Am I Too Old for Clear Aligners?

Am I Too Old for Clear Aligners?

Orthodontics used to be all about embarrassing metal braces and children. Thankfully those days are gone. Today’s orthodontics offers a wide variety of treatment options, including traditional metal braces and ceramic or clear braces. But what truly revolutionized the orthodontics industry was the introduction of clear aligners.

Clear aligners suddenly made it possible for a patient to address alignment issues discreetly and without the hassle or discomfort of traditional braces – the perfect scenario for an adult patient. But can you be too adult for clear aligners? Absolutely not, says Dr. Marcano here at Orlando Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. It’s never too late to get the smile you’ve always dreamed about. In fact, one out of every four orthodontic patients is an adult. 

Orthodontics explained

To better understand the implications of age as it relates to clear aligner treatment, let’s do a quick primer on the process of how teeth move and realign during orthodontic treatment. Regardless of the orthodontic treatment you undergo the mechanics are the same – the previous tooth positions are broken down, and new positions are created.

During orthodontic treatment teeth due to applied force from the chosen treatment option teeth gently move to a new position providing optimal alignment. Bone cells called osteoclasts break down old bone in the previous position, which is then reabsorbed into the bloodstream. When the orthodontic treatment realigns and moves teeth into their positions cells called osteoblasts swing into action and build new bone through a process called ossification.

The ultimate goal of the ossification process is to create a strong foundation for your teeth in their new spot and to make sure your jawbone and the realigned teeth are perfectly in tune. When you chew and bite osteoblasts work to continue to reinforce and strengthen the bone in their new permanent position.  

Requires a permanent set of healthy teeth

As you probably noticed none of the mechanics of tooth movement relate to the patient's age, and for good reason. Tooth movement doesn’t hinge on age. Instead, the major criterion for when to start orthodontics treatment is that the patient has a set of permanent teeth. Other important prerequisites are that the patient has healthy teeth, gums, and a strong jawbone. 

So whether you’re 8, 18, or 80, your teeth can move and realign in response to orthodontics treatment that applies gentle force over time. Depending on the severity of the issue being addressed, some orthodontics treatment plans for adults may take slightly longer than their younger counterparts due to the density and maturity of the bone. While you may connect orthodontic treatment with children and adolescents, it’s typically because that’s when teeth alignment and bite issues become more obvious.

Discreet treatment at any age

Not surprisingly since entering the orthodontics market in the 1990s, clear aligners have been game-changers for patients of all ages who want to capture their best smile without putting their treatment on public display. Here at Orlando Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we’re specially trained to offer our patients the ClearCorrect aligner system. Although there are different clear aligner brands they all operate under the key premise is the same – teeth are gently moved with a series of several clear custom trays or mouthpieces in contrast to traditional braces using wires and brackets. 

Offers quicker treatment timelines than braces

Although it varies according to the severity of the issue, treatment plans generally take about 6-12 months or so to complete. The process begins with an in-office consultation. During the consultation, Dr. Marcano performs a dental examination and takes X-rays to assess the position of your teeth. He also checks your oral health history and asks questions to determine your treatment goals.

He completes the appointment by taking impressions of your mouth with an intraoral scanner. Dr. Marcano uploads your impressions to a computer-aided design program, which ultimately creates your personalized treatment plan, mapping out the step-by-step movements of your teeth. He sends all this data to a dental laboratory, fabricating your first ClearCorrect aligners.

About a week later, you return to the office to check the fit and learn more about your treatment plan. Over the course of your treatment timeline, you return to Orlando Center For Cosmetic Dentistry every few weeks or so to transition to a new set of aligners and to monitor the progress of teeth movement.  

If you are ready to start your journey to your dream smile and want to learn if clear aligners are right for you, contact us at Orlando Center For Cosmetic Dentistry to request a consultation. Schedule an appointment by clicking the online booking tool or calling the office today at 689-220-2651.

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