How old is too old for braces? It’s an interesting question—and the answer may surprise you! Patient age alone is not a deal breaker when it comes to successful orthodontic treatment outcomes, so what’s the determining factor? Simply put— the health of gums and bone. For example, if a patient has uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, the moving of teeth within the bone caused by orthodontic appliances can aggravate gum disease symptoms. Other medical conditions or medications can also interfere with orthodontic treatment. Some of these include:
Severe heart valve disease
Severe and uncontrolled diabetes
Some medications used to treat arthritis and osteoporosis make moving teeth more difficult, so your dentist or orthodontist needs full disclosure of all medications you take before you begin any treatment. Smoking cigarettes and certain other medications can dry out the mouth, increase your risk of tooth decay and make orthodontic treatment less comfortable.
What are the Benefits of Adult Braces?
Malocclusion—which doesn’t only apply to crooked teeth, but a bad bite—affects approximately 75% of adults. About 1 in 5 orthodontic patients are adults over the age of 21. That’s a lot of grown-up braces!
Orthodontia can correct the bite. A bad bite can be genetic, result from overcrowded teeth, or develop when lost teeth leave gaps in the gums behind. The remaining teeth slip into these empty spaces simply because they remain empty. Adult braces can correct the bite and move teeth where they should be for a healthy bite.
Straight teeth are easier to clean. Brushing and flossing are much easier to do effectively when teeth are evenly aligned in the mouth, so your risk for tooth decay and gum disease decreases significantly.
Enjoying food by chewing and swallowing comfortably is one of life’s simpler pleasures. A person whose bite isn’t functional is likely to become discouraged when faced with this problem—multiple times per day, every day.
Orthodontia—or more accurately, the results of orthodontia—can cause a big spike in self-assurance. People who like their smiles may find it difficult to stop smiling! Personal appearance, self-esteem, and confidence can skyrocket once teeth are straighter. Straightening your smile can actually be life changing!
What Are the Drawbacks of Adult Orthodontia?
Because adult bones are no longer growing, some structural changes in the jaw and mouth cannot be accomplished without surgery. Treatment times may take longer in older patients due to fighting gum disease or bone loss.
Braces are not just for children and teens anymore. Regardless of your age, if your teeth bother you enough to want to correct your malocclusion—you should do it! Crooked and misaligned teeth can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, premature and excessive tooth wear, headaches, and jaw joint issues like TMJ. These are dental problems no one of any age wants.
If you are an adult considering straightening your teeth, call us with any questions or to schedule an appointment today!