Are you unhappy with your smile but worried you’re too old for braces or aligners? The good news is, orthodontic treatment isn’t just for kids and teens. In fact, according to the Canadian Association of Orthodontists, more than one in four orthodontic patients in Canada are over the age of 21.
At Aura Orthodontics in Surrey and Langley, BC, we can straighten your teeth at any age. To help give you a clear picture of adult orthodontics, we’ll be debunking some common myths.
Myth #1: Adult braces will be noticeable and uncomfortable.
Getting braces as an adult is much different than it was a few decades ago. Metal braces used to be pretty standard, but that has changed. While metal braces are still an option, the ones we use today are smaller and more streamlined. The brackets are paired with thin wires that exert gentle force, making them not only less noticeable, but also more comfortable than they used to be.
More commonly, our Langley and Surrey adult braces patients opt for clear braces or Invisalign®. Our clear braces are strong and blend in with your smile, so they’re less noticeable than metal braces. Again, the smooth brackets and thin wires may reduce discomfort.
Invisalign, on the other hand, doesn’t use brackets and wires at all. Dr. Vishal Sharma, Dr. Everett Lin and Dr. Julia Koo, certified specialists in orthodontics, plan out your treatment on a digital, 3D model of your mouth. The Invisalign lab then prints out a series of removable, clear, BPA-free plastic aligners based on the doctor’s specifications. The aligners are discreet and comfortable, and as you wear each set of aligners in the series, your smile gradually takes shape.
Myth #2: Invisalign and braces for adults aren’t that effective.
When are you too old for braces or Invisalign? Really, never. As long as your teeth and gums are healthy, or any dental concerns are well managed, we can shift the teeth into place. If you’ve seen adult braces before and after photos, you’ve probably noticed that patients of all ages have improved their smiles.
Yes, it is true that certain orthodontic problems, particularly those that are skeletal in nature, can be treated more quickly and easily if a patient is still growing. In rare cases, for a severe skeletal problem in an adult like a significant underbite, surgical orthodontics could be necessary. But thanks to advances in diagnostic and treatment planning technology, as well as the treatments themselves, we’re able to address more cases than ever before without surgery and non-extraction orthodontics for adults is becoming much more common.
If you have an orthodontic concern that involves the positioning of the teeth, both braces and Invisalign can effectively move the teeth into their ideal places, regardless of age. For a problem with the bite (the way the top and bottom teeth come together), we may pair braces or aligners with auxiliaries like rubber bands or even additional fixed appliances. The braces or aligners will straighten the teeth in each arch, while the auxiliaries will offer the connective forces needed to improve the relationship between the upper and lower jaw.
Myth #3: Treatment will take a long time and require a lot of appointments.
How long does Invisalign take to work? How long do braces take? The duration of your treatment will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your case. If you had orthodontic treatment in the past and you experienced a relapse, you may only need limited treatment. If that’s the case, you could finish Invisalign or braces in under six months. If this is the first time you’re seeking treatment, it could last closer to 18 months. Rest assured, you won’t be in braces or clear aligners for years.
Plus, with digital treatment planning, aligners that are pre-programmed with specific tooth movements and body heat-activated braces wires, your teeth move according to Dr. Sharma, Dr. Koo or Dr. Lin’s plan wherever you are. This means you’ll only need to come in for check-ups every six to eight weeks or so. These visits are quick and easy and simply a way for us to monitor your progress and hygiene.
At Aura Orthodontics, we know how busy adult braces and Invisalign patients are and we strive to make treatment convenient. We have three locations, flexible scheduling and financing and on-time appointments to ensure your smile journey works for you.
Myth #4: You can’t get braces or Invisalign with missing teeth or dental restorations.
A lot of adults have had dental work, including fillings and dental crowns. While if you have active decay, you’ll need to have it treated prior to getting braces or Invisalign, if your mouth is healthy and you have restorations, we can still straighten your teeth. A filling or dental crown won’t have much impact on your treatment because the tooth’s root is still intact, so the tooth will move in response to pressure from your appliance just as it normally would.
If you have a dental bridge or a dental implant, it will take a little more in-depth treatment planning. A dental bridge will move as one unit and a dental implant is fused with the bone and actually won’t move in response to braces or aligners. It’s important to visit a doctor experienced in adult orthodontics like Dr. Sharma, Dr. Lin and Dr. Koo, because they have the knowledge to create a treatment plan that accounts for your restoration and improves your smile and your bite.
And, contrary to popular belief, you can get braces or Invisalign with missing teeth. Depending on which tooth is missing and your specific case, we may be able to close the gap with braces or Invisalign so that it looks as if your tooth was never gone. In other cases, orthodontic treatment is needed to create enough space for you to replace the tooth with a dental implant or bridge.
Myth #5: Adult orthodontics is just about cosmetics.
Many patients are motivated to get orthodontic treatment to improve the appearance of their smile. There’s nothing wrong with that! Our Surrey and Langley, BC orthodontists want you to look and feel your best and they’ll design a smile that complements your unique facial features.
However, if you’re wondering, is Invisalign worth it for adults? Are there any real benefits of braces aside from a nice smile? The answer is, absolutely. Having straight teeth and a stable bite:
- May reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Straight teeth are easier to brush and floss, allowing you to more effectively remove plaque and food debris. This can lower the chances of getting cavities. Eliminating plaque around the gumline helps ward off gum disease too. Gum disease in its earliest stages is called gingivitis. Gingivitis can be reversed with professional dental care and a strong oral hygiene routine.
If not treated, gingivitis advances into periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease. Periodontitis can’t be cured, but it can be managed. Uncontrolled periodontitis can spread to the bone, leading to bone and tissue loss and, eventually, tooth loss. Periodontitis has also been tied to a number of health conditions, including heart disease and respiratory disease.
- Lets you chew properly. When your chewing system (i.e., teeth, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), chewing muscles, etc.) are in harmony, which is one of the aims of orthodontic treatment, you’ll be able to comfortably eat a wide variety of foods. This helps to prevent nutritional deficiencies. You’ll also be able to chew foods fully to facilitate optimal digestion.
- Prevents uneven or excessive wear of the enamel. When your bite or teeth are misaligned, certain teeth end up bearing the brunt of your chewing forces. This causes them to wear down prematurely. They can end up looking short or misshapen. As the enamel erodes, it can also make you more susceptible to tooth sensitivity and decay. Braces or Invisalign treatment will ensure the teeth are in their ideal places and the bite forces are balanced properly to keep all of the teeth strong and healthy.
- Moves teeth out of harm’s way. Overjet teeth or protruding front teeth are typically the first to be damaged if you sustain a mouth injury. Getting braces as an adult will move these teeth to their proper positions and make them less likely to get chipped, cracked or knocked out.
- Can alleviate headaches, jaw pain, TMJ pain and other bite-related discomforts. Misaligned teeth and a bad bite (malocclusion) put undue pressure on the TMJ, chewing muscles and certain teeth. This, in turn, can cause headaches, jaw and TMJ pain or dysfunction, neck aches and even earaches. Straightening the teeth and creating a healthy bite may reduce the pressure and help with bite-related discomfort.
- Boosts confidence and self-esteem! The benefits of adult orthodontics go beyond cosmetics, but achieving a smile you’re proud to show off has benefits of its own. When you love how your teeth look and you smile freely, it can help you make better first impressions and give you a huge increase in confidence and self-esteem. This will trickle over into all areas of your life, including your relationships and career.
Myth #6: Straightening your teeth as an adult is expensive.
Orthodontic treatment might be more affordable than you think. How much do adult braces cost? How much does Invisalign cost? The cost varies by patient and depends on the complexity of your case and the appliance you choose.
When you visit Aura Orthodontics for a consultation, we’ll take diagnostic records and one of our expert orthodontists will perform an exam. Once they have a diagnosis and personalized treatment recommendations, we’ll be able to let you know exactly how much your Invisalign or braces treatment will cost.
In an effort to make braces and Invisalign affordable, we accept insurance plans from any insurance provider. We also offer flexible financing options, including interest-free monthly payment plans. A knowledgeable team member will sit down with you at your consultation to work out a financing plan that fits your budget.
Interested in Adult Orthodontics in Surrey or Langley, BC?
There’s no age limit on having a straighter smile. The team at Aura Orthodontics is experienced in adult orthodontics and offers treatment options to fit your lifestyle. Schedule a consultation at our Scottsdale, Guildford or Langley office to get started!