What Are the Benefits of Adult Orthodontics?

All You Need To Know About Adult Orthodontics.

Is adult orthodontic treatment even ideal? How old are you? Yes, you, the one reading this article. Are you twenty-five? Maybe you are forty or even fifty years old. We know there is an increasing concern to verify if it’s worth it to get braces at twenty-five or older. Many patients are even asking, am I too old for braces? or can I get braces at forty?

So, we find it interesting to debunk a myth many adults have concerning getting teeth aligned at a mature age. The good news is that addressing orthodontic issues in adult patients has increased significantly. The American Association of Orthodontics reports an increase of 28% in adult patients between 2012 and 2018.

These figures are astounding compared to reports during the sixties, where only 4,37% of orthodontic patients were adults. It is fair to assume that the revamping increase of patients goes along with the communications era and access to information helping adults make informed decisions about their oral health and teeth conservation.

But, more specifically, why have concerns in orthodontics increased in adults? We know the internet has much to do with it, but there must be something else. The answer lies in aesthetics and how more adults care about living a healthy lifestyle. Keeping healthy teeth all the way through their elderly age became a goal.

Keep reading this educational article. Here we talk about various questions you might have asked yourself but haven’t had the time to Google them or might have seemed obvious, but they weren’t apparent.

Can You Get Braces as an Adult?

Yes, you can get braces at any age. The main limitation of having braces to straighten your teeth and get a functional bite relates to your oral health status. So, here is the first debunked myth. Oral health and not age define the feasibility of getting braces or clear aligners at a mature age. Now, you might be asking yourself, Why?

There is no doubt that identifying and treating malocclusion issues at earlier ages is the best choice to prevent enduring a more complex approach to treatment in maturity. But aside from the fact that a mature jaw is less malleable, some other complexities can get in the way, making treatment challenging.

Assuming a forty-year-old patient with crossbite that has never had braces. The patient’s dysfunctional occlusion produced abnormal wear of molars generating deep cracks that made it impossible for a dentist to save the broken tooth and recommended extraction.

An orthodontist might have to work with a prosthodontist to define a course of action that involves treating the malocclusion while keeping space for an implant. So, with this short reference, you might make a mental picture of why treating a malocclusion early is wise.

But nothing is lost yet. While treating malocclusion at an adult age might be more difficult, it isn’t impossible. Keep in mind there are complexities, and orthodontists possess the training to overcome them. So, change your previous misconception. Getting a straight and beautiful smile is possible at any age.

How Long Do Braces Take To Straighten Teeth for Adults?

There is no definite answer to this question. Factually, straightening teeth in adults takes longer than it takes for kids and teens. This explanation concerns kids’ bodies constantly changing, making it easier to perform teeth and jaw displacements.

In short, for instance, First Phase Orthodontic Treatment to expand a kid’s jaw seems painful but is quite simple. A kid’s maxilla develops into two halves that fuse later in late puberty. Orthodontists take advantage of the kid’s body responses to treatment to anticipate future problems that would be harder to address after the body fully develops.

Can I Wear Braces if I Have Periodontal Disease?

Yes, you can have braces and endure orthodontic treatment if you present symptoms of gingivitis, which is the less invasive and easier-to-address periodontal problem typology. However, periodontal disease subdivides into several levels according to its severity and the damage it causes to the dental supporting structure.

This means patients wearing braces and developing periodontal disease must communicate immediately with Dr. Leemin and Dr. Handick for a pre-evaluation of the status of their gums. In most cases, early detection might help diagnose gingivitis which is a mild case that requires a focus on techniques for proper oral hygiene clean-ups.

However, few cases might advance to a more severe and destructive periodontal disease that requires a different approach. Let’s revise the various stages of periodontal disease according to its symptoms and aggressiveness with the dental supporting structure:


Patients present tender and swollen gums and mild bleeding at brushing their teeth. This is the least invasive of all periodontal disease cases, and dental specialists usually recommend patients enhance their hygiene and instruct on some specific brushing and flossing techniques that will fix the problem.

Stage One Periodontitis – Initial

Any periodontitis level, other than gingivitis, compromises the periodontal structure. Stage One Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis has been left untreated, extending the inflammation of the gums. An extended inflammatory process damages the periodontal ligament, which are fibers that join the tooth’s roots to the tooth socket. Symptoms don’t differ from those of gingivitis, making gingivitis detection imperious to avoid soft tissue destruction.

Stage Two Periodontitis – Moderate

The main difference between this and the previous stage is the level of microbial damage produced in the ligaments of teeth. At this point, damage severity is irreversible. Therefore, it can only be treated with root planing and scaling to remove the plaque as near the joints as possible.

Stage Three Periodontitis – Severe

Severe periodontitis is invasive and highly destructive and might potentially cause tooth loss. Patients need to identify its symptoms, which might include:

  • Bad breath.
  • A bitter food and taste sensation.
  • Receding gums.
  • Teeth loosening.
  • Suppurating abscesses with matter.

Stage Four Periodontitis – Severe

This is the final and most detrimental of all stages that could lead to losing several teeth, and the remaining teeth might not have enough support from the gums and bone and start wiggling at the bite and potentially fall.

Moreover, other concerns relate to overall health deterioration. For example, an infection might spread through the bloodstream. Some other disastrous consequences include the development of diabetes and suffering a heart attack.

With this brief explanation and back to the original question, an orthodontist might not recommend the installation of braces if a patient suffers from periodontal disease at any level, this includes gingivitis.

However, an orthodontist might refer the case to a periodontist for treatment and would abide to start therapy after obtaining clearance from a periodontist, stating that the patient is ready to undergo orthodontic treatment.

But what happens if a patient develops gum disease during braces treatment? In those circumstances, gingivitis requires a more thoughtful hygiene approach to avoid entering subsequent destroying stages.

At last, if a patient moves to the next periodontal disease level during orthodontic treatment, the course of action implies suspending adjustments and working with a periodontist to define a clinical path and resolve the periodontitis before resuming treatment with braces.

Can Braces Fix Jaw Alignment in Adults?

Absolutely yes. Furthermore, some adults present jaw misalignments that make their facial profile asymmetric. For instance, a protrusion of the upper jaw by an overbite produces a visual appearance of a retracted chin. Conversely, an underbite makes the lower jaw look disengaged to the front making the entire mandible look unaesthetic bigger.

Does Orthodontics Help Solve Tmj Disorder in Adults?

Absolutely yes, orthodontic treatment is one of several non-invasive solutions an orthodontist might offer to alleviate TMJ disorders in adult patients. TMJ disorder therapy and treatment with braces include using a night device like a guard that helps the temporomandibular ligaments to reduce inflammation relaxing them and alleviating soreness.

Moreover, in some other cases, TMJ disorder occurs due to teeth misalignments that cause bite dysfunctionalities. An abnormal occlusion might produce an overload of work to the mandible ligaments producing a strain. So braces can help achieve a better occlusion alleviating the pressure on the mandible.

At Hillsdale Orthodontics, Dr. Leemin and Dr. Handick offer TMJ-TMD treatment Portland. A TMJ Orthodontist devises the most suitable treatment option for temporomandibular joint disorder with options that include nightguards, splints, and braces.

What Are the Types of Braces for Adults?

As we head to the last part of this educating article, we must give our readers options about the different orthodontic options available for adults.

Clear Aligners

Orthodontics evolution with Invisalign marked a path for an imperceptible and aesthetic orthodontic system that brings a vast array of benefits for patients that include:

  • Enhanced comfort
  • Shorter treatment times for mild to moderate malocclusion cases
  • Improved hygiene with detachable trays also helps in preventing gum disease during treatment.

Metal Braces

Traditional braces made of high-grade stainless steel and include components such as NiTi wires developed by NASA are exceptional in treating mild to severe malocclusion cases, thanks to their sturdiness and memory-like superelastic properties that translate into superior strain forces and control.

Clear Braces

Cosmetic and delicate braces type made of alumina oxide. Clear braces are also known as ceramic braces that resemble the teeth’ shade, making them appear almost invisible. Adult patients often opt for clear ceramic braces.

Clear ceramic braces differ from traditional metal braces as they offer less tensile capacity reducing traction control, and might break easier than metal braces.

Lingual Braces

The most striking option concerning discreteness. Lingual braces are invisible, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. These braces are cemented to the back of the tooth so they are imperceptible.

Lingual braces have a spot. Practicing oral hygiene with braces is challenging, but doing so with lingual braces is twice as complicated. Orthodontists disclose this aspect to patients before starting treatment.

When it comes to avoiding periodontal disease problems during orthodontic treatment, lingual braces are the least recommended option.

Portland Orthodontics for Adults

You might have never worn braces before but still need them, or you might have noticed your teeth might have shifted over time. Regardless of the reasons to start orthodontic treatment, you must know you are a candidate for braces or clear aligners, even if you are a grandparent, as long as you are in good oral and gum health.

Don’t wait any longer; our caring staff and experienced orthodontics will care for your children and family at Hillsdale Orthodontics Portland. Also, schedule an appointment so we will provide you with detailed information so you can start with a customized adult orthodontic treatment to build up your confidence in smiling. Schedule an appointment for a free consultation.


Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

As a nutty overachiever, Dr. Leemin never lost sight of her childhood dreams of becoming a smartypants orthodontist. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors, she embarked on her career in dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated #1 in her class. Feeling just a little too ambitious, she then completed 2.5 years of additional training at OHSU to become an orthodontic specialist.

Stanford University – Bachelor of Arts with Honors
Univ. of Pennsylvania – Doctor of Dental Medicine
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Master of Science
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Certificate in Orthodontics

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

As a nutty overachiever, Dr. Leemin never lost sight of her childhood dreams of becoming a smartypants orthodontist. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors, she embarked on her career in dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated #1 in her class. Feeling just a little too ambitious, she then completed 2.5 years of additional training at OHSU to become an orthodontic specialist.

Stanford University
Bachelor of Arts with Honors
Univ. of Pennsylvania
Doctor of Dental Medicine
Oregon Health & Science Univ.
Master of Science
Oregon Health & Science Univ.
Certificate in Orthodontics

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