Orthodontics is possible, even if you're no longer a teenager.
These days, more and more adults are discovering the benefits of orthodontic treatment in later life. Age should not be considered a barrier to enhancing the appearance, health and function of your smile with orthodontics. Straightening crowded teeth can both improve the look of your smile and make hygiene and chewing easier.
Now a days, modern treatment programs are often accelerated. Results still achieved safely, yet faster than previously thought possible.
Orthodontics in adulthood may range from straightening slightly crowded teeth, to being but one corrective element of a complete smile makeover. Teeth can be realigned with orthodontics before a full mouth rehabilitation program. Then reconstructions such as veneers, crowns, bridges or dental implants follow, to repair a significantly compromised smile.
Advances in modern orthodontics have enabled greater flexibility with treatments. Patients concerned about the look of conventional braces may now be suited to alternative invisible treatment options.
Invisalign™(clear aligners) or Incognito® lingual braces (braces on the back of teeth) are available for patients wishing to conceal the appearance of orthodontic treatment.
Referral To Specialist Orthodontists
Accurate skeletal and dental diagnosis is key to identifying the correct treatment pathway and a successful orthodontic outcome. An appropriate post treatment retention program will also help minimize the likelihood of treatment relapse (teeth re-crowding).
At our practice, we choose to refer all our orthodontic patients to trusted specialist Orthodontists. Orthodontists utilise the latest advances in technology and treatment protocol. Specialists in orthodontics also understand diagnosis, treatment and retention to an advanced level. They can achieve the most stable aesthetic and functional results for the long term in adult patients.
Preparing for Orthodontic Treatment - Considerations
Your mouth should be healthy prior to commencing orthodontic treatment. This is important because orthodontics may make both dental treatment, and oral hygiene, more challenging. Consistent general dental care is also important during orthodontic treatment, to keep your mouth healthy and prevent damage or problems developing while you are undergoing treatment.
If dental problems arise during orthodontics, your treatment plan could be interrupted or delayed. It is vital teeth are not weakened or damaged because of unattended dental problems, poor oral hygiene or poor dietary choices during orthodontics.
Poor oral care during orthodontic treatment could affect the strength and final appearance of your teeth and therefore the overall look of your smile. It could even lead to permanent, unsightly enamel "scars" termed white spot lesions (enamel demineralisation), weakened teeth and possibly more corrective dental care in the future.
Gum problems such as soreness, shrinkage and periodontitis (gum disease) could also occur during orthodontics. Oral hygiene must be at an acceptable level and consistently good throughout orthodontic treatment. Poor oral hygiene techniques should be corrected prior to commencing treatment.
When gum disease is present and the problem is ignored, even mild to moderate undiagnosedgum disease could turn into an advanced issue leading to tooth loss post orthodontic treatment. People with gum problems can have orthodontic treatment - but only after their condition has been treated and deemed stable. Patients with gums problems will need more frequent review and teeth cleaning appointments for orthodontics to progress safely.
Before Commencing Orthodontic Treatment
At Melbourne Dentistry, we recommend a comprehensive dental examination with radiographs (to Bite-Wing standard) and full mouth periodontal probing prior to orthodontic referral. General dental needs can then be addressed prior to starting orthodontic treatment.
Dental decay should be restored promptly and preventive therapies initiated. We can teach you how to best clean and maintain your teeth between professional visits.
For adults with gum disease referral to a Periodontist may be necessary to treat and stabilise their periodontitis before orthodontics is considered.
During Orthodontic Care
At our practice, we believe a professionally advised oral hygiene and tooth remineralisation program should support patients at regular intervals during orthodontics. At Melbourne Dentistry, we schedule review appointments specific to your needs during orthodontic treatment.
Also, protecting your smile with a suitable sports mouth guard while playing sports is essential throughout your orthodontic program.
On Completing Orthodontics
When orthodontic treatment is completed, we recommend a thorough dental examination to check all tooth surfaces (again, to Bite-Wing standard). Teeth should also be professionally cleaned, ensuring any residual orthodontic cement is removed.
Remineralising therapies can be prescribed to strengthen enamel surfaces bonded during orthodontic treatment. Ongoing hygiene advice will also help you maintain health while wearing fixed retainers.
After orthodontic care, patients often consider further treatments such as teeth whitening, dental crowns or veneers to improve the look and colour of newly straightened teeth. We can advise you regarding options to manage any additional aesthetic concerns.