One of the most persistent stereotypes in orthodontics is that of a young teen in a full set of metal braces. This is one image that’s had serious staying power thanks to pop culture over the years! The truth is that braces and aligners can actually benefit patients of all ages, including children and adults. While tweens and teens do make up a significant percentage of orthodontic patients, we’re seeing more adults than ever exploring how treatment can benefit their smile. In fact, about 1 in every 5 current patients is over the age of 18!
Here at Shine Orthodontics, we talk to patients every day who worry that the chance for a straighter smile has passed them by. The good news is you’re never too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment! Our practice offers a variety of affordable treatment options to correct crooked teeth, overbites, and everything in between. To learn more about what orthodontics actually is and how it can help you achieve the confident smile you deserve, keep reading below.
What is orthodontics?
If you picture dentistry as an umbrella, then orthodontics is a specialty that sits underneath it. An orthodontist is a dentist who has also received several additional years of education and training in:
- identifying and correcting bite abnormalities
- successfully straightening teeth
- correcting misaligned jaws
- improving the overall function of the mouth
As an experienced orthodontist, Dr. McGrogan has the knowledge and training to successfully diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial abnormalities. If left untreated over time, issues like these can eventually lead to premature wear and tear on the teeth, gum tissue, and bone. This may result in pain to your face and neck area, headaches, and even difficulties with chewing or speaking. Orthodontists can diagnose and treat these problems, improving not only the appearance of your smile, but its overall function as well!
Why are more adults choosing orthodontic treatment?
Like any other decision in life, everyone has their own reasons for considering orthodontic treatment. For many adults, this is linked to a better understanding of how oral health is linked to overall health. This knowledge often encourages them to seek out dental or orthodontic treatment that will allow them to keep their teeth and gums clean, healthy, and free from gum disease.
We also encounter many adult patients who received orthodontic treatment earlier in life that was never completed. They get in touch because they want to finish the process, or perhaps start it from scratch again. Touch-up treatment is extremely common, as well. Even when treatment is completed at a young age, the teeth can still shift over time due to age, genetics, or improper retainer use. In these cases, we have multiple ways to treat the patient, including monitoring the teeth, providing new retainers, or re-treating with braces or aligners.
Some adults have never had any treatment before, and are simply looking to improve the cosmetic appearance of their smile. Studies have shown that a more attractive smile can boost a patient’s confidence and self-esteem, and may even have a positive impact on their personal and professional lives, so this is certainly something we encourage!
Whatever your reason for exploring orthodontic treatment, we’re happy to walk you through all of the options we offer and help you choose one that will fit your needs, lifestyle, and goals.
What treatment options are available for adult patients?
Modern orthodontic techniques and technology have made it easier than ever to achieve a total smile makeover! At Shine Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer the following treatment options.
Traditional metal braces
Metal braces are one of the most recognizable symbols of orthodontics and the most common type of treatment. Modern metal braces have gone through some design changes and are much more comfortable and lighter than they used to be. They’re also customizable, thanks to a variety of fun colored bands to choose from! These braces deliver excellent results and are especially useful in cases that are more serious or complicated.
Metal braces also tend to be a slightly more affordable option, since they don’t require some of the more complex technology or expensive equipment that newer treatments might. The overall strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness of traditional braces keep them the top treatment for orthodontics, year after year.
Also referred to as clear braces, tooth-colored braces, or aesthetic braces, ceramic braces work in much the same way as metal braces, with the added benefit of semi-translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. While ceramic braces are nearly the same size and shape as metal braces, they’re better able to blend in with a patient’s natural smile for a more discreet straightening option.
Although ceramic braces are tough, the material they are made from is more prone to chipping or cracking. Since metal braces can hold up to more pressure than ceramic ones, they may be a better option for those who have more severe corrections that need to be made.
Ceramic brackets are often slightly more expensive than metal braces, as well. Since they can be more expensive and are more prone to breaking, Dr. McGrogan typically recommends ceramic braces for adult and older teen patients. That said, ceramic braces can be an excellent option for many individuals. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastic ties, they are an incredibly discreet and efficient way to straighten smiles!
Invisalign clear aligner therapy
Invisalign is currently our most popular alternative to traditional braces. The system uses a series of customized aligners to straighten the teeth instead of relying on brackets, wires, and bands. trays are made of smooth thermoplastic material that allows them to fit firmly but comfortably over the teeth. Like braces, they work by exerting gentle pressure on the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired positions. Unlike braces, Invisalign’s success depends on patient compliance!
Invisalign aligners must be worn 20-22 hours per day throughout the treatment process to do their job properly. Patients are also responsible for switching out each aligner with the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. While they do require a bit more dedication to succeed, our teen and adult patients love the freedom and flexibility that removable aligners offer.
Any of these options can be an excellent fit for a busy adult! When you trust your smile to our practice, you can be sure that Dr. McGrogan will only recommend the best treatment for your unique smile.
Get the confident smile you deserve with Shine Orthodontics
Here at Shine Orthodontics, we know that your smile is one in a million. What works for one patient may not be a good fit for you, and that’s why we’re committed to providing customized care and excellent customer service throughout your orthodontic journey.
Our talented team prides itself on helping patients of all ages achieve a beautifully aligned smiles! If you’re ready to take the first step toward the healthy smile you’ve always wanted, get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. McGrogan.