Too Old For Braces?

Adult Orthodontic Treatment

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There is no such thing as being ‘Too Old for Braces’! More and more adults are seeking Orthodontic treatment, often because they did not have the opportunity when they were young. At Prestige, we welcome adult patients. We recognize the different problems and needs that many adults face. Aside from comprehensive treatment with upper and lower braces, many adults have limited, specific, treatment goals. We will discuss various treatment options as well as various methods of moving teeth for our adult patients. At Prestige, adult patients work together with Dr. Chay to determine exactly what they want from treatment.

Cosmetic improvements are on the forefront of advances in Orthodontics. Popular choices of our patients are ceramic braces, a translucent material that camouflages the brackets on your teeth. If you are looking for braces without the “metal-mouth” appearance, you may want to consider clear ceramic braces.

Advances in Orthodontics

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Orthodontics is more popular than ever. This popularity is due to the overwhelming success of improved treatments and technology. New technology produces better results with fewer visits and shortened treatment times. In some cases, we can eliminate months of treatment time for certain individuals.

One example of recent improvements is nickel-titanium-alloy arch wires. They have replaced the traditional stainless steel wires used in braces during the alignment (early) stage. This new technology provides our patients with a temperature-sensitive wire that allows for the continuous movement of teeth over longer periods of time. For our patients this means enhanced comfort, decreased treatment time, and fewer trips to the Orthodontist.

One of the latest breakthroughs in Orthdontics is the self-ligating braces. In combination with high technology wires, a much gentler force is applied to the teeth, which results in shorter treatment time and fewer office visits. The results are beautiful smiles and enchanced facial aesthetics.

Surgical Orthodontics

Just as orthodontics repositions teeth, surgical orthodontics (also known as orthognathic surgery)
corrects jaw irregularities to improve the patient’s ability to chew, speak, and breathe and for improved facial appearances. In other words, surgical orthodontics straightens your jaw. Moving the jaws also moves the teeth so braces are always performed in conjunction with jaw correction. This helps make sure teeth are in their proper positions after surgery.

Who needs surgical orthodontics?

Your orthodontist will consider surgical orthodontic treatment for non-growing adult patients with
improper bites and those with facial, aesthetic concerns. Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 for girls and 18 for boys. All growth must be completed before jaw surgery can be performed. However, the pre-surgical tooth movements can begin one to two years prior to these ages.

How does it work?

During your orthodontic treatment, which usually lasts 6-18 months, you wear braces and will visit
your orthodontist for scheduled adjustments to your braces. As your teeth move with the braces, you may think that your bite is getting worse rather than better. However, when your jaws are placed into proper alignment during orthognathic surgery, the teeth will then fit into their proper positions.

Surgery is performed in the hospital with an oral surgeon and can take several hours, depending on
the amount and type of surgery needed. In lower jaw surgery, the jawbone behind the teeth is separated and the tooth-bearing portion is moved forward or backward, as needed. In upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be repositioned forward or backward, or the jaw can be raised or lowered. Certain movements may require the jaws to be separated, with bone added/removed to achieve the proper alignment and stability. Other facial bones that contribute to alignment may also be repositioned or augmented.

When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within two weeks. After the necessary healing time (about 4-8 weeks), your orthodontist “fine-tunes” your bite. In most cases, braces are removed within 6 to 12 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile.