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Understanding Adult Orthodontics

We all want our financial investments to yield a positive return. As we assume these risks, it becomes apparent that management and experience are the keys to our success.  Choosing to undergo braces as an adult is not much different.  Adult Braces should result in a definitive finish where the goals are clearly defined and the compromises with the chosen path clearly understood.  The variability within our adult mouths challenges orthodontists' ability to create a treatment plan.  Through experience and interdisciplinary management, successes can be realized and the skills of the orthodontist are embraced.     

 

Adult orthodontics is not the focus of most orthodontic programs.  It is a learned skill based on exposure, education beyond residency programs and innate problem solving  and mechanical skills.  Confidence in your choice is further enhanced knowing the orthodontist has assembled all the health care providers necessary to manage any and all associated health interactions as well as future health needs.  Therefore, great communication skills are a very important trait to look for in an orthodontist.  Adults articulate needs and feelings much differently than children.  Orthodontists who explain treatment goals to us in a way relative to what we understand are priceless.  Doctors who listen and reflect on our concerns and respond and react are almost always the most desirable.  

 

This time of year brings football into the forefront.  Quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes.  Play calling is extremely important.  Knowledge of the plays and timing of delivery puts points on the scoreboard.  Your choice of orthodontists for your adult treatment should be like a quarterback for you.  He delivers the plan, makes adjustments around the dentists’ concerns and needs, prepares the surgeon for his involvement, brings in the periodontist as needed and involves the primary care and cardiologist as the play unfolds.  It is a humble yet confident approach to management that keeps all the ideas in check and delivers the best, customized plan to each patient. 

 

Adult orthodontics has no associated cookie cutter methodology.  Tooth wear, tooth loss, breakage, bone changes, tissue changes, unique skeletal structures, tooth morphology and biology and systemic alterations of our norm all alter the plan for each individual.  Your orthodontist should be kind of like a “MacGyver” in spirit willing to do what it takes with what they’re given to create the best possible scenario for each individual.   Amazing adult finishes come to those who are patient and forgiving.  Technology takes time to institute into every day practice.  Practices that routinely challenge the limits of technology and push for change grow every day.  When we are patient with the doctor and stand by the ideal goals presented, our finished bites feel and look amazing and last a lifetime.  Technologically motivated practices offer the most impactful treatment options most often.  However, know that technology doesn’t always equate to faster treatment times.

 

Treatment times for adult orthodontic treatment vary tremendously.  Where some adults may have success in six months, others may take three years to reach perfection.  A treatment plan that one orthodontist presents as a 12-month plan may be strikingly different than one presented as a three-year plan but cost the same.  Faster is not always better. 

 

Orthodontists use many tools.  All have the same ones, but some may prefer to use one more than the other and use it differently than the next.  Invisalign is a perfect example.  There are types of bites where Invisalign is superior to braces and others where the proposed braces finish is light years more advanced than the Invisalign finish.  Ensure your treatment goal is based on wanting the best for you, unless you simply demand the easiest and least invasive.

 

Adult orthodontics is no easy choice.  However, it can be one of the most rewarding choices you’ll ever make.  Headaches, toothaches, neck and backaches, and even psychological aches are all eased when the face is happy.   Find the orthodontist that understands your system and gives you the best bang for your buck.  A beautiful smile is amazing, but a predictable, stable and comfortable smile is priceless.

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