By Dr. John White,
Braces by White

It used to be that when a bride or groom got engaged, in an effort to sport picture-perfect smiles they would both get braces prior to the big day. These days grandma might also get braces, so she can have a radiant smile, too.

You are never too old for orthodontic treatment. In fact, I have put braces on a 72-year-old woman and treated a 76-year-old man with Invisalign. Both of these patients had crowded teeth that were hard to clean. Following treatment, not only did their hygiene improve, but they also felt years younger.

Nationwide, most orthodontists average a patient population that includes about 20 to 25 percent adults. Because I specialize in Invisalign, more than half of my patients are adults. These clear aligners provide discreet teeth straightening that most people will not even notice.

As one of the top 100 Invisalign providers in the world, I treat almost all of my adult patients with Invisalign. It is a better lifestyle choice and provides easier hygiene. Plus, I can control what moves and what doesn’t to a much higher degree than with fixed appliances such as braces.

Because adults often have some bone loss around their teeth, have periodontal disease or have had previous orthodontic treatment that has compromised the roots of their teeth, there are some modifications I have to make in the orthodontic treatment plans. Adults also may have crowns, bridges and implants that I have to incorporate or work around.

When developing a treatment plan, I take into account the fact that an adult’s teeth move slower because their growth hormone levels are lower than teens, and the calcium metabolism changes. These metabolic changes can be likened to an adult who falls and breaks a hip that takes months to heal, whereas a child may only take weeks to recover from the same injury.

Other than a few modifications for adults, there is no such thing as being too old for braces.