If you think you missed the boat for straightening your pearly whites as a child, don’t despair.
“More adults are getting braces,” says William Crutchfield of Orthodontics by Crutchfield in Chantilly. “Their reasons range from improving their smile to aligning their teeth in order to preserve them. We are, after all, living longer.”
Many adults are taking a second turn with braces. “Usually because they did not maintain their original correction with proper retainer wear, and their teeth shifted,” he notes.
Orthodontic care for adults is different than for children because adult jaws have already stopped growing. Adult braces are thus sometimes paired with treatments from other oral specialists, such as maxillo-facial surgeons, to improve facial balance.
Crutchfield points to many treatments tailored for adults, including ceramic braces that blend in with the tooth color, braces on the inside of the teeth (lingual braces), and clear aligner therapy with no braces at all (Invisalign being one brand that many people recognize).
Tooth movement and outcomes depend on many factors, including metabolism, age, habits, and discipline. Crutchfield says typical treatment spans 12 to 18 months. “We sometimes combine different treatment modalities, often starting out with braces to make the larger movements and then finishing with clear aligners.”
At any age, orthodontia can be an important component of dental health. “You’re not getting any younger, so correct your teeth and enjoy them for the rest of your life,” says Crutchfield.