Am I Too Old for Orthodontic Treatment?

Absolutely not, there is no age to old for orthodontic treatment! In fact, our oldest patient currently in treatment is 86 years old. Orthodontic treatment for adults, though different than treatment in children, is just as important. As we age, so does our smile. We find many of our adult patients have been thinking about treatment for some time, or have been told by their dentist that treatment would be beneficial. Orthodontic treatment, commonly Invisalign in our adult patients, will allow for improvement in appearance along with a healthier, more functional bite.

A dental malocclusion by definition means that the teeth do not line up properly. The process of aging can lead to, or compound, an already misaligned bite. Here are three common issues we see and can correct with adult orthodontics.

Crowding or spacing

Adults have a higher bone density than children but over time our jawbone loses density which can cause the lower front teeth, in particular, to become crowded. Wear of teeth and loss of teeth as we age also increases the likelihood of spacing and crowding occurring. If room is available within our mouths, teeth can and will spread out. If pressure exists on our teeth, crowding will develop. Over the course of our lifetime, our habits may accelerate all of this. When the swallowing reflex happens correctly for instance, the tongue presses against the roof of the mouth. Some, however, are accustomed to pushing their tongue against their front teeth when they swallow. Overtime, this pushes the teeth forward, causing a gap to form.

Tooth chipping and wear

Tooth wear occurs naturally over time, but a bite that is misaligned will cause teeth to wear more quickly and unevenly. Impacted by stress,

many adults report increased clenching and grinding, which further aggravates the issue. Tooth wear can lead to the need for extensive and expensive dental work, that otherwise could be avoided by correcting the underlying problem.

Tooth movement from lack of retainer wear or from wearing an ill-fitting retainer

If you had orthodontic treatment as a child or young adult and are no longer wearing a retainer it is likely you have had some shifting of your teeth. Maybe your retainer broke or perhaps it was lost and you never replaced it. The amount of shifting that has occurred will influence the amount of time needed for re-treatment. An Invisalign refresh is the ideal way to get your smile back to where it once was.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), in 2018, one in four orthodontic patients was an adult. Now in 2024, that number is one in three. If you have doubts about taking the next steps to pursue this, remember, the sooner you start the longer you’ll get to enjoy your happier, healthier smile!

If this has sparked your interest, we’d love to meet you for a complimentary consultation.

We can review your options and answer any question you might have. In our office we treat both children and adults with braces and Invisalign. Consultations including initial x-rays are free of charge and no referral is needed, simply give us a call at 315-471-6790.