However, fully-grown adults haven’t missed their chance to have straight teeth. Modern orthodontics can help patients of any age, including patients who previously had braces but whose teeth have shifted out of alignment again over time.
Throughout our lives, our teeth naturally shift and move in ways we’d rather they didn’t. The process is called mesial drift, where our teeth slowly shift toward the front of our mouths over the years. Factors like enamel loss, teeth grinding, and tooth loss can move our teeth out of alignment as well, resulting in an increasingly crooked and overcrowded smile that can be more difficult to keep healthy.
Time alone doesn’t affect the position of our teeth; sometimes little things we do every day without thinking about it can contribute to them shifting out of their proper position. These include such innocuous habits as sleeping on your stomach or resting your head on your hands while sitting. Side or back sleeping and good posture will minimize this effect.
Good oral hygiene habits are also important for keeping teeth where they belong by reducing enamel loss over time. Make sure to keep up with daily flossing and twice-daily brushing, and don’t neglect those regular dental appointments!
It’s good and important to stop bad habits and build better ones, but doing so won’t reverse any dental shifting that’s already happened. That’s what orthodontic treatment is for. It may be true that it’s easier to guide teeth into their correct position when the patient is younger, but teeth of any age will still respond to orthodontic appliances.
Adult patients even have a major advantage over their adolescent counterparts: they are more mature and disciplined, meaning they are more likely to follow the orthodontist’s instructions to the letter, ensuring better and timelier results!
You might already know that adults can get braces too, so maybe what’s stopping you from pursuing your straight smile goals is the prospect of spending a year or so being seen as a brace face. This can be a very unappealing idea, especially for adults with public-facing careers. The good news is that modern orthodontic treatment has options besides traditional wire braces, such as invisible aligners and ceramic braces. Keep your treatment a secret if you’d like to!
Every set of teeth is different, which means every patient’s orthodontic treatment is different. We’re sure you have many questions about what treatment would mean for you, such as how long it would take, what appliances would be involved, and the cost. We’d love to answer all of your questions about adult braces when you schedule your initial consultation!