Orthodontic Consultation for Adults
If you are concerned about your tooth alignment, bite or your smile in general, discuss it with your Dentist and ask if orthodontics could help. Your Dentist will advise you on what treatment alternatives are available. Orthodontists and other dental specialists are generally happy to give a second opinion if you are uncertain with advice you have received.
In the last 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of adults receiving orthodontic treatment. A more widespread interest in personal grooming and appearance in adults, greater awareness of problems related to poor tooth alignment and occlusion, greater affordability and availability of orthodontic care have been some of the main reasons.
“Invisible” (placed on the inside of the teeth), clear and “fashion” (gold plated) braces have also made orthodontic treatment more attractive to adults.
Up to 25 percent of patients in some orthodontic practices are adults.
Increasingly, Dentists and dental specialists are also recommending, where necessary, orthodontic treatment beforehand to improve tooth alignment and/or the bite to get the best possible results for tooth capping, bridgework, implants or other extensive restoration of the teeth.
Adults often make the best patients since they are highly motivated to get a good result and paying for the treatment themselves!
The orthodontic mechanics used to straighten the teeth, the tooth movement itself and duration of treatment in most cases is very similar in adults and children.
However, there are some important differences:
- Tooth movement may be a bit slower in adults, although this is generally not significant.
- Periodontal disease (loss of the gum and bone supporting the teeth due to infection) is a much greater risk factor in adults. If there is any concern of periodontal disease risk, the Orthodontist will organise for a checkup by a Periodontist (Gum specialist) beforehand.
- Unlike in the child and adolescent, adults do not have any ongoing growth in the jaws to help tooth alignment and also bite correction in Class II division1 ( “Buck teeth”) malocclusions. So there is a greater likelihood of tooth extraction being required to correct tooth crowding. There is also a greater likelihood of surgery being required for the best results in severe Class II bite cases (although substantial improvement can be achieved in many instances with braces alone).