According to the American Association of Orthodontists, a quarter of all orthodontic patients are adults. And with a variety of options, from traditional braces or LightForce 3D-printed braces to clear Invisalign, there are plenty of effective orthodontic treatments for adults.
Yet, many adults are unsure of which adult orthodontic treatment is right for them. Thankfully, there are Invisalign and adult braces treatments in Richmond that cater to each person’s unique needs, making the orthodontic journey less daunting.
Let’s look at some of the different types of orthodontic options that are available for adults!
How Orthodontic Treatment For Adults Is Different From Adolescents
While both adolescent and adult orthodontic treatments aim to correct misaligned teeth and improve overall oral health, the treatment goals may differ.
Adolescents typically undergo orthodontic treatment to address bite issues, straighten teeth, and achieve proper alignment as their jaws and facial structures are still developing.
On the other hand, orthodontic treatment for adults often focuses on cosmetic improvements, such as closing gaps, correcting crowding, or addressing relapse from previous orthodontic treatment.
Jaw growth and development
Adolescents’ jaws are still growing and developing, which provides orthodontists with additional treatment options. They can guide jaw growth and address skeletal discrepancies through techniques like palatal expanders, headgear, or functional appliances.
In contrast, adult jaws have stopped growing, limiting the available options for modifying skeletal structures. Surgical orthodontics may be necessary for significant jaw discrepancies in adult patients.
Adolescent orthodontic treatment generally takes advantage of the growth potential, which can help achieve desired results more quickly. On average, adolescent treatment may last around 1 to 2 years.
Adult orthodontic treatment tends to take longer as the teeth and bones are more firmly set. The duration can vary depending on the complexity of the case, but it may take even longer than an adolescent’s treatment.
Compliance and responsibility
Adults generally comply with their orthodontic treatment plan compared to adolescents because they chose to invest in teeth straightening. Therefore, adults take responsibility for actively participating in maintaining good oral hygiene, following the orthodontist’s instructions, and attending regular appointments.
However, some adolescents didn’t opt for orthodontic treatment—their parents or guardians were the ones who made the decision. That said, they tend to be less motivated to comply with the treatment plan. Additionally, some adolescent orthodontic patients are only seven years old, so they need extra help and oversight to maintain their oral health, particularly with orthodontic appliances.
Oral health considerations
Orthodontists may collaborate with other dental specialists, such as periodontists or oral surgeons, to optimize oral health prior to or during orthodontic treatment at any age.
However, adults are more likely to have existing dental and periodontal issues, such as gum disease or tooth loss. These conditions need to be addressed before or during orthodontic treatment to ensure a healthy foundation.
What Are The Orthodontic Options For Adults?
Various procedures are available to help you achieve the smile you want. Here are some of the most common treatments that orthodontists utilize with adult patients:
Invisalign has revolutionized orthodontics with its clear aligners that are virtually invisible when worn. This popular option provides adults (and adolescents!) with a discreet alternative to traditional braces.
Invisalign utilizes a series of custom-made, removable aligners to gradually shift teeth into their desired positions. The aligners can be easily taken out for eating and brushing, providing greater flexibility and convenience. However, compliance with wearing the aligners for the recommended duration is crucial for successful treatment.
2. Traditional Braces
Traditional braces (metal and ceramic) are the time-tested orthodontic option that offers durability and effectiveness, particularly for addressing complex orthodontic issues such as severe misalignment, overcrowding, and bite problems.
Metal braces, known for their strength, consist of metal brackets and wires, while ceramic braces provide a more discreet appearance as the brackets are tooth-colored or clear. With the ability to exert precise control over tooth movement, traditional braces offer comprehensive treatment planning and reliable results.
3. LightForce Braces
LightForce braces represent a cutting-edge orthodontic solution that combines advanced technology with customized treatment planning. These braces utilize 3D-printed brackets and robotic wire bending, allowing for a more efficient and precise orthodontic experience. With individually designed brackets based on a digital treatment plan, LightForce braces offer highly personalized orthodontic treatment.
It’s worth noting that the availability of LightForce braces may vary across orthodontic practices. But at Bates Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer LightForce, the best adult braces, as a treatment option!
Invisalign vs. Braces In Adults: What’s The Difference?
Many adults often wonder if they should go for traditional braces or Invisalign. Both methods aim to straighten teeth and improve oral health, but they differ in several aspects.
Aesthetics and Discretion
One of the key differences between Invisalign vs. braces in adults is their appearance. Invisalign aligners are transparent and virtually invisible when worn, making them a popular choice for adults seeking a discreet orthodontic solution.
Traditional braces, whether metal or ceramic, are more noticeable as they involve visible brackets and wires attached to the teeth. For individuals concerned about the visibility of their orthodontic treatment, Invisalign provides a more aesthetically pleasing option.
Removability and Convenience
Another significant distinction between Invisalign and braces lies in their permanency.
Invisalign aligners are removable, allowing you to take them out while eating or brushing your teeth. This feature offers convenience and flexibility, as you can continue enjoying your favorite foods without restrictions. Additionally, maintaining oral hygiene is easier with Invisalign since you can brush and floss normally.
On the contrary, traditional braces are fixed appliances and cannot be removed by the patient. They require special attention to cleaning and dietary restrictions, avoiding foods that can damage the braces.
Treatment Complexity and Efficacy
Both Invisalign and braces can effectively treat a wide range of orthodontic issues. However, the complexity of the case may influence the treatment choice.
While Invisalign works well for mild to moderate orthodontic problems, traditional braces offer greater control over tooth movement and are capable of addressing more complex cases. However, there are some cases where Dr. Bates will use both Invisalign and traditional braces to achieve the desired results, giving patients the best of both worlds.
To determine the best Invisalign or adult braces treatment in Richmond for you, consult with an orthodontist.
Invisalign and Adult Braces Treatment in Richmond, VA
At Bates Orthodontics, Dr. Bates will evaluate your oral health, discuss your treatment goals, and recommend the most appropriate treatment option based on his expertise. Choosing the right braces or Invisalign Richmond orthodontist ensures you can correct a misaligned bite or crooked teeth as efficiently and comfortably as possible.
We offer Invisalign, LightForce, and traditional braces in Richmond so you can get the treatment you need with the least disruption to your lifestyle. Our team of experienced orthodontic professionals is here to help you navigate every step of your treatment plan.