Have you spent a lifetime feeling self-conscious about the way your teeth look? Has it become increasingly difficult over the years to keep your smile as healthy as it should be? If you’d like to improve your oral health but aren’t sure where to begin, our expert Innovative Orthodontics team is here to help! There’s no age limit on achieving a healthier smile, and it’s never too late to explore all the benefits of orthodontic treatment. Let’s take a look at everything orthodontics entails with this guide to adult orthodontic treatment!
Although teens are most often associated with orthodontics, the number of adults looking to straighten their smiles has skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, about 25% of current orthodontic patients are over the age of 18! Here at Innovative Orthodontics, we believe patients of all ages deserve a beautiful smile. Yet every day, we hear from adults who are afraid that the chance to transform their teeth has passed them by. The good news is, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Why are more adults seeking orthodontic care?
It can be easy to underestimate the importance of oral hygiene when we’re younger. Many teens and young adults think a quick brush and occasional floss are enough to keep their smile in good shape—they don’t realize the many ways our oral health and overall health are connected. As we get older we tend to gain a deeper understanding of this link. That knowledge often results in a desire to take better care of our teeth and gums! This may include seeking out specialized dental care or orthodontic treatment.
Some adults we speak to received orthodontic treatment earlier in life but didn’t complete the process. Others may have finished their treatment but didn’t wear their retainers as directed afterward, causing their teeth to shift back to their original positions. This may require touch-up treatment or even a complete redo for the best results.
Other adults are just excited for the opportunity to improve their smiles! Orthodontic treatment as an adult can give patients the straight smile they’ve always wanted, which often results in a big boost of self-confidence. This can have a positive effect on them personally, socially, and professionally.
What is the basic idea of orthodontics?
If you look at general dentistry as an umbrella, orthodontics is a specialty underneath it. Orthodontists like Dr. Waters and Dr. Clayton can diagnose and treat a wide variety of dental and facial abnormalities. When orthodontic issues are left untreated over time, they will almost always worsen. Unfortunately, this can result in a range of problems, including extra wear and tear to the surface of your teeth and excess stress on the gum tissue and bone. Misaligned teeth are also more challenging to keep clean, increasing the risk for cavities and tooth decay.
Orthodontists spend years learning how to identify and correct bite abnormalities. This education and experience allow them to straighten teeth, correct misalignments, and improve the overall function of a patient’s smile with ease! When you choose Innovative Orthodontics, you’ll receive the compassionate care and specialized attention your smile needs to thrive.
What treatment options are available for adult patients?
Cutting-edge technology and innovative techniques have made it easier than ever to achieve a total smile makeover! These include:
Traditional metal braces are the most widely used orthodontic appliance for a reason—they have a proven track record of successfully correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues.
Though they’ve been around for a long time now, braces have seen some serious upgrades in recent years. They’re far more comfortable, effective, and aesthetically pleasing than previous designs were! Metal braces are one of our most cost-efficient options and can be particularly useful in cases that are complex or severe.
Sometimes called ceramic braces, these function in the same way metal braces do but come with the added benefit of clear brackets. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored bands, they’re an incredibly subtle way to straighten the teeth!
Because they are far less visible than their metal counterparts, clear braces are popular with image-conscious teens and adults. The ceramic brackets are slightly larger and a bit more brittle than the metal ones, so we tend to use them on the upper front teeth more often than the lower teeth.
Invisalign clear aligners
Invisalign is the clear aligner system that started it all. Instead of brackets and wires, Invisalign uses a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth over time. These aligners give patients an extra measure of freedom and flexibility that adult patients in particular love!
Since aligners are removable appliances, it’s up to the patient to wear them as directed by your orthodontist. You’ll need to keep your clear aligners in for 20-22 hours each day and switch them out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks for the system to work. This allows them to keep up with the movements the teeth are making.
Invisalign aligners are very easy to maintain. They’re designed to be taken out before eating and drinking anything other than water, so you won’t have to worry about any food restrictions. You also remove them before brushing and flossing, which means caring for your oral health is a cinch! When worn as directed, Invisalign aligners can be just as efficient as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues.
Both of these options can be a great fit for busy adults! Before deciding on a treatment plan, Dr. Waters or Dr. Clayton will discuss the pros and cons of each option with you. They’ll always consider your unique needs and lifestyle before recommending the treatment method they feel would be the best fit for your smile!
How long does adult orthodontic treatment take?
Because every smile is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer regarding how long a patient will need to wear braces or clear aligners. Treatment times will depend on how well a patient responds and the severity of the problem being corrected, among other factors.
On average, however, you can expect treatment time to last anywhere from 12-36 months with braces and 9-18 months with Invisalign. While we can’t give you a concrete answer upfront, we will provide you with an estimated treatment time before beginning your orthodontic journey. Remember that your actual treatment time may vary.
Find your best smile at Innovative Orthodontics
You don’t have to settle for a smile you don’t love! If you’re ready to take the first step towards the confident smile you deserve, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Waters and Dr. Clayton. We look forward to seeing your smile in our offices in Savannah, Rincon, or Pooler!