The largest growing segment seeking orthodontic treatment is adults. About 20 percent of patients are over 18 these days. Many factors have contributed to this phenomenon. Increased dental awareness, higher esthetic standards, and greater acceptance of adult braces are probably the most likely. Esthetic “invisible” braces such as ceramic brackets and “Invisalign” have helped to increase this momentum.
Many adults who did not have the opportunity as children are getting braces today, as well as ones that have developed new malocclusions over time. Our teeth and jaws are a very dynamic biologic structure that continues to change as we age. This is why malocclusions can develop later where they were not present at an earlier time. This current knowledge supports the case for retention appliances which will be discussed in another section. Treatment for adults is a bit different as growth is not a factor anymore.
Therefore, malocclusions that are mainly based on bone discrepancies will likely have a surgical component for ideal treatment in adults, or camouflage treatment in patients opting for a non-surgical approach. Also, most adults will have existing dental conditions (eg. restorations, periodontal (gum) disease, or missing teeth) that may necessitate modifications, but not preclude treatment. Most anybody at any age can have, and benefit from, orthodontic treatment, provided it is necessary and practical. We will be able to advise you of this. We will also recommend no treatment if your situation does not fall within these parameters. Our objective as a professional is to advise and provide what is best for you, not to treat everything under the sun!