Am I Too Old For Orthodontic Treatment?

For many of us, our exposure to orthodontics comes from shows, movies, or magazines featuring teens in metal braces. It’s no wonder, then, that most people tend to associate orthodontic treatment with teenagers! While children and teens do make up a large percentage of orthodontic patients, braces and aligners can benefit adults, too. In fact, we’re seeing more adults than ever who are interested in straightening their smiles and improving their oral health. Currently, 1 in every 5 orthodontic patients are over the age of 18, and that number is growing all the time!

If you’ve spent a lifetime feeling self-conscious about the way your mouth looks or feels, you aren’t alone. An estimated 50% of the population could benefit from some form of orthodontic treatment! Fortunately, healthy teeth can be corrected at any age, and there a wide variety of affordable treatment options available to do just that. There’s never been a better time to be an adult patient with Hall & Koppel Hot Springs Orthodontics, so let’s take a look at what adult treatment entails and how it could benefit your smile! Keep reading below to learn more. 

Why more adults are exploring orthodontic treatment

We all have personal reasons for making the choices we do, and that includes the decision to seek out orthodontic care. While many adults are simply looking to improve the cosmetic appearance of their smile, orthodontic benefits go beyond the surface! We see patients with a number of orthodontic issues that need to be corrected, including:

  • noticeably crooked teeth
  • gaps between the teeth
  • crowded teeth
  • protruding teeth
  • a deep bite
  • an open bite
  • difficulty chewing food
  • speech impediments related to the teeth
  • biting the cheek or the roof of your mouth
  • mouth breathing
  • inability to comfortably close the lips
  • clenching or grinding the teeth

Crooked teeth and misalignments can also lead to chronic headaches, pain in the jaw and neck, or clicking sounds when you open your mouth. Orthodontic treatment can greatly reduce or eliminate these symptoms, leaving you with a healthy smile that looks great and feels good, too. 

You’re never too old to upgrade your smile

Dental care improves a great deal with every generation. Here in the US, that means more adults than ever are keeping their own teeth throughout their lives. This is one reason why adult orthodontics has become more common, and why those numbers will continue to grow!

The good news is that there really is no upper age limit for braces or aligners. As long as your teeth, the surrounding gums, and the underlying bone structure are healthy, your smile could benefit from orthodontic treatment. There are some differences in the goals and options between children and adults, however. 

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have their first orthodontic evaluation by around the age of 7, and there’s a good reason for that. Children and teens have mouths that are still growing and developing, which makes it easier to correct orthodontic issues even if structural changes are required first. Adult bones have stopped growing, so while you do have most of the same options as younger patients, there are a few exceptions. 

For example, correcting a posterior crossbite in a child can often be accomplished with just an expander. In adults, that same correction may require a surgical reopening. Expansion in general is more difficult with adults, with more extractions necessary than with adolescent patients. Overbites are another example. We are often able to successfully correct this issue in a younger patient by using headgear, springs, and rubber bands. Adults, on the other hand, will more often require extractions and jaw surgery. 

Don’t let that worry you, though! Most adults will need nothing more than braces or aligners to achieve a healthier smile, and if you do require extra work, you’ll be in the best possible hands. Between our doctors and staff, we have over 250 years of combined orthodontic experience! 

Dr. Hall and Dr. Koppel are skilled, experienced, and gentle orthodontists who will work closely with you to design a treatment plan that will give you the best results in the least amount of time. They are always available to answer any questions you have, provide progress updates, and ensure you are informed and engaged throughout the treatment process.

What adult treatment options are available? How does it work?

Some adult patients are on the fence about orthodontic treatment because they think metal braces are the only option available to them. Aside from the fact that today’s metal braces are more comfortable and attractive than they’ve ever been, there are more subtle treatment options available as well! Hall & Koppel Hot Springs Orthodontics offer metal braces, clear braces, and the Invisalign clear aligner system. 

When you visit us for your free consultation, one of our doctors will perform a thorough examination of your mouth. We’ll also take some digital photographs of your teeth and a few x-rays to get a better look at what’s happening below the surface of your smile. This will allow our doctors to form a diagnosis and let you know which appliance would be best for your unique needs. 

While there’s no “one size fits all” answer as to how long a patient will need to be in braces or aligners, most treatment takes anywhere from 12-36 months. During that time, follow-up visits are scheduled in our Hot Springs office for every 4-8 weeks or so. This allows Dr. Hall and Dr. Koppel to check that your teeth are moving in a healthy way. All in all, adult orthodontic treatment is a relatively small investment of your time that pays big dividends in terms of improved oral health, better functionality, and increased self-confidence! 

Get the smile you’ve always wanted at Hall & Koppel Hot Springs Orthodontics

The moment an adult patient sees their beautiful new smile for the first time is often very moving. For many, the only regret is that they didn’t do it sooner! The opportunity for you to achieve a healthier, happier smile hasn’t passed you by—you can still straighten your teeth and improve your oral health whatever your age may be. 

If you’re in the Hot Springs area and want to learn more about taking the first step towards the incredible smile you deserve, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation. You’re never too old to benefit from orthodontics!