Orthodontic treatment can be sought at any age, and by anyone. As long as you have teeth, and they are standing at an angle that is not completely straight, as long as you have a bite that does not close like a picket fence, getting orthodontics will improve your oral health and your appearance as well. It doesn’t matter how many teeth you have, how old you are, or what your face looks like; you can benefit from orthodontic treatment.
That being said, it is true that as bones grow older, they respond to orthodontic treatment worse and worse and the teeth are more difficult to shift with age. This means that there is a perfect opportunity for orthodontic treatment, but if you missed it don’t worry! Modern medicine has made it that absolutely everyone at any age can receive the benefits of orthodontic treatment.
Window of opportunity
Bones are quite bendable and resilient at first, and become more and more calcified and brittle as time goes on, losing their lustre as all things do over time. Therefor it makes sense that orthodontic treatment works best on bones that are young and that can easily recover, easily bend and can still be rearranged. But in order for orthodontic treatment to make sense, we need all the teeth to be in place, meaning we need the second molars to have erupted already. This gives us a magical window of opportunity in which orthodontic treatment can best be performed, right after the second molars have erupted and are visible, when we can already see all of the teeth but the jaw bones are at their youngest and are still easy to manipulate. This is usually around 12 or 13 years of age, which is why braces are so often linked with teenage years.
The older the bones are, the more calcified and brittle they become, and they respond less and less to treatment each year. This does not mean that they cannot be manipulated, but adult orthodontics usually takes somewhat longer. Not to worry though, as many things are taken into consideration in this new field of orthodontry, the most important being appearance and comfort. While we can make school children wear braces, and nothing but their pride will be hurt, many adults have jobs in which appearances are very important, and they simply cannot afford to show up with a mouth full of metal. The many different kind of tooth coloured braces, transparent and clear brackets and aligners are all available to help adults get a smile they can be proud of. It is never too late to start!