Adult Treatment

Adult and Older Teen Orthodontics

Over 35% of our practice is composed of adults ranging in age from 18 to 83. Why have they chosen to have their teeth straightened as adults?

The most common reasons are:

  1. Always wanted straight teeth, but parents couldn’t afford orthodontic treatment.
  2. Don’t like their smile.
  3. Their teeth are crooked and getting worse as they age. May have had braces as a teen, but have had some relapse.
  4. Their teeth are wearing.
  5. Gum problems due to crowding.
  6. TMJ (jaw joint) problems causing headaches, neck aches, etc.

There are many other reasons of course, but these are the most common. There are many misconceptions concerning orthodontics for adults. The following are typical questions asked of Dr. Rosenberg and team.

Is it true that once you are an adult, your teeth really don’t move very well?

The truth is adult teeth move as easily as a child’s. After the teeth have been placed in the best possible position, they may need to be held in position for a longer period of time. This is the purpose of the retainer, which we ask our patients to wear nights only.

Does it take longer to move teeth when you are an adult?

The answer is usually, “No!” Adult treatment can take longer when compromise treatment is chosen. An example of compromise treatment would be attempting to treat a severe skeletal problem in which the upper and lower jaws do not match, either from front to back or side to side. Because there is no growth of the jaws remaining, the orthodontist cannot move the jaws or restrain the growth of the jaws. Sometimes a combination of orthodontics and incredibly reliable surgical orthodontics, are necessary.

Is orthodontic treatment more painful for adults?

There is no more discomfort for an adult than there is for a child. After some adjustments teeth are “tender” for 2 or 3 days, and with some people, eating chewy foods is more difficult. With the new titanium wires, this tenderness has been decreased.

I have a job outside the home. Will I have to miss much work?

The answer is, “No!” Using the high-tech braces and wires, once brackets are placed, most adults can be seen every 6 to 12 weeks, and the wires continue to move teeth.

Do I have to look like a “metal mouth”?

No! Invisible braces – those that fit behind the teeth – are available for many of our patients. Additionally, clear ceramic braces are available which allow for quality treatment and no additional treatment time. These braces do not stain as do plastic braces. Invisalign® clear plastic aligners may also be a great alternative when creating beautiful smiles for late teens and adults.