Orthodontics comes from the Greek word “orthos” which means straight and “dontos” which means teeth. Orthodontics is a specialty in dentistry that focuses on the study, diagnosis, and treatment of improper bites called malocclusions. Disproportionate jaw relationships, tooth irregularities, or both can cause patients to have improper bites (i.e. – open bite, under bite, over bite, deep bite). Orthodontics may involve both tooth movement and facial growth modifications in order to achieve the desired results. However, in adult patients any movement is generally only tooth movement as growth modifications can only be completed in a growing patient. This is why it is important to be seen as a child and why surgical correction is needed more so in adult cases as compared to child cases.
When to Start Treatment?
Starting orthodontic treatment is ideal when the patients’ teeth and jaws are still growing. However, there’s no rule that adults cannot have orthodontic treatment. In fact approximately 40% of orthodontic patients in the United States are older than 18. In short it’s never too late to have your teeth straightened! Adults even if they are over 60 years old can fully benefit from orthodontic treatment.
Many adults have opted not to do orthodontic treatment in the past do to the esthetic concerns of having metal braces. The advances in clear aligner technology have solved this issue!