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Am I Too Old For Orthodontic Treatment?

For years, orthodontics has been linked mainly to teens in braces, but the truth is, braces and aligners can benefit patients of all ages, including adults! In fact, more adults than ever are exploring how orthodontic treatment can transform their smiles. About 1 in 3 current orthodontic patients are over the age of 18, a number that’s grown even in the last few years.

As a St. Charles County orthodontist, Dr. Humphrey has seen this surge firsthand and is always excited to help adult patients achieve the healthy smile they’ve always wanted. Let’s take a look at some of the questions we hear most often about adult orthodontics here at our practice to help you better understand the benefits!

Why are more adults choosing orthodontic treatment?

All of us have our own personal reasons for choosing the things we do, including orthodontic treatment. Many adults are looking to improve their smile because they’ve gained a better understanding of how our oral health is related to total body health as we get older. This can encourage us to seek out dental or orthodontic care in order to keep our teeth in tip-top shape!

We also see a number of adult patients who received orthodontic treatment earlier in life that was never completed and they want to finish the process. Touch-up treatment is common for older patients, too. This comes into play because our teeth develop wear and tear from years of biting and chewing, leaving them with a little extra wiggle room. Our bone density also decreases as we get older, which can cause the teeth to shift.

There are other reasons the teeth can shift, as well, including genetics and improper retainer use. This can happen even if treatment is completed when a patient is younger, and that’s where touch-up treatment comes in! If you’re experiencing this kind of shifting, Dr. Humphrey has several options for treating it. He may choose to do nothing more than monitor your teeth over time, provide you with new retainers, or redo treatment using braces or aligners depending on the severity of your issues.

There are also a number of adult patients out there who have never had any treatment before, but are finally ready to improve the cosmetic appearance of their smile! This is an excellent choice, since studies have shown that straighter teeth can boost a patient’s confidence and have a positive impact on their life. Whatever your reason for exploring orthodontic treatment, we have a number of options available to you!

Can you be too old for braces or aligners?

You’re never too old to transform your smile with orthodontic treatment! There is some benefit to getting braces or aligners while you’re young and your mouth is still growing, but the teeth can be moved efficiently at any age as long as the gums and supporting bone are healthy. In more severe cases involving a significant skeletal issue, surgery may be required before an orthodontic appliance can be used to straighten the teeth. However, most adults will be able to achieve exceptional outcomes and improvements using braces or aligners.

What treatment options are available for adult patients?

Even though many adults are on the fence about metal braces, modern technology has made them smaller, more streamlined, and more attractive than ever before! They are the most popular treatment option and can be a great option for adult patients, especially for cases that are more complex or severe. If you’re really not feeling them, though, adults are usually the perfect candidates for esthetic treatments like clear braces and Invisalign clear aligners!

Clear braces, also known as ceramic braces, are made of a translucent material that blends in with your natural smile. Adult patients love them because they offer the straightening power of metal braces with an under-the-radar look! They are especially inconspicuous when paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics. The clear brackets can stain, however, so good oral hygiene is essential with them. With a solid dental hygiene routine, clear braces can help you achieve a beautiful smile without the visibility of metal braces.

If you don’t love the idea of straightening your teeth with braces, you may be able to skip them altogether and opt for Invisalign clear aligners instead! The Invisalign system is our most popular alternative to traditional braces, and uses a series of clear removable aligners instead of brackets and wires. As a certified Gold Invisalign provider, Dr. Humphrey is an expert in utilizing Invisalign to provide the most effective treatment for superior results!

When you visit Humphrey Orthodontics for your FREE consultation, Dr. Humphrey will walk you through the pros and cons of each orthodontic option and help you decide which one would be the best fit for your unique smile.

What are the benefits of adult orthodontic treatment?

The cosmetic benefits of adult orthodontics shouldn’t be overlooked. The confidence a healthy smile will give you can improve many areas of your life! To confirm this, a study of adult orthodontic patients showed that over 90% felt straightening their teeth had boosted their self-esteem while almost 80% said that achieving an aligned smile had given them the confidence to do something they wouldn’t have done without treatment.  Everyone deserves a smile they can be proud of!

Appearances aside, there are also functional and oral health benefits to orthodontic  treatment, including:

  • Reducing the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease

  • Better total body health

  • Improved function of your teeth and jaw

  • Reducing or eliminating pain or pressure in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

  • Reducing uneven wear and tear

  • Decreasing the risk of oral injury

How long will adult orthodontic treatment take?

One of the biggest concerns adults have about braces and aligners is how long treatment will take. Fortunately, both have seen major improvements in materials and engineering in recent years. With our cutting-edge technology, we are able to create extremely precise treatment plans to help patients achieve the results they want without lengthy treatment times.

Because every smile has unique needs, there’s no “one size fits all” answer for how long treatment will take. However, the average treatment time tends to be anywhere from 12-30 months with both braces and Invisalign. Since adults are often more compliant with recommendations and care for their appliance as directed, they can sometimes finish treatment even sooner than planned!

Get the smile you deserve from Humphrey Orthodontics

Whether you’re considering treatment for the first time or revisiting it in adulthood, you’re never too old to improve your oral health and achieve a healthier, happier smile! If you’re in St. Charles County or the surrounding areas, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Humphrey in our St. Peters or Wentzville offices. There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards the smile you’ve always dreamed of!