Malocclusion is the misalignment of teeth. It may present as:
- Open bite
- Tooth crowding
- Crooked presentation
- Gaps and spaces
The most common treatment for malocclusion is braces – often placed during childhood or adolescence to address the problem before the jaw hardens and teeth become more difficult to move.
Malocclusion in Adults
Malocclusion in adults is far from uncommon. In some cases it is largely aesthetic, posing dissatisfaction with appearance, but not necessarily function. However, it is possible for malocclusion in adults to result in more serious issues such as bruxism, problems speaking and chewing, speech irregularities, and increased risks for tooth decay and gum disease.
Treating malocclusion in adults is similar to treating the condition in younger patients and is often accomplished with wire and bracket braces. Treatment with braces is incredibly effective – even in adult mouths – though it can take several years once jawbone is set and may require frequent, painful adjustments over the course of treatment.
Invisalign® for Adults
Invisalign is an alternative to braces for adults who are struggling with minor to moderate malocclusion. Unlike braces, which are affixed to the teeth, Invisalign treatment is completed with a series of clear aligners that work to gradually move teeth into their optimal position. Each set of aligners works to move the teeth slightly more, which is similar to manual adjustment of braces, but often less invasive and painful.
There are several benefits offered by Invisalign including:
- The clear aligners are nearly invisible, making them more cosmetically appealing
- The soft plastic of the aligners will not irritate gums or cut soft oral tissue
- Removing the aligners eliminates dietary restrictions and problems maintaining oral hygiene
- Treatment is often completed in a fraction of the time required for wire and bracket alternatives
While there are several benefits of Invisalign for adults, there are some considerations that should be made as well:
- When removed, aligners can be misplaced or lost
- Aligners must be worn for 22+ hours a day to be effective
- Attachments that look like clear braces may be necessary for some patients
Invisalign is effective when used as directed. Successful treatment requires self-discipline and commitment, making it good for some patients, but not ideally suited to others.
The best way to learn if Invisalign is a good solution for your needs is through a frank and honest discussion with Dr. Nathan Tenney at the Glendale office of Desert Smiles. During this consultation, Dr. Tenney can assess your level of malocclusion, discuss all of your options, and help you choose the most effective treatment for your needs.
Some adults are good candidates for instant orthodontics – the treatment of minor malocclusion with dental veneers. With this option, veneers and other treatments can be combined to produce a straight and attractive smile without orthodontic intervention.
Instant orthodontics is primarily cosmetic, but can improve some function and restore comfort to the bite. If this is a suitable option in your case, Dr. Tenney can provide you with more information during your free, one-on-one consultation.
To schedule your complimentary cosmetic dentistry consultation at Desert Smiles, please call 602-978-1790 today. Located in Glendale, we welcome patients from Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, and all surrounding areas of Arizona.