How old is too old to start orthodontic treatment and why would an adult even consider getting braces? There are a number of reasons ortho is an excellent choice for adults, and it’s not just a perfect smile. Orthodontic screenings for children begin by the age of seven because early intervention can help the Orthodontist take advantage of growth and development. While treatment for adults can’t take advantage of these growth spurts, it’s still quite possible for these patients to undergo therapy with excellent results.
Many adults have never considered ortho because they put their children first and neglect their dental health. Once the nest is empty, they may begin to consider straightening their teeth. However, they may not even realize that by properly aligning their teeth, they will also obtain a fully functional occlusion. Furthermore, braces can be advantageous in the placement of implants or bridges which are prevalent since more people are keeping their teeth for life.
There are some risks involved with adult Orthodontics. Some of the risks include Periodontal disease, Xerostomia, treatment time table, and osteoporosis.
Periodontal disease can play a major role in whether or not a patient can safely go through treatment because the condition of the periodontium is critical. Bone loss is serious and must be carefully considered before moving the teeth.
If a patient experiences xerostomia (dry mouth syndrome), the lack of saliva can cause demineralization and the dreaded “white spots” on the teeth. The risk of tooth decay also rises without sufficient saliva. Adults are more likely to be taking medications which can cause a dry mouth.
The amount of treatment time may also impact the adult patient who is unwilling to go through 2 years or more of treatment. However, most adults are very compliant making treatment time go much faster, and their home care is usually stellar following any instruction that is given to the letter.
Osteoporosis and osteoporosis medication can also play a role in treatment due to the possibility of Osteonecrosis.
Even with any of these risk factors, ortho treatment may still be safely possible as long as each specialist is involved with the case. The next time your patient asks you if it’s too late for Orthodontic treatment, consider referring to the Orthodontist, regardless of their age.