, depending on each specific case, that patients undergo surgery or certain procedures for things such as tooth removal, gingival recession, implant placement, correct positioning of the jaws, or to speed treatment time.

Young adult smiling while holding clear aligner

Will I need a retainer after treatment?
All patients, no matter what age, are given retainers to wear following treatment. There are many options for adult retainers, and oftentimes they are only to be worn at night or a few nights each week. Some retainers are even permanent and lie behind the teeth, so you don’t need to ever worry about it! Retainers are the best defense to keep your smile looking beautiful for a long time to come and protecting the investment you’ve made in yourself.

Choose Berkman+Shapiro for all your orthodontic needs
Choosing the best specialist to meet your treatment needs is much more important than your choice for any specific orthodontic appliance or technique. If you are considering improving your smile, please contact us at Berkman+Shapiro Orthodontics to set up a consultation. We’d love to meet you and talk about your needs, concerns, and review our treatment options with you. We can’t wait to help you achieve the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted, and hope to see you soon!