People often associate braces and orthodontics with teens, but it’s actually quite common for adults as well. Invisalign, in particular, has grown in popularity for adults of all ages. While many of our patients at Smiles Orthodontics are young adults in the 20-30 age range, we have have plenty of older patients who are just as great candidates for Invisalign!

Why Invisalign?

Invisalign is an orthodontic appliance created for teens and adults who want more flexibility with their orthodontic treatment. Patients often prefer Invisalign for one or all of the following reasons:

  1. Appearance: One benefit that Invisalign has over other orthodontic treatments is that it’s virtually invisible on the teeth. Even clear or lingual braces are not as discreet as Invisalign because the metal bands can still be seen when the mouth is open. This is ideal for social situations or professions that may be heavily influenced by physical appearance.
  2. Comfort: With Invisalign, there are no sharp wires or metals poking into the mouth.  Traditional braces can be quite uncomfortable and even leave scars or bruises in the mouth when they aren’t adjusted properly. Invisalign is custom fit to the teeth, so the clear aligners won’t irritate the mouth.
  3. Convenience: Invisalign trays can be removed at the patient’s discretion. Brushing teeth, eating food, and playing sports is a lot easier when there’s no orthodontic appliance in your mouth. Patients won’t have to make any dietary or dental hygiene changes with Invisalign because their routine can stay exactly the same. It’s also a lot safer to play sports with Invisalign because no wires can be pushed into the mouth. Protective mouthguards fit more easily over the clear aligners as well!

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign is great choice because it allows users to align their teeth more discreetly and continue their day-to-day activities without the hassle of braces.  Patients, adults especially, may feel burdened or even uncomfortable with traditional metal braces if most of their peers have already gotten braces in the past  With Invisalign, however, there’s no need for lengthy explanations or awkward stares!

The appliance uses clear aligner therapy, a method of correcting teeth with a series of custom-fit, computer-generated plastic aligners. Each pair of plastic aligners is slightly adjusted to make small changes in the alignment of teeth. Patients switch their aligners approximately every two weeks for around 12 – 18 months until their teeth are corrected. It’s nearly impossible to detect the trays once they’re placed in the mouth, so their appearance stays the same.

Can you be too old for Invisalign?

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment created for adults and teens. Most adults are viable candidates for Invisalign no matter how old they are. An individual’s aptitude for Invisalign is based on dental health and development, not age. Children don’t have the option to receive Invisalign treatment because they often don’t have a full set of permanent teeth and they may not be responsible enough. Regardless of age, Invisalign patients will need the discipline to keep track of and wear aligners for the allotted time by the orthodontist. Forgetting to wear them for 20-22 hours can severely delay treatment results.

Young Adults (18 – 35)
Most patients don’t get all their permanent teeth until they reach the adolescence and even then, the jaws and face are not completely mature. Because of this, patients often wait to get braces until adulthood to receive orthodontic treatment. Waiting until this stage of life allows the wisdom teeth fully mature and be removed to create space in the mouth to move teeth. This also allows the orthodontist to do their job without interruption from incoming wisdom teeth. Although the teeth are mostly mature, it’s still early enough to realign them fairly easily.

Middle Aged Adults (36 – 55)
Middle-aged (36-55) adults also have the advantage of getting their orthodontic treatment after their wisdom teeth have been removed and facial structure has matured. At this point, however, the bones have hardened and are no longer growing, so it can be more difficult to realign them, making treatment time longer than average. The teeth may also be worn down from years of use, especially if the patient has been negligent about dental care. Depending on how much damage has been inflicted, this can make it more risky for orthodontic procedures. In this case, there are still ways to gently align the teeth without damaging the teeth or bones.

Older Adults (56+)
Nowadays, more adults in their later years are opting for orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign, too! It’s normal for the mouth and teeth to change shape or move out of alignment due to dental decay, teeth grinding, or simply natural wear at this age.  While there are older patients who have never had orthodontic treatment, many also choose to undergo a second round because their body and teeth have changed. Orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign can slow down the natural progression of tooth loss and prevent pain caused by an improper bite.

The only situation where a patient would not be eligible for Invisalign is if they’ve had a history of periodontal disease or bone loss. Severe gum disease deteriorates the teeth and bones. Regardless of how the teeth or bones are shaped, they must be strong enough to handle the pushing and pulling involved with realigning teeth. The orthodontist will not recommend treatment if the patient has fragile bones or teeth because they could be permanently damaged in the process. This doesn’t necessarily mean patients cannot get Invisalign though. With the help of a periodontist, the gum and bone health can be restored for orthodontic treatment.
There is a distinction between gum diseases and severe periodontal disease – only severe periodontal disease is a risk. In fact, 50% of the population is diagnosed with a form of mild gum disease, gingivitis.

What can Invisalign treat?

You may be skeptical about the effectiveness of clear aligner therapy by its looks, but Invisalign actually works just as well as traditional braces. Most orthodontic issues can easily be treated by Invisalign. They include:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Malocclusions
  • Overbite
  • Open bite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite

Invisalign is best for mild to moderate orthodontic cases. Only the orthodontist can determine whether you are suited for Invisalign by performing a full examination of your teeth and x-rays.

If you’d like to learn more about Invisalign for adults, give us a call at Smiles Orthodontics. Our orthodontist has treated many patients and can recommend the best orthodontic treatment for you!