It’s never too late to get the smile you’ve always wanted.
Childhood might be an ideal time for orthodontic treatment, but there is no such thing as being “too old” to straighten your teeth. As a matter of fact, age alone has little to do with whether you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment.
Adult orthodontic treatment has been steadily growing in popularity, with an estimated one in five orthodontic patients being over the age of 18. Invisalign is in high demand among adults seeking treatment since the subtle aligners and faster treatment time are particularly appealing to mature individuals.
Wanting a new level of confidence in their smile is a big reason why more adults are interested in orthodontic treatment—but that’s not the only factor. For many adults, it’s a combination of a straighter smile and improved oral health that drives them to seek out Invisalign treatment.
Orthodontic treatment is about more than just straight teeth.
Crooked, crowded, and gapped teeth, and misaligned bites play a much larger role in oral health than you might realize. These flaws go beyond being simply cosmetic and could be contributing or exacerbating oral health problems you’re experiencing.
When teeth are crooked, crowded, or have unusually spaced gaps it makes it easier for food particles and bacteria to get stuck. Brushing and flossing thoroughly is also more difficult due to the positioning of the teeth. The end result? An increased risk of tooth decay, gum inflammation (gingivitis), and gum disease (periodontitis).
Misaligned teeth and bites (i.e. underbites, overbites) can also affect the positioning of your jaw, eventually leading to or worsening conditions like obstructive sleep apnea and temporomandibular disorders. Many patients can also experience severe wear on their teeth due to grinding, which could lead to permanent damage and eventual tooth loss.
Invisalign is able to address the majority of these issues just like traditional braces.
What is Invisalign and how does it work?
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment process that uses clear aligners made of a durable yet flexible plastic material called SmartTrack. There are no brackets, wires, or metal like traditional braces, and the aligners completely cover the teeth rather than just running along the front surface.
The process begins by your orthodontist taking 3-D scans of your teeth and using a special computer modeling program to map out how to move your teeth into the proper position. These maps are then used to design the aligners themselves. Each set of aligners will strategically apply pressure to the right spot in your smile based on the progress model in your treatment plan.
The average adult patient will get between 20 and 30 aligners for the duration of their treatment. Your orthodontist may supply fewer aligners for mild treatment plans, such as simply closing a gap in the front teeth, or as many as 50 for severe cases.
You’ll replace your aligners every two weeks with the next set in your treatment plan. Near the end of your treatment, you may be able to replace them weekly with the permission of your orthodontist. When you’re finished with the treatment you’ll need to follow through on orthodontic retention care as recommended by your orthodontist. This usually involves wearing a retainer for a certain number of hours a day or at night.
Why Invisalign Is the Preferred Treatment for Most Adults
Many adults seeking orthodontic treatment will have their sights set on Invisalign because of their nearly invisible appearance and quicker treatment times.
Invisalign aligners aren’t completely invisible, but they are exceptionally subtle and the average person you’re speaking with will have no idea you’re wearing them. Compared to traditional metal braces, the aesthetic appeal of Invisalign is obvious.
Treatment time averages only 12 to 18 months since the aligners themselves completely encapsulate the teeth. This design, coupled with replacing aligners every two weeks, makes Invisalign treatment possibly twice as fast as traditional braces. Quicker treatment also means less time spent going to dental appointments and less hassle scheduling those appointments.
Another added bonus of Invisalign is being able to remove the aligners, something that isn’t possible with braces. You will need to wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, but you will remove them for meals and when brushing, flossing, rinsing, etc. Since you will need to remove your aligners during meals, your diet during treatment doesn’t need to change.
When Invisalign Isn’t the Best Orthodontic Solution
Most of our adult patients will want Invisalign rather than traditional braces. While we do our best to make our patients as happy as possible, under some circumstances Invisalign isn’t the right choice for orthodontic treatment.
Invisalign is capable of fixing a number of dental issues, but like with most dental procedures, treatment isn’t always a “one-size-fits-all” situation. There are certain problems Invisalign can’t help or simply wouldn’t be the most efficient option for.
Invisalign is a poor choice if:
- Your tooth shape won’t allow for proper contact with aligners.
- Teeth are severely rotated or tilted.
- A dental bridge or veneers are already in place.
- Other dental work will need to be done during treatment.
- Your orthodontist needs to adjust the midline of your teeth.
- Your orthodontist needs to adjust tooth height.
Our team will be able to assess your oral health and current state of your smile to see if Invisalign is the right option. If we determine Invisalign either won’t work or may not get the results you desire, we’ll suggest a different orthodontic treatment like traditional braces.
Schedule an appointment to start your orthodontic treatment plan.
If you’re interested in getting Invisalign, the next step is to schedule a consultation to get evaluated by our orthodontist.
During your consultation, we will examine your overall oral health and take digital 3-D scans of your teeth. If we find you are a candidate for Invisalign we will move onto computer modeling to finalize a digital plan for your aligners. You’ll even be able to see images of how your smile will eventually look before your first molds are made.
If our team finds that you aren’t an ideal candidate for Invisalign, we will recommend an alternative such as traditional braces. Our orthodontic care services also include braces for children, custom retainers, headgear, and assistance with orthodontic retention.
To schedule your appointment with our orthodontic team, you can either give us a call or use our convenient online Request an Appointment form.