Straightening your smile through adulthood
Straightening your smile through adulthood
Painful rubberbands. Orthodontist appointments.
These are typically the things of adolescents. For some, their late teen years.
But, in recent years, adults have been investing more and more in straight teeth.
“In the past 10 years we have seen a large increase in adult cases,” said Holly Moerer, a certified orthodontic assistant with Cosse and Silmon Orthodontics.
She attributes that to strides in the science of teeth straightening, which is far removed from its sometimes comical looking, sometimes painful depictions on television.
“Orthodontics has come a long way since the days of scary-looking headgear and bulky, uncomfortable brackets,” Moerer said.
Megan Ho, 31, agrees. Ho, a patient at Cosse and Silmon, recently had her braces removed and is quite proud of the results.“My teeth are perfect,” she said.
Her need for orthodontic care began after the removal of her wisdom teeth. She was told without braces her teeth would gradually shift, which would affect her bite. So, she made an appointment at Cosse and Silmon.
Ho opted for clear-ceramic braces on the top and metal braces on the bottom.
“I didn’t mind them really,” she recalled.
Ho’s orthodontic procedure did hit one complication: a wedding.“I was supposed to wear them for two years, but I had a friend’s wedding in a year-anda-half.”
So, she asked: “Can you fast track me?” Not to let down a patient, the staff at Cosse and Silmon did fast track her, allowing Ho to be free of braces six months sooner.
“There were sometimes when the braces were painful,” Ho said.
Ho also admitted she received some minor teasing from her friends.
“A little bit, at first,” she said. “I have a young looking face, though, so no one really thought anything of it ... Anyway, it looks clear unless you were right up on me.”
But, now that the braces are gone?
This isn’t an unusual reaction for Cosse and Silmon Orthodontics.
“A lot of our adult patients celebrate their braces and embrace doing something for themselves,” Moerer said.
Of course, the reasons for adults to get braces do vary by patient, Dr.
Jeff Silmon said. “Some adults never received orthodontic treatment as children to correct problems, such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites and underbites,” Silmon said.
“Some adults had orthodontic treatment as children but didn’t wear their retainers, causing their teeth to return to the way they were before treatment.”
In Ho’s case, she never had braces as a child because of a lack of problems.
She did want them; however, but as she put it: “My parents opted out.”
Before committing to ceramic and metallic braces, Ho said she did consider Invisalign, a clear, plastic alternative to traditional braces that also help align the teeth. For Ho, though, Invisalign was not considered a good option.
Per Silmon, a patient’s longing to get straight teeth on the down low is common.
“Most adults do inquire about Invisalign, initially,” he said. “Although it can be a great option, not everyone qualifies for Invisalign treatment.”
“In some cases braces can reduce treatment time significantly as opposed to Invisalign.”
As for the differences between orthodontic care for adults versus children, they’re doesn’t appear to be any.
“The application of orthodontic appliances is the same for adult and children,” Silmon said. “We do find that adult treatment does take a little bit longer, because we do not have growth on your side.”
Silmon said the jaw positioning of children is more pliable. This allows orthodontists to use that continuing growth to actually correct the jaw’s location.
For males, that growth ends between the ages of 18-21, he said. For females, it’s between the ages of 16-18.
As Silmon pointed out, “Left untreated, these problems may result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.”
It appears Ho has company, because more and more adults are considering orthodontics.“We don’t have a definite number, but can say for sure the number is climbing,” Moerer said.
More on Invisalign:
Invisalign is promoted as both comfortable and removable on its website – invisalign.com. The site also claims patients can eat whatever they want, which can be a downside to traditional braces.