When it comes to braces, teens and pre-teens remain the typical patients for orthodontists. But their moms and dads may soon be catching up.
Today, one in four orthodontic patients is an adult, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.
Many of those adult patients are in their 20s and 30s, but the number of older patients also continues to grow. In fact, itâ€™s not unusual for an orthodontist to see patients in their 60s, 70s and even 80s.
â€œWe have seen parents and grandparents go through an orthodontic treatment alongside their children and grandchildren,â€ says Dr. Seth Newman, who is co-author with Dr. Steve Giannoutsos of â€œGiving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodonticsâ€\ But Were Afraid to Askâ€ (AskTheOrthos.com).
In deciding if orthodontic treatment is appropriate for an adult, Dr. Giannoutsos says the most important consideration is the condition of their gums and bone levels, and whether they are healthy enough for the procedures. Usually, thatâ€™s not a problem, though.
â€œAs long as the gums and bone levels are satisfactory, there are many new treatments and procedures that can greatly benefit adults, including senior citizens,â€ Dr. Giannoutsos says.
Dr. Newman says patients who had braces as a child are informed consumers and know the importance of consulting with an orthodontist if they have any issues, such as teeth shifting over the years.
But many adult patients didnâ€™t have any orthodontics treatment as a child. Dr. Newman and Dr. Giannoutsos say those patients usually decide to get their teeth straightened now for one of four reasons:
â€¢ Finances are better. They always wanted straight and beautiful smile but they couldnâ€™t afford it until they became adults, or they could never find the right time to do it.
â€¢ They are educated consumers. They know about the benefits of having straight teeth, including both the cosmetic and health benefits.
â€¢ They are having other dental work done. The treatment is being done in coordination with other dental work so they have a strong foundation on which the additional dental procedures can be performed.
â€¢ They want to please their spouse. Some adults decide to improve their smile for their significant others, or because they are being encouraged by them to pursue the procedure. Dr. Newman and Dr. Giannoutsos refer to those people as â€œthe romantics.â€
â€œWe all want to look good,â€ Dr. Newman says. â€œThe days of â€˜Iâ€™m too old for bracesâ€™ are over. Our mature patients are just as proud as our younger ones to have their teeth straightened.â€
Dr. Seth Newman is a board-certified orthodontic specialist for over 10 years. He is a graduate of Binghamton University with a degree in Environmental Health. Dr. Newman, with Dr. Steve Giannoutsos is the co-author of â€œGiving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid to Askâ€ (AskTheOrthos.com). He completed his dental training at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, where he graduated at the top of his class. He is a member of the National Dental Honor Society. Dr. Newman furthered his education at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. He continued his postgraduate studies in Orthodontics at New York University College of Dentistry. While at NYU, Dr. Newman participated as a clinical instructor of the Invisalign appliance. Dr. Steve Giannoutsos, or â€œDr. G.â€ as he is commonly called, was born in Astoria, Queens, just outside of New York City. He graduated from St. Johnâ€™s University in Jamaica, Queens, with high honors and a BS in Biology. He is also the co-author with Dr. Seth Newman of â€œGiving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid to Askâ€ (AskTheOrthos.com). He completed his dental training at NYU, where he graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. He was also accepted into NYUâ€™s highly competitive orthodontic residency program. During that time, he also discovered a passion for treating children and adults with facial deformities. Coinciding his passion, his research thesis to attain specialty certification involved children with cleft deformities.