There is a common misconception that orthodontics are only for teens. But here at Orthostyle - West Vancouver, many of our patients are actually adults! Because of the nature of how our mouths age, the process will look slightly different between a younger patient and an older one. The important thing, though, is that the end result is the same: a beautiful, confident smile!
Your orthodontist will guide you through all of your specific age considerations, but here are a few general points to keep in mind:
Treatment will inevitably take longer the older a patient is. In order to understand this, we must look at the mechanics of orthodontics itself. Orthodontics is based on the process of moving teeth and bone within the mouth. As a youth, our gums and teeth are soft and malleable.
Because of this, it’s easier to shift malocclusions. As we age, our bones solidify in place, so treatments that involve adjusting tooth position will be more involved and will take more time.
It is important to note that as we age, our teeth tend to shift forward, making it very important to wear your retainer after treatment regardless of your age.
Adult patients are more likely to have conditions that are much rarer in younger patients. These could include: insufficient bone between the roots for adequate blood supply, mild gingivitis infections, and marginal bone loss.
Whereas these typically wouldn’t make orthodontic treatment impossible, it is something that needs to be taken into consideration during the planning process.
Two important risk factors during orthodontic treatment is root re-absorption and temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Adult patients do have a higher risk of both of these. Root re-absorption is when your body reabsorbs the root of a tooth, leaving the tooth without anchorage. Your temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. TMD are then disorders that can affect this joint. Your orthodontist will assess your personal risk for root re-absorption and TMD before and during your orthodontic treatment.