Am I Too Old For Orthodontic Treatment?

If you’re an adult who is considering orthodontic treatment, you may be wondering if it’s too late to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted with braces or aligners. Many people associate orthodontics with teens in braces, but the truth is that treatment can benefit children and adults, too. In fact, we’re seeing more adults than ever before exploring orthodontic treatment later in life, with 1 in every 3 current patients over the age of 18! 

You’ve probably already thought about the cosmetic benefits of straightening your smile, which are nothing to sneeze at. Studies have shown that a healthy smile you’re happy with can increase your self-confidence and improve both personal and professional aspects of your life. But the benefits of orthodontic care can extend beyond an improved appearance! Crooked teeth, improper jaw positioning, and a misaligned bite can lead to a number of problems that may worsen as you age. Correcting your orthodontic issues is as much an investment in your oral health as it is a boost to your self-esteem. 

Here at Whitewater Orthodontic Studios, we want to make your dream smile come true—and that doesn’t come with an upper age limit! Let’s take a look at why some adults are choosing to explore orthodontics and how we can help you achieve the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.  

Appearances matter

We all grow up hearing that we should never judge a book by its cover, but we still do it sometimes! Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, and the feature they tend to remember the most. This is proof that first impressions really do matter, and multiple studies over the years have confirmed that. 

For example, the Open Journal Of Stomatology published a 2013 study that examined the influence teeth have on our smiles and physical attractiveness. The researchers took two identical photographs of a person and digitally manipulated the teeth on one of them. Both photos were posted to an online dating site, and researchers counted the number of attempts to contact each profile. The one that a profile photo with perfect teeth received nearly five times as many contact attempts as the other! 

Your long-term oral health could hang in the balance

The cosmetic reasons for getting braces or aligners are compelling, but the oral health benefits are impressive as well. Our teeth naturally shift as we age, and this is more noticeable for some people than others. The natural growth of your jaw can also cause positioning issues. There are a number of health issues that can arise from untreated orthodontic problems, including: 

  • an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease
  • headaches
  • earaches
  • difficulties with chewing, speaking, or biting
  • jaw pain
  • increased incidence of periodontal disease
  • gum and bone erosion
  • irregular wear of the tooth enamel
  • pain in the face, neck, or jaw
  • temporomandibular joint disorders or TMD (which is often incorrectly referred to as TMJ)

Given the laundry list of health risks that come with untreated oral issues, many adults see orthodontic treatment as a valuable investment in their long-term dental and total body health. 

Treatment options for adults

One reason we’re seeing more adults looking into orthodontic treatment is that treatment options have evolved considerably in the last several years. Traditional metal braces were once the only option available for straightening teeth, but adult patients can now choose from several unobtrusive appliances. We’ve outlined our treatment options below. 

Metal Braces 

Traditional metal braces are usually what people picture when they think of orthodontics. However, today’s braces look nothing like their predecessors! The brackets are much smaller and no longer wrap around the entire tooth. Thinner archwires are used to move the teeth with more comfort and speed. You can even put a pop of personality into your treatment journey by choosing fun colors for your elastic bands! Metal braces are usually the most economical treatment option and are ideal for patients who have more serious or complex cases. 

Clear Braces

Clear braces are the same shape and size as metal braces but use clear or tooth-colored brackets to blend in better with your natural smile. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics, they provide a very subtle way to straighten your teeth! While the ceramic brackets are durable, they are more prone to breakage than metal brackets. They also tend to be a bit more costly than metal braces. For this reason, we usually only recommend them for our teen and adult patients. Clear braces can be an excellent option for adults who want the benefits of traditional metal braces without the visibility! 

Invisalign clear aligner system

Instead of brackets and wires, Invisalign uses a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth. These are made from a special thermoplastic resin and customized to fit over your teeth firmly but comfortably. Because they’re removable, they provide adult patients with a bit more freedom and flexibility than braces, and allow you to brush, floss, and eat as you normally would. Invisalign works best for mild to moderate cases of the most common orthodontic issues and can be just as effective as braces when worn as directed.

Am I Too Old For Orthodontic Treatment?

Get the smile you’ve always dreamed of with Whitewater Orthodontic Studios

Achieving the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted has never been more convenient! With so many affordable treatment options to choose from, you’re sure to find the best fit for your unique smile, lifestyle, and goals. 

Here at Whitewater Orthodontic Studios, we believe orthodontic treatment is about more than just straightening teeth. Orthodontics are able to build your self-esteem, boost your self-confidence, and nurture good oral health. In fact, we believe that helping our patients feel good about themselves is the very essence of good health! 

With convenient offices in Lacey, Lakewood, and Yelm, you’ll be able to pop in for appointments and get back to your day in no time. Dr. Leavitt and our talented team are committed to giving you a rewarding and stress-free experience from start to finish! Are you ready to learn more about how orthodontics can transform your smile and improve your oral health? Get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Leavitt and take the first step towards the smile of your dreams!