Am I too old for orthodontics?

by | Feb 3, 2021 | Invisalign, Orthodontics for Adults, Uncategorized

By a show of hands, how many of you have not worn your retainers after you had braces as a teen. Ahem,… no need to be embarrassed. “Shift happens” not just because you did not wear a retainer. There are many reasons for why teeth can shift over time.

In fact, as you get older, you are subject to facial skeletal changes over a lifetime and this can affect the position of the teeth and induce changes of the bite. Your jawbone grows forward and becomes narrower, which can cause your lower teeth to become more crowded. Also, numerous studies have shown that women experience jaw changes after their first pregnancy.

Skipping a Retainer

Many people who straighten their teeth choose to get braces as teens or kids and assume their correction will last forever. Unfortunately, teeth tend to migrate back to their “original” position. You may not notice the change in the short term, but over the course of months or years, you could see your teeth shift after getting your braces off. This is why it’s so important to wear a retainer after braces. You may only need to wear it at night but it will keep your teeth in place. “Night time for lifetime” is what we recommend

Periodontal Disease

Do you remember all those lectures you have been given by your dentist and dental hygienist about flossing every time you visit them? They aren’t just blowing smoke. Poor oral hygiene can lead to periodontal disease, which refers to any illness in your gums or bone beneath your teeth. These make up the foundation for your teeth. When bone and gums start to break down, your teeth become more mobile. Skeletal changes of jaw bones. When kids grow it is very easy to see the changes they go through, particularly the adolescent growth spurt. Were you aware that facial bones continue to change throughout your entire life? Especially the lower jaw changes will impact the way your teeth shift. Your lower jaw, in particular, will impact the way your teeth shift. As you get older, your lower jaw grows forward. At the same time, it becomes more narrow. This leads to teeth shifting in a few ways. First, when your lower jaw becomes more narrow, it can cause your lower teeth to crowd together and overlap. Second, the changes in your jaw will also change your bite, or the way your top and bottom teeth come together. This adjusted pressure adds up over time and can eventually cause your upper teeth to develop gaps.

Grinding Your Teeth

Did you know that about 10% of adults and 15% of kids grind their teeth. Teeth grinding and teeth clenching don’t only happen when your head hits the pillow. It’s also a common stress response: people clench or grind their teeth while they’re awake and under stress, often without being aware of it. Clenching and grinding your teeth exerts pressure on your teeth, which can shift them in different directions.

Accommodating Tooth Loss

Tooth loss isn’t an uncommon problem. Between injuries, dental decay, gum disease, and other causes, 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. When a tooth is lost or has to be extracted, your other teeth take advantage of the extra space. They will spread out and you may develop gaps between nearby teeth. This is why your dentist or orthodontist may recommend spacers, retainers, implants, or other methods to keep the space open.

What can you do when shift happens? Simple. Get aligned, Get Invisalign!

Many adults love this clear aesthetic option to straighten their teeth, instead of classic braces. Invisalign is a virtually invisible, comfortable and pain free method to move teeth back to where they should be. Invisalign is a convenient way to get orthodontic treatment and can it work with your busy schedule. Best thing is being able to eat whatever you want – yes, are no restrictions as they are with braces. And, it is very easy to keep your teeth clean and floss without braces and wires in your mouth. The difference is clear 🙂

Dr. Dina Sanchez

Dr. Dina Sanchez

Board Certified Orthodontist

Dr. Dina Sanchez is a board certified orthodontist, mom, published author, wife, University of Maryland clinical professor, abstract artist, tooth fairy, and accidental lacrosse superfan. Learn more about Dr. D here.