Best Orthodontic Options for Different Ages

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People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment, but teeth straightening is not a one-size-fits-all therapy – some orthodontic treatments work better for some age groups than for others.

You are never too old to straighten your teeth. In fact, one in three orthodontic patients are adults. Age is rarely a deciding factor when it comes to whether or not to straighten your teeth, but your dentist will take your age into consideration when developing your customized treatment plan.

Age and Tooth Movement

The physiological process of straightening teeth is the same whether you are 8 or 80. Teeth move in response to force being placed on them over time. Orthodontic treatment applies gentle pressure that moves teeth towards their correct position within the jaw. Orthodontic appliances, such as braces and aligners, apply this pressure.

The patient’s jawbone changes in response to this pressure, in a process known as bone remodeling. The bone in front of the tooth (or between the tooth and its correct position) responds to the pressure by dissolving away. This allows the tooth to move. Meanwhile, the bone tissue left behind by the tooth starts to add new bone that prevents the tooth from drifting backwards. When the whole process of teeth straightening is done, bone remodeling creates a solid foundation to keep teeth straight and in place.

This process of bone remodeling is the same for all ages, which means that orthodontic tooth movement can be successful at all ages.

Orthodontic Care by Age Group


It’s been widely acknowledged via the American Association of Orthodontists that around the age of 7 is the best time to have an orthodontic evaluation to look for early signs of crowding, eruption, and growth problems in children’s teeth. However, newer research is showing benefits to treating as early as possible- especially in patients with tongue ties, small or narrow palates, or airway/sleeping problems. With newer technology such as 3D printing, we are now able to treat younger children - even as early as 4 years old!

Some children benefit from orthodontic expanders, also known as palatal expanders. Orthodontic expanders widen the upper jaw to create more room for teeth, which may prevent crooked teeth and the need for braces later on. Our Richardson, TX orthodontics specialist can determine if your child may benefit from orthodontic expanders.


Teenagers tend to be self-conscious about their appearance in general, and their smile specifically. It may also be hard for teenagers weigh the benefits of straight teeth with the lengthy orthodontic treatment process. These young patients may benefit most from invisible braces, such as lingual braces that put the wires and brackets on the inside of teeth where they are not easily seen and clear or ceramic braces that are less noticeable than their metal counterparts.

Like traditional braces, invisible braces are attached to the teeth, so there is little chance of a teenager losing them. Your dentist tightens them according to a pre-planned schedule, which makes it easy to comply with the treatment plan and finish treatment on time.


Adults have different needs than do children and teenagers, and older patients tend to be more responsible compared to younger ones, so adults have different needs when it comes to teeth straightening.

The brackets and wires of traditional braces are almost a rite of passage for teenagers, but they are a source of embarrassment for many adults. This is especially true for adults who have jobs in the spotlight or who must maintain a professional demeanor.

Fortunately, there are braces for adults. Invisalign uses clear plastic aligner trays that are nearly invisible, for example. The nearly-invisible nature of Invisalign makes it less noticeable, so adults can maintain a professional image while they straighten their teeth.

Invisalign may be better for adults than for children. Adults tend to be more responsible than children or teenagers, for example, so they are more likely to use Invisalign responsibly. To work well, Invisalign must be worn for at least 22 hours each day; while many teenagers try to be responsible, adults may be better at wearing their Invisalign as recommended. Adults may also be less likely to lose their aligner trays when they remove them to eat or play sports.

Invisalign may be right for older teenagers who are responsible enough to take care of their aligner trays, wear them correctly, and not lose them. These teens may benefit from Invisalign’s clear aligner trays, as many teenagers are self-conscious about their looks. Older, more responsible student athletes may also benefit from Invisalign, as it is more comfortable and potentially safer to remove the clear aligners than to play contact sports with traditional braces and a mouthguard. Invisalign® Teen helps teenagers experience a great smile without the appearance and restrictions of traditional metal braces.

No matter how old you are, if you are thinking about orthodontic treatment, consult with Fleming Orthodontics. Our dentist in Richardson can recommend the perfect orthodontic treatment to fit your individual needs.


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