Today, orthodontic treatment is a viable option for almost any adult. It is well recognized that when left untreated, many orthodontic problems may become worse. When you have a malocclusion (“bad bite”), your teeth may be crowded, excessively spaced or may not fit together correctly. Such conditions may lead to dental health problems. Crowded teeth are hard to clean and, given time, may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. Bad bites can also result in abnormal wearing of tooth surfaces (see photo below), difficulty chewing and damage to supporting bone and gum tissue. Poorly aligned teeth can contribute to pain in the jaw joints.
Abnormal tooth wear in an adult
You’ll be pleased to learn that orthodontic treatment will fit in with your current lifestyle – you can sing, play a musical instrument, dine out, kiss, and even have your picture taken. One in five orthodontic patients is an adult. The AAO estimates that more than 1,000,000 adults in the United States and Canada are receiving treatment from orthodontists who are members of the AAO.
The rate of toothlessness has declined over recent decades. Our great-grandparents, for the most part, lost their teeth around age 40. Today’s 25-year-old has the potential of another 75 years of keeping and using their teeth. This is a major change in dental health care (and life expectancy). Teeth that do not fit well often wear down more quickly—another reason to make sure that your teeth are in good alignment and well maintained in your adult years.
©2006 American Association of Orthodontists