Because braces are so often worn by younger people (kids and teenagers), most people believe that if someone’s bite hasn’t been corrected by the time they are an adult, it is too late. This couldn’t be more wrong! It is never too late to correct problems with your orthodonture. It’s true that it is easier to heal problems in kids and teens, because they aren’t done growing yet, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible in adults.
The reason it is easier for a child or teenager to undergo orthodontics is because the bones in their jaws are still growing and haven’t set in yet. The pressure and the changes that orthodontics causes can be difficult for an adult jaw to deal with. It will, sadly, probably be more painful for you to deal with orthodontia as an adult. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still give it a try.
Another major difference between adolescent and childhood orthodontics and adult orthodontics is that the procedures take longer to complete. This isn’t because adults adjust more slowly. It is because the orthodontist has to go more slowly with the procedures and the different apparatuses he can make you wear. The reason he goes more slowly is because he wants your adult jaw to have time to heal itself as it adjusts to the changes that are happening. After all, the jaw is more than just bones. It involves muscles too. Those muscles can be tugged on as your teeth move to their new positions. Going more slowly helps your muscles adjust.
Many adult patients who go through orthodontic procedures complain of loose teeth. This happens for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is that teeth are, generally, looser in an adult than they are in a child. This is due to the fact that a child’s teeth haven’t had time to truly anchor themselves yet to the jaw via a filament system yet. An adult’s filaments have to be loosened, which loosens the tooth a little bit more than usual. Don’t worry, though, the filaments will become strong again after the teeth have stopped moving and are in fixed positions for a while.
The primary advantage with going in for orthodontics as an adult is that the payment is up to you. How is this an advantage? Well, as a kid, you were on your parents’ insurance so you had to have your treatments according to what they could pay and when they could pay it. As an adult you can save up for a while to make sure that you get to have your whole treatment when you need it—that there are no gaps or anything that could hinder the changes you need to make. There are also more treatment options available for adults than there are for kids.
So many adults thought they wouldn’t ever be able to correct their teeth because their parents couldn’t (or wouldn’t) take them to the orthodontist when they were younger. The truth is that you can always fix your teeth. It is never too late to do the things you need to do to change your smile for the better (both for your health and your appearance).