Teeth can be orthodontically moved at any age (provided that the condition of the supporting bone is healthy) and with the growing professional and social demands to look good, more and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment. This not only comprises the ‘younger’ adults in their twenties and thirties but also a significant number of ‘older’ adults in their forties and beyond.
The basic mechanism of moving teeth remains the same whether it is a child or an adult. However, it takes slightly longer to move teeth in adults as they have denser bone compared to children. But adults are generally extremely cooperative and more careful than children in following instructions due to which there is very little increase in overall treatment period when compared to children.
Adult orthodontic treatment can be comprehensive or partial. For all children and most adults, we recommend a comprehensive treatment plan wherein the entire dentition (tooth set) is treated to position the patient’s teeth in their ideal position for improving both their appearance as well as occlusion (bite).
However many adults do not desire lengthy treatment for full correction of their bite and want to only improve their smile. Their bite though not ideal may not be causing them any significant problems. In these cases we do a short phase of orthodontic treatment purely for esthetic improvement to correct the alignment of their front teeth. This is popularly called as ‘social six’ treatment wherein braces are put only on the front teeth to align them and enhance the patients smile and appearance.
In many adults, the improper positioning of teeth makes it impossible for a dentist to provide them good restorations (fillings or crowns) for decayed teeth or dentures and implants to replace missing teeth. A short phase of orthodontic treatment is recommended in these patients to properly position the relevant teeth so as to allow proper dental rehabilitation of these patients.
Problems due to severe discrepancies in the size and position of upper and lower jaws may not yield satisfactory results by only moving teeth by orthodontic treatment. Such problems can be dramatically improved by growth modification appliances in growing children. However, growth modification procedures are not possible in adults and may require a combination of orthodontic and surgical procedures for total correction (orthognathic surgery).
Most adults normally desire appliance options which are less visible. For them, we have the option of using tooth-colored braces (generally made of ceramic), lingual braces (braces placed on the inside surface of teeth) or in some cases using clear removable aligners for their orthodontic treatment.
Dr. Rohit Mehrotra is a certified provider of both “Invisalign” (arguably the most advanced clear aligner system worldwide) as well as “Incognito” (among the most highly rated customized lingual orthodontic appliance system globally). He is one of the first providers of a fully customized “Insignia” appliance in India. So at our clinic, we offer our adult patients the choice of various advanced orthodontic appliance options – both visible and invisible, to suit the need of each individual patient.
A 45-year-old female patient treated with ceramic braces.