Adult Orthodontics: A Healthy, Beautiful Smile At Any Age

Orthodontic treatment is about a change for the better, no matter what the patient‘s age. It can give the patient the confidence and pride that comes with straight teeth and a great smile. But the orthodontist has another equally important treatment goal – to improve the health of your teeth and gums.


The fact is, when left untreated, many orthodontic problems may become worse. When you have a malocclusion (“bad bite”), your teeth may be crowded, spaced or not fit together correctly. Crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. Given time, crowding may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. Bad bites can also result in abnormal wearing of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and damage to supporting bone and gum tissue. Poor tooth alignment can contribute to pain in the jaw joints.


Today‘s technology makes people wearing braces feel better about how they look. Metal brackets are much smaller than they used to be. Even less noticeable are braces made of ceramic or plastic. And lingual braces (braces that go behind your teeth) may be appropriate in some cases. The recent development of clear plastic tray aligners (e.g. Invisalign) has given the orthodontist another option that may be appropriate for certain patients. But no matter what type of braces, or which technique is used, the patient will need to make a few adjustments to treatment. Chewing ice and certain treats, such as caramels and peanut brittle, will be off-limits. Also their mouth and teeth may be a little tender after adjustments. And, of course, it is especially important that the patient visits their family dentist for regular check-ups.

A consultation with an orthodontist is the best way to determine if a patient can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Remember, the biological process involved in tooth movement is the same in both adults and children. The condition of the patient‘s teeth, gums and supporting bone is the most important factor in determining the potential for improving a patient‘s smile and dental health. After an initial examination the orthodontist will be able to tell the patient what their treatment will likely involve and its approximate cost. If they decide to proceed the nextstep involves making diagnostic records. These often include impressions for study casts, special x-rays and photographs.

Every person‘s malocclusion is different. After carefully analyzing the nature of the needed correction, the orthodontist will recommend the best course of treatment for improving their smile and oral health. The cost of orthodontic treatment will depend on many factors, including the severity of the problem, its complexity and length of treatment. The orthodontist will be glad to discuss the cost with patients before the treatment begins.

Patients are finding that braces are more affordable today than ever. Most orthodontists have a variety of convenient payment plans. Often there are combined plans available for parents and children who have treatment at the same time. In addition, many dental insurance plans now include orthodontic benefits.


 Article Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists