Am I Too Old For Orthodontic Treatment?

In a perfect world, every smile would be straight and healthy. Unfortunately, the reality is that many people must contend with crooked teeth and poorly aligned bites. These issues go beyond the cosmetic appearance of a person’s smile and have the potential to negatively affect their oral health as well. Crowded and crooked teeth are more difficult to clean efficiently, increasing the chances of tooth decay and gum disease. Teeth that don’t come together properly when the jaws are closed can cause problems with chewing and swallowing. Poor tooth alignment can also put excessive strain on the chewing muscles, which can cause pain in the face, jaws, and neck. A bad bite can even cause difficulties with speech!  

Here at Dietrich Orthodontics, we hear from many adults who have gone a lifetime feeling self-conscious about the way their smiles look or feel. Some worry that they’ve waited too late, but the truth is, orthodontics can benefit patients of all ages! While childhood is the ideal time to make changes in the positioning of the teeth, we’re able to treat adults successfully as well. In fact, more adults than ever are exploring orthodontic care, with one in three current patients 18 or older. There’s never been a better time to achieve the healthy smile you’ve always wanted! 

To learn more about how orthodontic treatment with Dietrich Orthodontics can correct cosmetic concerns and issues with your bite, keep reading below. 

How does orthodontic treatment work?

The first step towards a straighter smile is a free consultation in our Canton or Alliance office. We’ll take photos and x-rays of your mouth, which will help Dr. Dietrich formulate a customized treatment plan for your unique needs. This will include the planned movements for your teeth. If you’ll be wearing braces, this will help him decide how to place the brackets. For example, if you have some teeth that need to be tilted, the positioning of those brackets will be different than the positioning of brackets for teeth that need to be turned.

Once the brackets have been affixed to the front surface of your teeth, the wire will be inserted. We use bends in this wire to provide different types of pressure on different teeth to encourage precise movements. This process of tooth movement is called remodeling.

Remodeling involves minor changes in the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. When pressure is put on the tooth, cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts will form around the tooth’s root. The pressure of the wire, the osteoblasts, and the osteoclasts together create a negative pressure on one side of the tooth. At this specific site, bone is removed. On the other side of that tooth, bone is reformed. As we put pressure on the tooth, the bone and the jaw is remodeled, moving it into the correct position over time.

This remodeling process is only able to continue as long as constant pressure is placed on the teeth. As bone is absorbed on one side and then deposited on the other side, the teeth can move. Once that pressure stops—like it does once braces are removed—the teeth will begin to settle into their new positions. However, most will begin drifting back towards their old positions over time. 

This drifting is why all of our patients are given retainers once the active phase of treatment is over. It’s important to always wear your retainer as directed by Dr. Dietrich! Doing so will help your beautiful new smile in place and prevent natural drifting over time. 

Am I Too Old For Orthodontic Treatment?

What treatment options are available to adult patients?

Here at Dietrich Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer our adult patients the Damon system! The Damon system uses unique high-tech wires to straighten the teeth faster with fewer adjustments and less pressure. Unlike traditional braces that use elastic tie-ins, Damon braces are self-ligating, which means there’s no need for elastic or metal ties. The braces are attached to a “shape memory” wire that is very light and that connects slide brackets without the pressure that traditional elastics often produce. 

The tie-ins typically used with traditional braces can cause friction and pressure, making treatment less comfortable. This can sometimes add to the total treatment time as well. 

The Damon system uses a patented slide mechanism to hold the archwire in place while allowing teeth to move freely without as much friction. Since there are no elastic ties, no tightening is required! Damon braces are also less likely to attract plaque since they tend to be easier to clean. 

Damon braces are extremely efficient at fixing a wide variety of orthodontic issues, and are often able to align the teeth in less time than other treatments might. They are also designed to be more discreet than traditional braces, but clear brackets are available for those who want a truly subtle way to straighten their smile. These brackets are stain-resistant and perfect for our image-conscious teen and adult patients!

Get the smile you’ve waited a lifetime for with Dietrich Orthodontics

Whether you’re 8 or 80, the same physiological process applies when it comes to moving the teeth through bone. Adults do have denser bone tissue than children and teens, so treatment can sometimes take a little longer, but your age won’t keep us from giving you a healthy smile you can be proud of! 

Orthodontic treatment offers more than just cosmetic appeal and will improve both your oral and total body health. No matter what your age, the chance for achieving the smile you’ve always wanted hasn’t passed you by! If you’re in Stark County or the surrounding areas and want to learn more about how orthodontics can transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Dietrich. Don’t miss out on the smile you deserve—take the first step towards improved oral today!