We’re seeing more and more adult orthodontic patients these days, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Appliances that are barely noticeable have been developed to give adults more discreet choices when it comes to orthodontic treatment. And many adults realize that investing in a smile makeover can have significant benefits, socially and professionally. Straightening teeth can be an important part of that confidence-boosting makeover process.
Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so there’s no such thing as being too old for braces. However, orthodontic treatment for adults is different in two important respects: For one thing, the growth and development of the jaws is complete in adults, so changes in actual jaw structure can’t be accomplished with orthodontic appliances in the way they can with a growing child.
Secondly, periodontal (gum) disease is more prevalent in adults than in children. While you are wearing the orthodontic appliances, gentle forces will be applied to your teeth so they can move through their surrounding bone. Periodontal health plays a key role in all of this; if the gum tissues are not healthy during orthodontics, bone loss can result and weaken the long-term prognosis of your teeth. So any gum disease must be brought under control before orthodontic treatment begins. And to maintain your periodontal health, you will need to make sure to have regular professional cleanings during the orthodontics while maintaining good oral hygiene at home.
All orthodontic appliances work essentially the same way: by employing light, constant force to move teeth into proper alignment. But how we apply these forces can vary, as numerous innovations have become available in recent years. Some of the newer, less visible orthodontic appliances have been designed to blend more easily into an adult’s personal and professional lifestyle. Types of orthodontic appliances include:
This is probably what you think of when you picture someone wearing braces: small metal brackets bonded to the front of the teeth. A thin wire runs through the brackets and is attached on either end to metal bands that go around a back molar.
Instead of highly noticeable metal brackets, you can have clear ones made of ceramic, plastic or a combination of both. They are hardly visible, except for the thin wire running through, but they are more susceptible to breakage than metal braces.
As an alternative to the fixed type of orthodontic appliances mentioned above, clear aligners are removable. They are actually a series of clear plastic “trays” that fit over your teeth exactly. Each tray is part of a series of trays that move your teeth a little bit at a time until they are in the proper position. Your trays are designed with the help of specialized computer software that generates a virtual model of your bite.
These metal braces are bonded to the back of your teeth (tongue side) so that no one can see them. That is the plus side. On the minus side, they can be more difficult to get used to wearing, and are more expensive than traditional braces.
Wearing a retainer after orthodontic treatment is crucial, no matter which type of appliance you choose and what age you happen to be. Teeth that are not held in place by a retainer long enough for new supporting bone to develop around them can drift back to their original positions, and that’s certainly not something we — or you — want to see happen. We will make sure to instruct you on how to retain your new, more beautiful smile so that it continues to make you look and feel great for years to come.
The Magic of Orthodontics
Proper alignment of the teeth is basic to “Smile Design.” Their position dictates how they work together and affects the way you look and smile. Only orthodontic treatment can move teeth into the right position. Simply put, when things look right, they probably are right.
Learn the basics of smile analysis and design and whether the magic of orthodontics will work for youRead Article
Orthodontics for the Older Adult
Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so there’s no such thing as “too old” for braces. In fact, nowadays about one out of every five orthodontic patients is an adult. Yet this figure represents only a small portion of adults who could actually benefit from orthodontic treatmentRead Article
Clear Orthodontic Aligners
Orthodontic treatment using clear aligners consists of a series of aligners that you change about every two weeks over a course of treatment lasting six to eighteen months depending on how much movement is neededRead Article
RE: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
To our valued patients,
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), President Trump, the American Dental Association and the Hawaii Dental Association are recommending all dentists postpone nonemergency dental procedures for 2 weeks. Our practice is committed to protecting the community and avoiding using valuable resources that our first responders and frontline healthcare providers will need.
Our office will be closed effective today, Wednesday, March 18, and we plan to resume regular hours on Wednesday, April 1. If you are experiencing a true dental emergency including swelling or severe tooth pain, please call your general dentist office, and listen closely as emergency contact info will be available. For all nonemergent questions, please email us at [email protected].
We are so sorry for the burden this places on your schedules, but your continued health and safety are our number one priority. Our office is working diligently to reschedule all patients with existing appointments within the next 2 weeks. We will continue to evaluate the situation as it evolves and determine on a weekly basis when it is appropriate for us to return to normal orthodontic patient care. We ask for your compassion and understanding at this time as we all work together to keep Hawaii healthy.
Your Morita Orthodontics Ohana