When people hear the word “orthodontics,” they tend to all conjure the same image in their mind: a school-aged child with a mouthful of metal braces. Orthodontic treatment is often recommended for children because their teeth and mouths can be easily adjusted while they are still growing, but it’s actually possible to correct crooked, crowded, and gapped teeth at any age. About 25% of all orthodontic patients in the U.S. are 18 or older, and this includes many people who are 40+! If you’ve always wanted beautifully straight teeth, read on to learn how adult braces in Powell can help.
Yes, You Can Straighten Your Teeth After 40
Braces, Invisalign, and every other orthodontic treatment works using the same basic principle: a small amount of force is applied to the teeth, which encourages them to move to new positions, and the bone supporting them gradually remodels to make this happen as well. With children, the bones of their mouth, jaw, and face are not fully formed yet, so applying orthodontics can easily direct their dental development to correct any alignment issues.
However, orthodontics still works even if a patient is fully grown. The process may take a little longer because the teeth and bone are more set, but ultimately, they can move, and an adult patient can end up with perfectly straight teeth.
The Difference Between Child & Adult Orthodontics
In addition to adult orthodontics taking a little more time as we touched on above, it’s also common for adults to have ongoing dental problems that need to be addressed before their teeth can be straightened. Issues like cavities, gum disease, and missing teeth all need to be taken care of so an orthodontist can provide effective and comfortable treatment.
Potential bone loss is also a concern for adult orthodontics. Gum disease is very common among U.S. adults (particularly those over 40), which can weaken the bone that supports the teeth. An orthodontist will closely monitor an adult patient to make sure their jawbone remains in good shape throughout the process, and many patients are recommended to see a periodontist (gum and jawbone specialist) at some point in their treatment. This extra precaution ensures that a patient’s smile will have a strong and healthy foundation so their results will last for decades to come.
When it comes to fixing misaligned teeth, adults have plenty of options to choose from, including traditional braces, image-friendly Invisalign, and more. However, when it comes to severe bite problems, like a pronounced overbite, underbite, or crossbite, surgery may be the only option. That’s because unlike a child, an adult’s bone growth can’t be redirected by treatment. When you go to see your orthodontist for a consultation, they will let you know if surgery is the best way to correct a specific issue, and then they can walk you through the process of finding a doctor and getting the procedure you need to achieve the result you desire.
In today’s world, absolutely anyone can have straight teeth, whether they are young or just young at heart! If you’re approaching 40, or even if it’s in your rearview mirror, don’t hesitate to contact an orthodontist if you’d like to enhance your smile—the treatment experience will likely be much easier and more rewarding than you think!
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is an award-winning, board-certified orthodontist who has helped patients of all ages achieve and maintain stunning smiles! If you’re an adult who has always wanted to straighten your teeth, it’s not too late. He and our team can answer all your questions and go over your treatment options at a FREE in-person consultation, which you can schedule online by filling out our form here.