February 28, 2019
When most people hear the term orthodontics, it brings to mind an image of braces on a teenager. In fact, for much of its history, orthodontic treatment has been seen as a kind of rite of passage for teens. Patients have been shifting away from this kind of thinking recently, however, and orthodontists are now treating more adults than ever before. Currently, about 1 in every 4 orthodontic patients is over the age of 18, which is a record number! Have you spent years being unhappy with the way your smile looks or feels, but felt you were “too old” to successfully fix it? With so many adults now seeking treatment later in life, this is the perfect time to explore how you can also achieve a smile that’s beautifully aligned and fully functional!
Here at Dudley Smiles, we believe patients of all ages deserve a beautiful, healthy smile. There’s no age limit on orthodontic treatment, and we offer innovative solutions to correct a variety of orthodontic issues, including crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw positioning, and more. To learn more about what orthodontics has to offer adult patients like you, click here to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Dudley, then keep reading below for more information.
What is orthodontics?
Before we get into what orthodontics can do for your smile, it helps to know more about what it actually is. Think of dentistry as an umbrella, and orthodontics as a specialty beneath it. An orthodontist like Dr. Dudley is essentially a dentist who has 2-3 years of highly specialized training in addition to dental school. This training focuses on identifying and correcting bite abnormalities, and gives orthodontists the knowledge and experience needed to straighten teeth, correct a misaligned jaw structure, and improve the overall function of a patient’s smile.
Orthodontics is concerned with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. When left untreated over time, these issues can worsen, and may cause abnormal wear and tear to the surface of your teeth and excess stress on the gum tissue and bone. This can eventually result in headaches, pain in the face and neck, or even problems with chewing or speaking. When you choose an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Dudley to diagnose and treat your oral issues, you can be sure you’re putting your smile into the most capable hands!
What you can expect from an appointment with Dudley Smiles
Your first visit with us is one of the most important ones you’ll have. Because first impressions matter so much, we want this to be a positive and stress-free experience for you. That starts with offering a free consultation!
During this appointment, we’ll take photos of your face and teeth, as well as digital panoramic and cephalometric X-rays. We will also collect your medical and dental history. Dr. Dudley will carefully examine your teeth for a wide range of possible orthodontic problems, and will take the time to address your questions and concerns. Once you decide on the best course of treatment with Dr. Dudley, we’ll complete a set of diagnostic records, which includes a digital scan of your teeth. All of this information is used to develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs.
At this initial visit, we’ll also give you an estimated treatment time, an estimated total cost for treatment, and we’ll schedule an appointment for you to come back and have your braces put on. Because we’re committed to ensuring every patient has access to the healthy smile they deserve, we offer an interest-free payment option, extended payment terms, and pay-in-full discounts. We also accept most major credit cards, checks, and cash, and we can also work with your Flexible Spending Account (FSA).
Why are more adults now choosing orthodontic treatment like braces?
As we get older, many of us gain a better understanding of the connection between oral health and total body health. This can inspire us to take better care of our teeth and gums, up to and including orthodontic treatment.
There are also a number of adults who received some orthodontic treatment earlier in life that was never completed. For some, the treatment was finished, but they did not wear their retainer as directed afterwards, causing the teeth to shift back into their previous positions. In these cases, patients may want to complete the process started in their younger years or redo their orthodontic treatment completely.
Some adult patients simply want to improve their smile cosmetically, which is something we fully support! Patients who use braces to create a straighter, more attractive smile often find their confidence increases and they experience a boost of self-esteem that can positively impact them in many areas of their life.
Orthodontic options for adult patients at Dudley Smiles
Whatever your reason for seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult, there are more choices available than ever before. We are proud to offer the following treatment options for patients of all ages.
Traditional metal braces are an orthodontic staple, and with good reason! This is one of our most efficient treatments, particularly for more severe or complicated cases. Modern braces use high-quality stainless steel, but innovations in the design mean they’re much more comfortable than previous versions. The total treatment time also tends to be shorter than it used to be.
These function in much the same way traditional braces do, but use ceramic brackets instead of metal ones. The brackets can be clear, white, or tooth-colored, and for an almost invisible treatment option, can be used with elastics or ties that are also clear, white, or tooth-colored. Ceramic braces can be an excellent choice for image-conscious patients, but because they are more delicate than metal braces, we generally only recommend them for older teens and adults.
Instead of brackets and bands, the Invisalign system uses a series of clear, customized, removable aligners. These are custom-designed to fit snugly over the teeth, and gently move them into the desired positions over time. Aligners are made of a soft but strong thermoplastic resin, and are replaced with the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the shifting teeth. Dr. Dudley is an Invisalign expert and has many years of experience in treating patients with Invisalign.
You can depend on Dudley Smiles for the best in adult braces
Every orthodontic option has its own pros and cons, and not every treatment is suitable for all patients. That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Dudley! Our approach to individualized treatment means you’ll receive only the best treatment for YOUR unique smile, and your treatment plan will be based on your specific case, lifestyle, and goals. If you’re ready to take the first step towards the smile you’ve always wanted, get in touch today or click here to schedule your free consultation. You’re worth it!