Orthodontic treatment including adult braces is becoming increasingly common in Australia. In fact, according to a survey undertaken by Orthodontics Australia, 62% of Australian adults are considering orthodontic treatment with 20% of orthodontic patients being adults.
And this phenomenon is not just in Australia, data from the BOC (British Orthodontic Society) stated that 75% of orthodontists reported an increase in adult orthodontic patients.
Here at MP Orthodontics, we too have experienced over time an increasing number of adults looking to improve their smile.
Questions about Adult Braces and Orthodontic Treatment
- So what are the options as far as adult braces go?
- Is orthodontic treatment as successful for adults as it is for children and teens?
- Are there any limitations to adult orthodontic treatment?
- Are there specific type of adult braces that are more effective for fully developed jaws and teeth?
Today we have many options for adults – that range from the very popular aligner therapy to conventional braces that are very clear and comfortable. Invisalign has been around for over 20 years has given enormous popularity and provides excellent results in the right hands. At MP orthodontics, Dr Geoffrey Hall was the first orthodontist outside of the United States to utilise Invisalign and actually brought to the Australian shores and Dr Martin Poon has now been one of the few elite Diamond providers of Invisalign therapy over the last 7 years.
With technology and the right skill level, adult therapy is as successful today as traditional orthodontics with teens. Our main limitation with adults – is that ideally we need good bone and healthy gums to move the teeth – even if they may not be perfect at the time of the initial examination, with usually minimal effort by a general dentist or periodontist these gums and bone can be improved very quickly to allow orthodontic treatment to begin.
All types of appliances such as braces or aligner therapy have the same effect whether we are treating your child or adult – so you feel very comfortable that even though you may be a little bit older than the traditional teen orthodontic patient , your treatment will be as successful and can be done with the most advanced cosmetic appliances --virtually invisible !!
Why are Adults Choosing Orthodontic Treatment?
There are many different reasons why adults are choosing orthodontic treatment, now much more than previously. We have listed the main ones below.
Along with the growth in the medical industry and the cosmetic surgery industry in particular, Australian adults are now also seeking cosmetic dental improvements as well.Childhood, teenage years and adult years with crooked, crowded or protruding teeth can lead to embarrassment and even poor self esteem. For many in this situation, the opportunity to have adult braces and finally obtain a straight and attractive smile is highly desired.
Adult braces can also be used to treat overbites, under bites, deep bites and resolve unaesthetic spaces.
Sometimes, it is a particular event that sparks the desire to obtain adult braces. For example, a bride or groom hoping to have a brilliant smile on their wedding day.
Many of our patients believe that if their general physical appearance (including their smile) was more attractive, it would assist them with their career growth. Therefore, wishing to move up the career ladder has been stated as a reason for seeking adult braces treatment. This has been demonstrated through psychological studies that people with better appearance obtain better jobs.
A healthy jaw, gums and teeth mean that as adults, we are likely to be able to keep our own teeth longer. The glory days of dentures are decreasing amongst adults as people become more aware of the importance of having a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene. As an adult (or a child for that matter) crooked teeth can be more difficult to keep clean than well aligned teeth. Therefore, the choice of orthodontic treatment is not based upon ‘looks’ only but also as an investment for healthy teeth for the future.
A good bite will lead to less wear and less impact on the jaw joint whereas a poor bite can lead to lots of wearing of teeth and headaches, neck ache with associated increased pressure on the jaw joint
As part of the family life cycle, some adults who have had successful careers or businesses and now have older children (some homes are now empty nesters) find that they have more disposable income than in past years. This then provides them with an opportunity to spend their hard earned cash on their personal health needs rather than paying for school fees, a high mortgage, car leases etc. For some adults, it is now this availability of income that leads them to seek orthodontic treatment.
Improvement in Orthodontic Treatment
As with the rest of the medical industry, orthodontic treatment has improved and progressed rapidly over the last decade. Innovations in orthodontics have decreased treatment periods, reduced pain and discomfort, and significantly reduced the visibility of orthodontic braces.
The traditional very clunky, obvious and sometimes rather painful metal braces of yesteryear are gone. Whilst metal braces are still available and a highly effective treatment for both adults and teens, even these are very different to what adults remember from childhood.
Effective Treatment for Adults
Whilst traditionally it was thought that braces were only a successful treatment method for children and teens, we are now becoming more aware that adult braces can indeed be highly effective as well.
There are also specific cases where an adult may seek or require orthodontic treatment.
Full Frontal Bridge
One such example may be the replacement of poor dental treatment from the past. One of our patients had a full frontal bridge that had been put into place in his early adult years. Now after 20 years, the bridge needed to be removed for both aesthetic and health reasons.
The patient had never been happy with the bridge because the gap within which the bridge was placed was in fact too small, meaning the bridge had unrealistically small looking teeth. In this case, we were able to use braces to reposition the teeth creating a larger space, which allowed for a far more natural looking bridge. The patient after 20 years was finally happy with his smile! This is an example of our POD system (Patent, Orthodontics and Dentists) working together for the best possible outcome for the patient.
Gap Created by Missing Tooth
Another specific case we have experienced many times is when a patient has experienced a tooth extraction due to infection. In this case, neither a dental implant nor a bridge was used and this resulted in a gap where the tooth had been.
Overtime, due to jaw changes and tooth movement, the gap had decreased in size whereby the space was not only too small but adjacent teeth had tipped over severely into the extraction space such that a natural looking implant was not possible without orthodontic treatment.
Again by using our POD system and working with the dentist, and with the use of adult braces to increase the gap and provide a better bony architecture – this allowed the dentist to place a functional implant or bridge that is not only aesthetic but helps to stabilise the bite .
Which Adult Braces are Best?
Choosing the best type of adult braces is the same as choosing the best type of braces for teens or children; it depends on a case by case basis. Adults, like children, can choose between Invisalign, ceramic or porcelain braces, lingual braces, the much-improved metal braces and also self-ligating braces which are available in both metal and clear.
Research On Adult Braces and Orthodontic Treatment
Research undertaken in 2014 and published in the European Journal of Orthodontics concluded that within the study group, that at the end of the orthodontic treatment, “a significant improvement was detected in self-esteem.” The authors of this research journal were Ama Johal, Iman Alyaqoobi, Rachna Patel and Shirley Cox.
With Dr Martin Poon or Dr Geoff Hall you will be given expert advice as to which adult braces are best for you to provide the smile that you have always wanted! Please contact MP Orthodontics on (03) 9583 5915 and book your first appointment to start your journey to towards a broad happy smile.