Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and in adulthood, it can dramatically improve personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of the teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth or a bad bite can contribute to problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, bone loss, headaches, and/or jaw pain. As long as the gums and bone structure are healthy (i.e., no active periodontal disease), teeth can be aligned successfully in adulthood using a range of orthodontic appliances.

One such option offered by Dr. Sears is Invisalign clear aligner therapy, which is an excellent alternative to traditional metal or clear braces. This Invisalign option involves wearing a series of clear plastic aligners to shift your teeth over time into a more desirable position. These custom-made aligners do not require the use of metal brackets or wires. Clear aligner therapy is able to treat a variety of common dental issues, from bite problems to overcrowding, and it has a number of benefits. Here are four reasons why many adults prefer clear aligners over traditional braces.

1. They are discreet

For adults who are looking for a less obvious way to straighten their smile, Invisalign allows a patient to undergo orthodontic treatment in the most inconspicuous manner. Adult patients may feel that straightening their teeth at a later age will be too disruptive to their lifestyle, or they may feel as though braces will stand out too much. Since clear aligners are nearly invisible, the treatment allows adults the freedom to attend to the business of their daily lives without feeling self-conscious about their decision to invest in their smile. It’ is an ideal solution for straightening teeth in a reasonable amount of time with only a minimal impact on everyday life.

2. They are removable

With Invisalign clear aligner therapy, the restrictions of traditional metal braces do not apply because the aligners are removable. Our patients love having the ability to remove their clear aligners when they eat, brush, floss, give a presentation at work, or have an important life event. In addition, there are no foods to avoid meaning a patient can eat whatever they please, and cleaning the aligners themselves is as simple as brushing them morning and night with their toothbrush and toothpaste.

3. They are comfortable

The brackets and wires of metal braces can sometimes come loose and irritate the sensitive tissue of your cheeks, gums, and mouth. Invisalign treatment uses around custom-made plastic trays that fit smoothly and comfortably. Occasionally the aligners may cause a small spot of irritation on the cheeks or tongue, but these areas are easily smoothed by trimming the aligner or filing the edge down with a clean fingernail file. The aligners must be worn for the recommended 20-22 hours daily to be effective, so being able to avoid discomfort is a significant feature for patient compliance!

4. There can be fewer checkups

Adult life can be busy as work meetings, school events, and sports practices often flood the schedule. Orthodontic appointments can be one more thing to add to the calendar. When undergoing orthodontic treatment with Invisalign, patients have the luxury of not having to visit the office quite as often as a patient who is wearing braces. When patients do have their checkup visits, they are often quite quick - checking to make sure the teeth are moving as intended and then leaving with the next few sets of aligners. As long as patients are vigilant about switching out their aligners according to the schedule prescribed by our team members and wearing their aligners for the recommended amount of time, their treatment should stay on track.

Adolescent vs. adult orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic forces move healthy teeth in the same way for both a child and an adult. However, tooth movement may take longer in adults because the bone density is harder in a mature individual compared to a growing individual, and it can be complicated by existing dental conditions. Additionally, adults have more wear and tear on their teeth, gums, and bone. Dr. Sears addresses issues specific to adult orthodontic treatment, and offers options to improve both the teeth and the bite, including Invisalign clear aligner therapy.

Straighter teeth and better oral health

The esthetic result of a beautifully straight smile is only one benefit of completing Invisalign clear aligner therapy. Straighter teeth with a proper bite can also improve a person’s overall health. Crowded or crooked teeth can be difficult to clean thoroughly. This can lead to swollen gums, which creates openings for bacterial plaque to grow, potentially leading to gum disease and tooth decay. An improper bite can cause jaw pain, early tooth wear-down, speech difficulties, and chewing challenges that may lead to digestive issues.

Orthodontic treatment can restore good function as well as be preventative against gum disease, bone loss, and abnormal enamel wear. A healthy, beautiful smile can improve self-esteem, regardless of age. Invisalign treatment is able to correct problematic bite and alignment issues and improve overall health while treatment remains practically invisible to others. Dr. Sears is committed to providing his adult patients with the most discreet method of accomplishing their orthodontic goals, and will work with each patient closely so they understand the benefits and drawbacks of all of their treatment options.