Here at Nordberg Orthodontics, we hear from many adults who worry that the chance to achieve a straighter smile has passed them by. Orthodontics is often associated with tweens and teens, but the reality is that patients of any age can benefit from braces and aligners! More adults than ever are realizing that, however, with over 20% of current orthodontic patients over the age of 18. If you’ve spent a lifetime feeling uncomfortable with the way your teeth look and feel, there’s never been a better time to explore how orthodontics can transform your smile! Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of adult orthodontic treatment, and how it can help you achieve the healthy, happy smile you deserve.
How does orthodontic treatment work for adults?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends every child have their first orthodontic evaluation by the time they’re 7 years of age. There’s a good reason for that! Treatment that is initiated when a patient is younger will benefit from the fact that their mouth is still growing and developing. Unfortunately, not every child or teen has access to orthodontic care in these crucial years.
Additionally, our teeth tend to naturally drift as we get older. This mainly due to age and genetics, but can also happen if an adult has had treatment in childhood but neglected to continue wearing their retainer once their braces came off. Fortunately, the process to move teeth into the ideal positions is the same whether you’re 8 or 80! It can be a little trickier as an adult since your bones are no longer growing and the jaws have hardened in place, but we can still successfully achieve a beautiful smile using braces or aligners whatever your age.
What are the benefits of adult orthodontic treatment?
Aside from the obvious cosmetic benefit of orthodontic treatment, correcting orthodontic issues can also greatly improve your oral health! Crooked or crowded teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss effectively, which increases the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental health problems. Misalignment can cause excess wear and tear on the teeth and enamel, leading to headaches, jaw aches, and pain in the face and neck. Orthodontic treatment can reduce or eliminate these symptoms, leaving you with a smile that not only looks good but feels good, too!
Taking care of orthodontic issues decreases the likelihood of serious oral health problems in the future, which can mean major financial savings! This can help adults embrace treatment as the long-term investment in wellness it truly is. Besides improving their overall oral health, braces and aligners can also help patients overcome or avoid frustrating problems like teeth grinding.
Dental health aside, orthodontics can give your self-confidence a big boost! Numerous studies have shown that a healthy smile can increase self-esteem and project an impressive first impression. Invisalign actually conducted a study on this, and found that people with healthier, straighter smiles were much more confident than those who had crooked or crowded teeth. Those patients felt about 60% happier, more attractive, and more successful than they did before treatment, and the amazing thing is that other people picked up on that as well.
Although we’re all told not to judge a book by its cover as kids, we still tend to do it, especially where smiles are concerned. This is the first feature we notice when we meet someone and the one we’re most likely to remember later on. We form a picture of a person based on the first few minutes after saying hello, and those with an attractive smile are often perceived to be successful, popular, and trustworthy. As you can see, the benefits of braces and aligners are nearly endless when you really think about them!
What treatment options are available for adults?
One reason we’re seeing more adults seeking orthodontic treatment is because there are so many options available now! Patients who are uncomfortable with the idea of traditional metal braces have designs and styles to choose from that are far less obvious. At Nordberg Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer the following treatments to our adult patients.
Traditional metal braces are usually what people picture when they think of orthodontics. However, today’s braces look nothing like their predecessors! The brackets are much smaller and no longer wrap around the entire tooth. Thinner archwires are used to move the teeth with more comfort and speed. You can even put a pop of personality into your treatment journey by choosing fun colors for your elastic bands! Metal braces are usually the most economical treatment option and are ideal for patients who have more serious or complex cases.
Clear braces are the same shape and size as metal braces but use clear or tooth-colored brackets to blend in better with your natural smile. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics, they provide a very subtle way to straighten your teeth! While the ceramic brackets are durable, they are more prone to breakage than metal brackets. For this reason, we usually only recommend them for our teen and adult patients. Clear braces can be an excellent option for adults who want the benefits of traditional metal braces without the visibility!
Invisalign clear aligner system
Instead of brackets and wires, Invisalign uses a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth. These are made from a special thermoplastic resin and customized to fit over your teeth firmly but comfortably. Because they’re removable, they provide adult patients with a bit more freedom and flexibility than braces, and allow you to brush, floss, and eat as you normally would. Invisalign works best for mild to moderate cases of the most common orthodontic issues and can be just as effective as braces when worn as directed.
Give your smile some TLC with expert care from Nordberg Orthodontics
You’re never too old to take advantage of all the benefits orthodontics has to offer! Whatever your age, Dr. Nordberg and our talented team can help you achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re in the Puyallup area and want to learn more about how orthodontics can improve your oral health and transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Nordberg!