Did you know that 25% of the 4 million Americans who wear braces are adults?
Because our teeth are always shifting and will continue to do so throughout our lives, it’s no surprise that older patients sometimes need orthodontic treatment. In other words, if you’re concerned about the potential stigma of getting “adult braces,” you’re far from alone! We see patients of all ages who seek orthodontic treatment, and we’re more than happy to help them align their smiles.
Of course, you may be wondering how to tell when it’s the right time to take the plunge, especially if your teenage years are far behind you. Let’s take a quick look at when and how to reach out to your Fort Pierce orthodontist about braces.
When Is the Right Time for Braces?
If you’re like most people, you likely associate braces with teenagers.
Most people who need orthodontic treatment start young, often between their teenage years to their early twenties. It’s possible to get braces from the time adult teeth begin to come in, which happens between the ages of 9 and 14.
Young teens tend to have a softer jawbone that makes it easier to reposition teeth. When we grow older, our bones become denser, which can make the straightening process a bit more difficult. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get braces once you’re out of your teens.
These days, many people who don’t get early orthodontic treatment will opt for it later in life. Though it’s easier and faster for adolescents to straighten their teeth, adults can get the same results with the right treatment plan. Your harder adult jawbone tissue may require a more involved plan, and most adults need anywhere from one to three years of treatment, but your orthodontist will be able to find the right options for your needs.
In other words, you are never too old to get braces! With a bit more time, you can still reach the same results as you could when you were a teenager.
Signs You May Need Adult Braces
It’s nice to know that you can get braces at any age, but how can you tell if you need adult braces in the first place? Here are a few signs that it’s the right time for orthodontic treatment as an adult:
You Have Crooked Teeth
This is the most obvious sign that you may need braces. It’s normal for most people to have a misaligned tooth or two, but these teeth can sometimes become a major problem. Severely crooked teeth can tempt you to hide your smile, and they can even lead to self-consciousness or self-esteem issues over time.
Worse, crooked teeth can make it hard to clean your teeth as needed. Overcrowded teeth can make flossing almost impossible, and they can even make it difficult to brush every surface of your teeth. This can lead to an increase in plaque growth and cavities.
You Have Bite Issues
Problems with the way your teeth bite can make it hard to chew. This oral dysfunction can wreak havoc on your eating habits as well as your overall health.
There are a few common bite issues to look out for. If your upper and lower teeth don’t connect when you bite down, or if you tend to bite your tongue with your teeth by accident, talk to an orthodontist about potential bite issues.
You Experience Jaw Pain
Jaw pain can happen for reasons unrelated to crooked teeth, such as grinding at night. However, some types of jaw pain happen when you have issues with your teeth alignment. Pain or stiffness in your jaw should always be a red flag.
You Lost Your Baby Teeth Early
If you know you lost one or more baby teeth earlier than normal, such as after an accident or injury, it can be a red flag regarding your teeth alignment. Baby teeth help tell adult teeth where to grow in, and losing one too early may encourage incorrect teeth spacing.
The Adult Braces Process
If you do need orthodontic treatment, what can you expect from the braces process?
First, you’ll meet with your orthodontist for a consultation. During that visit, your orthodontist will do a general exam of your teeth. They may also take X-rays or do an impression of your teeth at this visit.
Once they’ve finished, they’ll prescribe a treatment plan and set up further appointments. Your plan will vary based on the kind of treatment you prefer, as there are two main types of braces to choose from: traditional braces or clear aligners.
With traditional braces, your orthodontist will place metal or ceramic braces onto your teeth. These braces use wires to create tension, putting gentle pressure on your teeth to move them into the right position. Today’s traditional braces tend to be less noticeable than they once were, and they’re an affordable option that treats even complex alignment problems.
Clear plastic aligners like Invisalign are custom trays that you’ll fit over your teeth. The custom design allows these aligners to create gentle pressure on your teeth to move them, just like the wires of traditional braces. Clear aligners are discreet and removable, though you’ll need to wear them whenever you aren’t eating.
Contact Us for the Perfect Smile
At the end of the day, there’s no wrong time to get adult braces. Crooked or crowded teeth can impact your oral health at any age, and they can make you feel less like smiling. That’s why it’s crucial to reach out to an orthodontist who can help you decide when it’s time to move forward with braces.
Here at Jacobus Orthodontics, we’re eager to help Fort Pierce area patients of all ages feel happy about the way their smile looks. If you think you might need adult braces, our highly trained team can help! To reach out with questions or to set up an appointment, fill out our online form to contact us today.