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Orthodontic treatment isn’t reserved for children. According to Dentistry Today, adults account for a large percentage of orthodontic patients. A 2014 survey conducted by the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) reports that 27% of all North American orthodontic patients were adults. That number will continue to grow due to the advances in orthodontic technology and affordable treatment options.
A Beautiful Smile At Any Age
Traditionally thought of as unsightly and unattractive—think metal braces and headgear—orthodontics have come a long way in the last decade. Instead of shying away from fixing their teeth, more and more adults are opting to correct issues with their smiles. Moreover, orthodontics is quickly becoming a stable way to invest in your future. For instance, adults that have undergone orthodontic treatments like invisible aligners or even traditional braces see a surge in their self-esteem because they are no longer ashamed of smiling in public.
When Is Orthodontic Treatment Necessary?
There are many reasons someone would benefit from orthodontic treatment:
- Breathing issues: When you breathe through your mouth, especially while sleeping, it can lead to heavy snoring and sleep apnea. Orthodontic treatment can help with your breathing problems if they are caused by teeth positioning and not a deviated septum or sinus issue.
- Bite problems: Crossbite, crowding, underbite and overbite are all bite issues that can be fixed through orthodontics. For instance, if your lower front teeth stick out over your upper front teeth creating an uneven bite, braces will correct this problem.
- Extra teeth: Many people have an extra tooth that pushes the other teeth out of alignment. Orthodontics can fix this by returning the other teeth to their proper place. You will likely need to have the extra tooth pulled before you can be fitted for braces.
- Spacing: If you have a large gap between your front teeth, orthodontics can push it closed, giving you a more appealing smile.
- Accidents: If you play contact sports and have taken a hit to the face or experienced a nasty fall that saw you break your jaw, orthodontic treatment will put your mouth back in working order.
- Trouble speaking: If you have trouble speaking due to jaw alignment issues, problems with an overcrowded mouth or teeth that are too big or too small, you will benefit from an orthodontic treatment. Braces or aligners will push your teeth into their proper position, making it easier to speak.
- Thumb sucking: This is specific to children, and this bad habit can cause the upper incisor teeth to protrude while the upper jaw constricts. Children who suck their thumb after their adult teeth have come in will probably need orthodontic intervention.
- Teeth erupting out of place: Like thumb sucking, this is specific to children. When the adult teeth come in but erupt out of position, braces can guide the teeth into their proper positioning.
What Types Of Treatments Are Available?
Orthodontic treatments consist of oral appliances that are worn for a set period of time. These appliances are designed specifically for the person being treated and must be cared for regularly (i.e., brushing your teeth as you normally would).
Braces are traditionally reserved for those who have severe bite and alignment issues. Consisting of metal brackets and wires, braces come in different forms:
- Traditional braces, which are the metal braces we usually associate with orthodontics.
- Ceramic braces, which are tooth coloured and less noticeable than their metal counterpart.
- Lingual braces, which place the wires on the inside of your teeth.
Like braces, Invisalign is another common adult orthodontic treatment. Consisting of clear aligners that are fit to your mouth, the Invisalign system gradually moves your teeth into proper positioning. Each aligner is worn for two weeks, after which you will be given a new set. You have to wear your aligners for about 22 hours a day, only removing them to eat. For those with mild to moderate overcrowding and spacing issues, Invisalign can be very effective. Plus, since the aligners are clear, no one will notice that you are undergoing an orthodontic treatment unless they are inches away from your mouth.
How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?
The type of treatment you receive will dictate how long it will take. In general, orthodontic treatment can take anywhere from six months to three years. The period of time that you wear braces or aligners is called the active treatment. Upon completion of the active treatment, you will begin the retention stage. During this part of your treatment, you will be prescribed removable retainers to ensure your teeth remain in their new and proper positions. As long as you wear and clean the retainers as directed, your teeth will not go back to their improper alignment.
If you’re unsure if you require orthodontic treatment, please contact us today. At Dawson Dental, our specialists will create an orthodontic treatment plan that suits your needs and leaves you with a beautiful smile, no matter how old you are.