Doctor's Answers (1)
As the society becomes more affluent and it’s people become more dentally aware, we are seeing an increasing number of adults turning to orthodontic treatment these days, especially with new technology and more esthetic orthodontic solutions such as Invisalign becoming more predictable. In fact, about 65% of my patients are adult patients.
I am often asked by my adult patients if they are too old for orthodontic treatment. I often told them my oldest patient is 65 years old. While there is no age limit to orthodontic treatment, age does have some impact on the treatment outcome.
As we age, our skin start to lose collagen and skin becomes less full and wrinkles start to appear. In older adult patients, when there is major retraction of teeth during orthodontic treatment, the lip which lies on the teeth will always move in and as a result, patients may have a deepen smile lines and wrinkles may appear, making the patient appear older. This is more often seen in extraction cases where by the position of the front teeth are not properly controlled. Patients and orthodontist should have a proper discussion to understand this side effect and while extractions are not avoidable in some cases due to severity of crowding and gum conditions, the orthodontist may be able to offer solutions to minimize the negative aging impact on this form of treatment.
It is common that adult orthodontic patients to present with other dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum recession, missing tooth and crack tooth. These underlying conditions need to be considered when planning for orthodontic treatment. Patients with underlying dental problems need to be treated in a multidisciplinary approach to give the best dental result not just base on esthetics but on overall dental health as well. Research has shown that orthodontic treatment can be used to treat some gum conditions in conjunction with gum treatment.
Adult patients with crowded teeth may also have experienced more black spaces between teeth once teeth are aligned. These can be managed orthodontically by doing some controlled reshaping of teeth contact to minimize the spacing.
The overall treatment time may be longer in adult patients.
Should you consider doing orthodontic treatment, please discuss with your orthodontist all your concerns so that you can have a better understanding and find the best treatment solution for your needs.
Dr Enrica Sham