When you hear orthodontics, what’s the first thing you think of? If you’re like most people, it’s probably some combination of a teenager and braces. This stereotype has had serious staying power, and for that reason, you may not even be aware that orthodontic patients can be anywhere from 7 to 70! While it’s true that we treat many teens, orthodontics can be beneficial for all ages, including adults. However, many patients still wonder “Am I too old for braces?”
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone! In recent years, there’s been a huge increase in the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment. Currently, about 1 in every 5 orthodontic patients is over the age of 18.
If you’ve spent a lifetime unsatisfied or embarrassed about how your teeth look and feel, now is the time to improve your oral health! Shaw Orthodontics is proud to offer a variety of treatment options to successfully correct crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw positioning, and more. To learn a bit more about what orthodontics is, and how it can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, keep reading below!
What is orthodontics?
If you think of dentistry as an umbrella, orthodontics is a specialty underneath it, just like pediatric dentistry or prosthodontics. An orthodontist is a dentist who has received years of additional education and training in identifying and correcting bite abnormalities, as well as successfully straightening teeth, correcting misaligned jaws, and improving the overall function of the mouth.
An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Douglas Shaw works to diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial abnormalities. If issues such as these are left untreated, they can worsen over time, leading to premature wear and tear on the teeth, gum tissue, and bone. This may result in pain in the face and neck area, headaches, and even difficulties with chewing or speaking.
Orthodontists can diagnose and treat these types of issues, which can improve both the function and appearance of your smile.
Why are more adults choosing orthodontic treatment?
There are lots of reasons we’ve seen more adults exploring orthodontic treatment. One is that we often begin to understand more about how oral health is linked to our total body health as we get older. For some people, this knowledge encourages them to take action by seeking out dental or orthodontic treatment that will allow them to better care for their teeth and gums.
Some adults have received orthodontic treatment earlier in life that were never completed, who now want to finish the process.
Since teeth that were straightened in a patient’s younger years may shift over time due to age, genetics, or improper retainer use, touch-up treatment is common as well. In these cases, we have multiple options, including monitoring the teeth, providing new retainers, or re-treating with braces or aligners.
Then there are the adults who have never had treatment before but are simply looking to improve the cosmetic appearance of their smile. This boosts their confidence and self-esteem, and can even have a positive impact on their personal and professional lives.
What orthodontic options are available for adult patients?
Whatever your reason for seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult, there are more options than ever before! Shaw Orthodontics offers the following treatments for a total smile makeover.
Traditional metal braces
Traditional metal braces are an orthodontic staple and with good reason! This is one of our most efficient treatments, particularly for more severe or complicated cases. Modern braces use high-quality stainless steel, but innovations in the design mean they’re much more comfortable than previous versions. The total treatment time also tends to be shorter than in the past.
These work essentially the same way traditional braces do but use ceramic brackets instead of metal ones. The brackets can be clear, white, or tooth-colored, and for an almost invisible treatment option, they can be used with elastics or ties that are also clear, white, or tooth-colored. Ceramic braces can be an excellent choice for image-conscious patients, but because they are more delicate than metal braces, we generally only recommend them for older teens and adults.
This type of braces is hidden on the back of your teeth, making them completely invisible when you smile. The metal brackets are custom made to match the unique shape and size of your teeth. Lingual braces are an excellent option for athletes, models, actors/actresses, those who play musical instruments, or if you just want a more discreet treatment option.
Invisalign clear aligner therapy
The Invisalign system consists of clear, removable aligners that are customized to fit comfortably over the teeth. Like braces, the aligners gently move the teeth into the desired positions. This is accomplished by wearing them 20-22 hours per day throughout treatment, and replacing them every 1-2 weeks for the next aligner in the system.
Invisalign offers you the freedom and flexibility that traditional braces just can’t beat! There are no food restrictions since aligners are removed when eating or drinking. They also make it easier to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy since you don’t have to work around wires and brackets, and can simply brush and floss the way you normally would.
Both of these options can be a great fit for busy adults! You can trust Dr. Shaw to only recommend the treatment method he feels will work best with your smile, lifestyle, and goals.
Get the smile you’ve been waiting for with Shaw Orthodontics
We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all-treatment here at Shaw Orthodontics. Every smile is unique, and some treatment methods will be more suitable than others for certain patients. That’s why it’s so important to choose an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Shaw! He will build a personalized treatment plan for you based on your specific needs, giving you a positive orthodontic experience and superior results.
Our talented team is committed to providing the latest in orthodontic techniques and technology for patients of all ages in Rockwall, Watauga, and the surrounding communities.
It’s never too late to get the smile you’ve always wanted. You can take the first step by calling us today to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Shaw!