Lots of things in life get better with age. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always apply to our teeth! While it would be wonderful to experience a smile that only grows more attractive with time, the reality is that our teeth tend to shift as we get older. Even those of us lucky enough to have a naturally straight smile earlier in life may end up with misaligned teeth as we get further into adulthood. But what does that mean for your smile? Are you doomed to have crooked teeth forever?
Whether you’ve noticed your teeth shifting in recent years or have felt self-conscious about your smile for years, Selden Orthodontics is here to help. You may be wondering if the chance to straighten your teeth has passed you by, but we’ve got good news—you’re never too old for orthodontic treatment! Adults of any age can be a great candidate for braces or aligners. In fact, more adults than ever before are choosing to straighten their smiles and improve their oral health with orthodontics! 1 in every 5 current patients is over the age of 18, and we continue to see those numbers grow.
Let’s take a closer look at the options available for older patients, how orthodontics works for adults, and how our expert team can give you a healthier, happier smile. Keep reading below to learn more!
Is treatment for adults different from treatment for adolescents?
Whether you’re an adolescent or an adult, the physiological process that moves the teeth through the bone is the same. That doesn’t mean treatment is identical, however! There are some important differences in orthodontics for adults versus children and teens, which mainly have to do with the fact that adults have denser bone tissue than children.
A child’s mouth is still growing and developing, but an adult’s mouth has stopped growing by the time treatment is initiated. While most adult orthodontic problems can be successfully corrected, treatment may take a little longer due to the maturity and density of the bone.
Adults are also more likely to have fillings, missing teeth, misshapen teeth, or dental disease that has to be dealt with before orthodontic treatment can begin. Additionally, certain medications and habits (like smoking and grinding the teeth) can affect the overall outcome of treatment. This is why you’ll find many orthodontists like Dr. Selden coordinating with a patient’s family dentist to provide the most comprehensive care plan possible.
How does adult orthodontic treatment work?
Orthodontic appliances like braces or aligners use controlled pressure to move the teeth into the desired positions over time. It’s important to understand that not every appliance will be a good fit for every patient. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Selden will take your specific needs, goals, and lifestyle into account before creating a personalized treatment plan for you! You’ll never receive “cookie-cutter” treatment at our practice, and you can trust that we’ll only recommend the best treatment option for your unique smile.
What treatment options are available?
Fortunately, recent advances in orthodontic technique and technology mean adults have more treatment options than ever before! Even traditional metal braces are sleeker, more comfortable, and more aesthetically pleasing than previous versions have been. We also use mini implants and diode lasers for more efficient tooth movement and faster treatment times. Selden Orthodontics is proud to offer our patients the following treatment options from our Huntersville and Charlotte offices.
Traditional metal braces
Traditional metal braces are one of our most popular and efficient treatment options. They are especially effective in treating severe or complicated cases successfully. Modern braces use high-quality stainless steel, and innovations in the design mean they’re much more comfortable than previous versions. The total treatment time also tends to be shorter than it used to be with metal braces, although this will depend on your particular case.
These work like traditional braces, but use clear ceramic brackets instead of metal ones. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics, they provide adults with a very subtle option for straightening their teeth. While clear braces are as effective as their metal counterparts at correcting orthodontic issues, the ceramic brackets do tend to be a bit more delicate. For this reason, we generally only recommend them to our older teen and adult patients.
Our popular champagne-colored brackets are just as durable as traditional metal braces, and the unique color blends in beautifully with your smile. The brackets are just as sturdy as metal braces, while the contoured design keeps this treatment option comfortable, light, and aesthetically pleasing. Champagne braces offer the best of both worlds with the durability of stainless steel and the classic “white” gold appearance. A unique proprietary process ensures the brackets stay champagne-colored for the duration of treatment, and they are particularly striking when matched with gold wire and clear ligatures!
Invisalign clear aligner therapy
The Invisalign system is our most popular alternative to traditional braces! It uses a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth instead of brackets and wires. These clear trays are made of a soft thermoplastic resin and custom-designed to fit snugly but comfortably over the teeth. Because they’re able to be removed for short periods of time, Invisalign aligners can offer adult patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than braces. Being both clear and removable is a big selling point for our older patients!
How long is adult treatment likely to take?
Every case is different, and every patient will respond to treatment in their own way. For this reason, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer for how long a patient will need to be in braces or aligners. On average, however, you can expect treatment to last 12-36 months on average. During that time, you’ll have follow-up visits with Dr. Selden every 6-8 weeks or so. These appointments are an essential part of the orthodontic process, and allow us to ensure your teeth are moving the way we want them to. If you’re in braces, Dr. Selden will also adjust them at this time and may change out your wire as well.
Is adult orthodontic treatment affordable?
While orthodontic treatment does require an investment of your time and funds, it pays off in a big way with improved oral health, better overall function, and increased confidence in your smile! Here at Selden Orthodontics, we believe everyone should have access to high-quality orthodontic care that fits their family’s budget. That’s why we offer in-office payment plans and accept all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. If you have dental insurance that covers any portion of your orthodontic treatment, our team will be happy to help you coordinate your benefits with your insurer! We are in-network with Delta and Cigna DPPO.
You’re never too old to get the healthy smile you deserve with Selden Orthodontics
If you’re not happy with the way your smile looks or feels, it’s not too late to explore how orthodontics can help! Selden Orthodontics is the perfect place to start, with an experienced orthodontist, a talented team, and a range of affordable treatment options to fit every budget. We’re committed to providing you with a stress-free orthodontic experience from start to finish, so if you’re ready to get the smile you deserve, get in touch today! We’d love to schedule your FREE orthodontic consultation with Dr. Selden.