Orthodontics For Adults

Sep 18, 2023

When people hear the word braces they typically conjure up a vision of a teenager plastered with metal wires and brackets for a duration no shorter than two or three years. While throughout the late 70s, 80s, and early 90s, metal wires and brackets were the poster child for orthodontic treatment, modern technology, and innovation have created products that support faster, more comfortable, and more efficient treatment products to deliver the same, beautiful, functional, and healthy results. Given these amazing advances in treatment, it’s no wonder more and more adults are opting in on a beautiful, new smile through the power of Adult orthodontics.

Adults Can Have Braces, Too?

Yes! At Daia Orthodontics & TMJ Orthopedics, about 30% of our patients are adults–in fact, our oldest patient to record just turned 88 last year. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait that long to get the smile of your dreams; as long as your teeth are healthy, orthodontic treatment is possible! The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children get evaluated by an orthodontist by age seven to monitor and evaluate the eruption of adult teeth and ensure the jaws are developing correctly. Still, a board-certified orthodontist like Dr. Daia is an expert at moving teeth, at any age, to deliver you a new, functional bite.

Why Would Someone Want Orthodontic Treatment Later in Life?

Confidence Boost

Many of our adult patients cite a major boost in confidence when they complete their ortho treatment after living a life behind a smile they’d rather hide than flaunt. After all, feeling good about your smile means you’re likely to share it more often. Our face, and thus, our smile, is one of our first introductions in both our professional and personal lives. Studies show that individuals who smile more are often viewed more positively by their peers and report physically and mentally feeling better about themselves.

Prepare For Your Big Day

Many patients receive orthodontic treatment to prepare for their big day. Weddings are a blissful event meant to celebrate you and your future spouse. The last thing you should have to worry about is hiding your smile. Having the confidence to smile freely on such an important day makes for a more memorable experience that you will look back on later in life, and stages the next chapter of your life for better overall health and wellness.

Health Conditions

In addition to creating an aesthetically beautiful smile, orthodontic treatment can correct a variety of related post-traumatic, developmental, or congenital issues such as orofacial pain disorders like temporomandibular disorder (TMD), neuropathic and neurovascular pain disorders, headaches, and sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Additionally, correcting crowded teeth or other malocclusions (bad bite) can prevent tooth decay and gum disease. When teeth become crowded, brushing and flossing between them is increasingly difficult, making those hard-to-reach places a hotbed for bacteria from your lunch to create cavities, bad odors, and gum disease.

Teeth Have Shifted Since the Last Treatment

Some patients receive adult orthodontics because their teeth have shifted since completing treatment earlier in life. As we age, our teeth naturally move back into their original orientation, which is why orthodontists use retainers to “retain” or maintain your teeth’s new placement after your braces are removed. Most orthodontists require patients to wear their custom retainers 24/7 for 6 months to a year after treatment, then continue to wear them at night for the rest of their lives. Patients who experienced a lapse in consistent retainer wear could possibly require additional treatment to get their smile back in line. For more information on how to keep your new smile in place, read our article on the importance of wearing your retainers.

Improved Speech

Speech is directly affected by the shape of your mouth so it’s no surprise that malocclusions (bad bites) like underbites, overbites, and crossbites can make pronouncing certain sounds difficult. Improving the orientation of the teeth can allow your tongue to work more effectively at producing speech, and improve communication.

Didn’t Get Orthodontic Treatment As a Child

As previously mentioned, the AAO recommends that children have their first orthodontic evaluation at age seven, but factors like finances or access to treatment and information may have prevented them from receiving the care they really need. Now, with information more available than ever before, adult patients are finally able to get themselves the treatment and smile they’ve always wanted.

Technology and Financing Are Better

Improvements in technology have created faster and more predictable treatment outcomes which translates to lower costs associated with treatment!

Products Perfect for Adult Orthodontics

There are many products on the market that help make orthodontics possible for our older patients. Let’s look at a few tools Dr. Daia is using to deliver the fastest, most efficient treatment possible.

Woman putting in clear aligner

Clear Aligners Like Invisalign, Spark, or Custom Aligner Therapy

The first clear aligner system in orthodontics hit the market back in the late 90s when Invisalign introduced its smart track technology. For the first time, patients could achieve a new smile while wearing nearly invisible clear retainers that delivered the same results as traditional metal braces. The system works by using a series of custom aligners made from a 3D scanned model of the teeth and integrated AI technology. Patients change out their aligners every week and wear them for approximately 22 hours a day (only taken out when eating, drinking, or brushing and flossing). Nowadays, there are a variety of clear aligner systems available to choose from to meet every patient’s unique lifestyle.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces consist of a series of wires and brackets placed on the inside of the teeth (which dental professionals refer to as the lingual surface of the tooth). Lingual braces are a fantastic solution for adult patients who want a discrete treatment option, but may not be a candidate for clear aligner therapies like Invisalign or Spark. During your initial consultation, Dr. Daia will assess if lingual braces are the right treatment option for you.

Ceramic braces on plastic set of teeth

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces provide the same effective, reliable technology as metal braces, but instead of using medical grade stainless steel, ceramic braces use a polycrystalline alumina that can either be clear or the same color as your tooth. Similarly, the metal archwires used can be made in a silver, white, or frosted material. The overall effect is a nearly invisible system made for discrete treatment.

Up close shot of a Damon Bracket used on braces

Self-ligating Brackets

Self-ligating brackets are not necessarily new in the orthodontic field, but orthodontists are increasingly turning to them as the technology continues to improve. Traditional brackets have a wing-like shape in which a metal archwire is fitted and secured with an elastic band or “tie.” Self-ligating brackets use a metal door built into the bracket to secure the archwire, which in turn allows the wire to move more freely as the teeth begin to shift. This makes for fewer adjustment appointments, which saves you time on office visits, and is more effective at delivering orthodontic results faster. At Daia Orthodontics & TMJ Orthopedics, we use the Damon Ultima self-ligating bracket, which allows Dr. Daia precise control over orthodontic movement and is reportedly more comfortable for patients receiving treatment.

Maxillary Skeletal Expander on a set of plastic teeth

Maxillary Skeletal Expander (MSE)

The maxillary skeletal expander (MSE) is an expander designed to help patients with fully-formed jaw bone and palatal bone (the bone making up the roof of your mouth). Expanders are typically used in younger patients during development to correct potential growth issues in the jaws and ensure there is enough room in each arch to accommodate the erupting adult teeth. Previously, adults undergoing complicated orthodontic treatment in need of expansion would require jaw surgery, whereby the treating orthodontist works closely with an oral surgeon to expand the jaws and align the teeth. Though this process delivers amazing results, it is costly and requires quite a bit of downtime. The maxillary skeletal expander is specifically designed to expand fully formed bone, meaning patients who were unable to receive treatment when they were younger are now able to correct their arches and jaw deficiencies in under a year and without having jaw surgery, making achieving your beautiful new, functional bite that much easier.

Accelerated Orthodontics

Accelerated orthodontics is a blanket phrase that refers to the many treatment methods orthodontic providers use to speed up treatment time, making it an amazing tool for adult patients looking for fast results. Companies like Propel have created a hand-held device made to be worn once a day for 20 minutes that uses high-frequency vibrations (HFV) to ensure your orthodontic appliances are fitting correctly, which drastically increases the efficacy of your brackets, archwires, or clear aligners. Smile Sonica elicits the power of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound therapy (LIPUS) to specifically target your body’s cells responsible for bone remodeling, stimulating the bone tissue to work faster and thus providing quicker results. For more information on accelerated orthodontics, check our article here!

What value can be placed on a beautiful, functional, healthy smile? Here at Daia Orthodontics & TMJ Orthopedics, we are passionate about changing lives through the power of orthodontic expertise and exemplary service. To see how you can start your journey to a new you, contact us through our website or call our office at (248) 652-1244 to set up your complimentary consultation today!

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