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Column: Adults can achieve a new smile, too

11:59 AM, Jan. 18, 2013  |  Comments
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Have you ever wondered about how nice it would be to have a more attractive smile? It is never too late to improve your smile.

Things have changed. Orthodontic care is no longer just for children and teens. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists states that one in five orthodontic patients is older than 21. If you didn't get the orthodontic treatment you required when you were a child, it doesn't mean you should give up on the idea of having a flawless smile. The great news is that orthodontic treatment can be used just as successfully on adults as children, and after years of living with less-than-perfect teeth, the results can be even more pleasing and life-changing.

Orthodontics has come a very long way since the days of "brace face" and "metal mouth." and there are a variety of options for adults who would like to improve their smiles. The main difference between child and adult orthodontics is that with adults, unlike children, the bone is not always as flexible, and it might take longer to move the teeth. However, when they do move, they leave patients with healthy, straight smiles.

Your age is not a factor as long as the bone and gum tissue surrounding your teeth are healthy. Many adult patients obtain orthodontic treatment not only to straighten their teeth, but also to help improve their bite, align their upper and lower jaws, and create an overall younger looking appearance.

An orthodontist will carefully consider your overall face and assess not only how well aligned your teeth are, but also how the upper lips are supported by the teeth, the smile line, fullness of smile and bite among other things. In many cases where a patient's anatomy of their teeth does not allow for the best aesthetic result, they may consider composite or porcelain veneers to improve the shape and color for that perfect smile. In many situations, simple tooth whitening when everything is positioned in the right place achieves the best result.

In our multi-specialty dental practice, our orthodontists are able to closely coordinate your care with your primary dentist, an oral surgeon, periodontist and endodontist to ensure your treatment plan is managed well and that we achieve the smile you've been dreaming about. Because an adult person's bones no longer are growing, in certain extreme cases involving the jaw bones, desired outcomes simply cannot be achieved with braces alone. Occasionally, adult orthodontic treatment may need to be combined with the efforts of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to achieve the optimal result.

Smiles last a lifetime, but only with the proper care that they deserve. Our adult orthodontic practice is here to make sure your smile stays beautiful and healthy throughout your life.

Dr. Carl F. Meinhardt DDS, is an orthodontist with the Dental Clinic of Marshfield.

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