We’re seeing increasing numbers of adults investing in orthodontic treatments. In fact, our recent research shows that over half of Australians feel self-conscious about their teeth, and more than two-thirds are considering treatments to improve their smile.
Why do some adults need orthodontic treatment?
There are a number of reasons why an adult might have crooked teeth or a bad bite and choose to have orthodontic treatment. Genetics is one of the main causes of common orthodontic problems such as underbites and overbites. Prolonged habits during childhood, such as biting your lips or sucking your thumb can cause the front teeth to become misaligned.
It’s also natural for our teeth to shift position as we age, lose or wear down our teeth, or if gum problems develop. Sometimes that means that adults who have had orthodontic treatment as a child and haven’t worn their retainers as instructed require further orthodontic treatment as an adult.
Who is orthodontic treatment suitable for?
Orthodontic treatment is an option for most adults with crooked teeth or uneven bites, just as it is for children and teenagers.
Some of the most common situations where orthodontic treatment might be considered in adults are:
· Crowded, crooked or misplaced teeth
· Protruding teeth
· Deep bite
· Jaws and/or facial asymmetry
· Excessive spacing between the teeth
· Realignment of the teeth prior to the placement of veneers, crowns, implants or even dentures
What orthodontic treatments are suitable for adults?
For some adults, the thought of having traditional metal braces is unappealing. Some people are concerned that wearing braces might have a negative impact on their lives, for example by making them more self-conscious at work or impacting on their social lives.
Thanks to modern technology however, orthodontic treatment is a viable option for almost any adult, with a much wider range of discreet options. The fact that one in five orthodontic patients are adults goes to show that there are plenty of suitable treatment options which can fit comfortably with your lifestyle.
An experienced specialist orthodontist can determine the most effective treatment available for your individual case.
Clear aligners (InvisalignTM)
Clear aligners, such as InvisalignTM, are one of the most popular options for adults looking to undergo orthodontic treatment.
They are transparent pieces of custom-moulded plastic that sit over the teeth and gradually shift them. Often hailed as ‘invisible braces’ because of their subtlety, they are also a removable appliance. While you usually need to wear clear aligners for 20-22 hours a day, you’re able to take them out to eat, drink and clean the aligners.
Clear aligners can be an effective, simple and comfortable form of treatment. However, they’re only suitable for people who are disciplined enough to follow instructions on how to wear and care for their clear aligners.
Just like other forms of treatment, clear aligners should be fitted by a qualified orthodontist, who is fully trained to provide you with the best result.
Braces have changed a lot over the years! Gone are the days where the only option was chunky metal braces. Modern tooth coloured or clear ceramic braces are still visible but are subtle, and advances in orthodontic technology mean that the braces are now significantly smaller and more comfortable than they were in the past.
While newer technologies such as clear aligners have given patients more choice about the type of treatment they undergo, braces remain one of the best ways to achieve dramatic results over a short amount of time.
Lingual braces function like traditional braces, but they are bonded to the back of your teeth instead of to the front. They are the only truly invisible option when it comes to orthodontic treatment – because they sit behind your teeth no one will be able to see them!
Lingual braces are usually more expensive and can take longer to fit and adjust than regular braces, but they are incredibly effective. If you’re looking for a discreet treatment option that will help you achieve a perfect smile, then lingual braces are definitely worth considering.
Straight teeth are healthy teeth
In addition to enhancing the appearance of your smile, there are plenty of other benefits to undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Patients often report psychological benefits when undergoing orthodontic treatment, often reporting a boost in their self-confidence. Furthermore, having a healthy, beautiful smile can give you assurance in your professional life as much as in your personal life, equipping you with the confidence you need for success, whether you’re in a boardroom or on a first date.
In addition to psychological benefits, having straight teeth can make them function better and easier to clean, possibly reducing the chances of tooth decay and gum problems.
In conjunction with other medical and dental specialists, an orthodontist can also help in the diagnosis and management of obstructive sleep apnoea, and jaw joint problems.
The best option is to consult your orthodontist, who will be able to assess your situation and discuss what treatment will be most appropriate for you.
Over to you
Overall, orthodontic treatment is an overwhelmingly positive investment in your future health and happiness. A confident smile has the potential to be your best and most memorable asset.
When it comes to treatment options and payment plans, your orthodontist will happily talk you through your options, answer any questions and do all they can to ensure you’re comfortable moving forward.
If you’re unsure of where to find a registered specialist orthodontist near you, check out the Find An Orthodontist tool on the ASO website.
For more information about adult orthodontic treatment options, including the cost of treatment, what you can expect from your orthodontic consultations and how to care for your braces or clear aligners, take a look at our Adult and Orthodontics e-book