Years ago, orthodontic treatments were used only for pre-teens and teens having problems with their bite (malocclusion). Today, orthodontic treatments like dental braces are not only for pre-teens and teens, but for adults as well.

Close to 30 percent of all orthodontic patients in the world are adults. Despite this growing trend towards adult orthodontics, it pays to start orthodontic treatment early for maximum effectiveness. The American Dental Association recommends that children receive an orthodontic evaluation by age seven.

Since malocclusion may interfere with eating and speaking, it is usually considered a restorative issue. Although, because a malocclusion may prevent the development of a beautiful, well-aligned smile or facial jaw lines, it may also be classified as an esthetic issue and categorized as cosmetic dentistry.

No matter what your age, orthodontics can protect your bite (occlusion), maximize your teeth's effectiveness in performing their functions and create a well-aligned smile. Today’s orthodontics involves repositioning of the teeth and underlying roots, providing better support for the crown of the tooth. Orthodontic treatment is now associated with the benefits of greater esthetic appeal, increased comfort and reduced treatment time.

Orthodontic treatment can also rejuvenate your facial appearance by reshaping the jaw, neck and lips, especially when combined with maxillofacial surgical procedures. In addition, well-aligned teeth make oral hygiene easier to maintain.

Dental Braces

Today's dental braces are much improved for a variety of reasons:

Reduced Treatment Time: Computer-aided technology offered through some orthodontic offices today helps the orthodontist to create ideal tooth positions. Some reports indicate that the aid of such technology can reduce treatment time significantly.

Comfortable Treatment: Dental brace wires are now made of materials that serve to reposition the teeth and underlying roots more readily and with less discomfort than in the past. Titanium implants can be anchored in the bone on the side of the mouth and palate to help shift the front teeth back and allow for more space if necessary. The molars of a braced patient may have magnets attached to them in order to help lift and reposition underlying molars. In addition, headgear is no longer needed as it was in past orthodontic treatment.

Esthetic Appeal: A new, popular form of dental braces for those with mild tooth movement requirements is clear dental braces (tooth-colored dental braces). These "invisible braces" or aligners are made of a flexible, clear, thin material that fits tightly over the teeth. This material is changed out every two to three weeks so that gradual tooth movement occurs. To monitor the movement of the teeth, your orthodontist will likely want to see you every six to eight weeks.

And in the end, you are rewarded with a beautiful, well-aligned smile.