The Considerations Involved in Adult Orthodontic Treatment
There was a time not too long ago when orthodontics was considered the exclusive domain of orthodontists, teenage patients, and stressed parents trying to figure out how to pay for the whole thing. Today, lots of those parents are pursuing orthodontic treatment too. Roughly 30% of orthodontic treatments are now adults thanks, in part, to treatment options that make the process much more discrete and comfortable.
On that front, the biggest agents of change have been Invisalign and smaller companies that have developed and championed orthodontics using clear and removable aligners rather than traditional wire and metal braces. Not every grownup pursuing adult orthodontic treatment in Irvine CA uses Invisalign, though. Some adults receive orthodontic treatment from an orthodontist near you with braces, including ceramic and lingual alternatives. While adult orthodontic treatment near you is not an entirely new phenomenon, it is one that involves different considerations. Let’s go through some of those considerations here.
Is adult orthodontic treatment feasible?
Childhood and one’s teenage years really are the ideal time to undergo orthodontic treatment. After all, a child’s bones and teeth are more easily moved into new positions than will be the case as they become adults. That is an example of the consideration that must be kept in mind if you’re considering getting orthodontic treatment done as an adult. There are others.
You’re older. Your older bones make shifting teeth into new positions harder. As you age, there is a greater likelihood that you’ll lack sufficient bone mass between your teeth roots to ensure adequate blood supply during treatment.
Your jaw is probably full. Orthodontic treatment for the purpose of correcting a misaligned bite presumes that there is room in your mouth and jaw into which your teeth can be moved. If your jaw is full — as is likely the case — orthodontic treatment will have to be preceded by preparatory extractions from which you’ll need to heal before treatment can really get underway.
Have you had teeth extracted in the past? If, like many adults, you’ve had teeth extracted in the past, those old extraction sites are not suitable new places to gradually shift teeth as your bite is realigned. If you were a child, you could count on the gaps at those extraction sites being closed by pressure and staying closed. As an adult, though, those bones are less responsive to the same pressures and less likely to stay closed. Renovating an old extraction site to accommodate a relocated tooth requires the addition of prosthetic bone in the area. It’s possible, but requires additional procedures, time and expense.
Root resorption is a phenomenon where the body reclaims or reabsorbs the root of a tooth. Following resorption, that tooth is essentially left untethered. Root resorption is a potential complicating factor at any patient’s age, but adults have a higher risk of developing resorption than children.
In addition to those biomedical considerations, adults considering orthodontic treatment should consider the potential psychological implications of treatment as adults. Psychological issues aren’t unique to adults, of course, but they are different than those confronted by children: tolerance for aesthetic compromises during treatment and the potential need to compromise the final preferred result; how you’ll handle discomfort during treatment; managing expectations relating to the final result; and your willingness to comply with a potentially complex treatment plan.
None of these factors alone should rule out receiving adult orthodontic treatment near you. They do mean that more preliminary investigations may be required than usual. You should consider all these factors carefully and balance them against the importance of accomplishing your cosmetic goals as an adult aware of the challenges of doing so later in life. As you work through these ideas, schedule a consultation with a dentist near you to get a clearer picture of how these biomedical issues might play out in your case.