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Beyond Aesthetics

Adult orthodontic treatment provides a wealth of wellness benefits

Orthodontics may be considered a rite of passage for many teenagers, but it can also be beneficial to adults.

In fact, Dr. Aubrey Young, founder and owner of Young Orthodontics, says her adult patients currently outnumber kids, about 55 to 45 percent.

“My oldest patient started her treatment when she was 84,” Dr. Young says.

Whether adults want to straighten crooked teeth, fix teeth that have shifted since they had orthodontics as teens or a number of other reasons, Dr. Young said she and her team at her East Valley practice are ready and able to help.

Dr. Young also answered some common questions about orthodontics in adults:

Q: How can orthodontics help adults with their jaw health?

A: As we age, we lose volume in our jaw bones. As that happens, our back teeth tip toward the tongue and our front teeth become more crowded. When our back teeth tip toward our tongue, it changes the direction that our chewing force is distributed to the roots of the teeth. This can cause premature wear of the chewing surfaces of the teeth, gum recession, and even notching of the teeth at the gumline. When our teeth do not fit together properly it can also cause TMJ discomfort. Orthodontics can help treat these issues.

Q: Can orthodontics help adults with their sleep? 

A: During orthodontic treatment we increase the width of the dental arch and upright the back teeth. When we do this we create more real estate for the tongue to move forward in the mouth and this increases the airway size in the back of the throat. Think of the teeth as a gate that is holding your tongue back. The smaller the gate the less room there is for the tongue and the farther back in the airway it goes. When we make the gate bigger the tongue immediately uses the new space and is able to move forward in the mouth. Sleep apnea is caused by a restriction in the airway spaces behind the nose or behind the throat or both. Orthodontics in adults primarily focuses on increasing the size of the airway in the back of the throat.

 Q: What are some of the aesthetic benefits of orthodontics?

A: When we upright and widen the dental arch a beautiful smile is created where you can see teeth from the corner of the lip to the corner of the lip with no black airspaces on the sides. Beautifully aligned teeth create not only an aesthetic smile, but a healthy bite. The other beautiful result of increasing the width of the dental arch is that we restore the underlying bony structure that is the framework for our soft tissue. This gives more support to our soft tissues specifically in the mid-face. We have had many patients say that they felt like they had a mini-facelift during their orthodontic treatment because of this support to the soft tissue of the face.

 Q: What are some of the orthodontic options that adults can choose from?

A: The majority of my patients choose our Spark aligners. These aligners are very similar to Invisalign, but have a newer technology in the plastic which allows for the really broad smiles and healthy airways to be created. In our office we use Damon braces. Damon braces can be metal or porcelain if a tooth color bracket is preferred.

 Q: Can adults who had orthodontics as teenagers sometimes need it again? 

A: Adults can absolutely be treated for a second time, and this is very common. In the past it was a common practice to tell your orthodontic patient to wear their retainers for a couple of years after treatment. Many patients who were treated as a child followed this recommendation and have had relapse in tooth position. Without retainer wear teeth will and do shift over time. Our retainer protocol after treatment in our office is nighttime for life to protect your investment in your smile, healthy bite and healthy airway for your lifetime. 

 Q: For adults who are feeling nervous, or unsure, or maybe that they are “too old” to have orthodontics, what would you say to them to reassure them?

A: I would encourage them to visit our office for a complimentary consultation so we can explain the condition of their teeth, bite, and airway health, and explain options for making a positive change for both their dental and systemic health. With the new technology in orthodontics the process has become much more comfortable than ever before.

Q: How long do adults usually end up having orthodontic treatment?

A: The average treatment time for my adult patients is 18 months. There are some more in depth surgical cases or restorative cases that can take longer, but 18 months is very typical. 

Young Orthodontics | 480.899.9423 |

Beautifully aligned teeth create not only an aesthetic smile, but a healthy bite.

...protect your investment in your smile, healthy bite and healthy airway for your lifetime.