A common misconception about orthodontic treatment is that it is only beneficial for young people. Although teenagers make up a large demographic of people who wear braces, clear aligners, and retainers, these treatments are also popular amount older individuals. Here are some benefits orthodontic treatments may provide for older adults, including senior citizens.
As people age, teeth can shift into abnormal positions, causing misalignments such as tooth crowding. If you are unable to properly brush and floss your teeth because of a misalignment, plaque and tartar will build up, leading to gum inflammation and possible bacterial overgrowth. These conditions heighten the risk for a severe type of gum disease known as periodontitis.
If periodontal disease is not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, it can damage the gingival tissue and destroy the bones that support your teeth. Braces can gradually shift the teeth back into their proper positions so that you can effectively brush and floss your teeth, and over time, your gingivitis will resolve. If your teeth are crowded, your orthodontist may prescribe an antimicrobial oral rinse to eliminate the bacteria in places where brushing and flossing cannot reach.
In addition to raising your risk for gum disease, misaligned teeth can also cause jaw pain, headaches, pain when chewing, earaches, and facial pain. Malocclusions and misaligned teeth can also raise your risk for tooth grinding, which can cause further cause dental damage such as enamel erosion and cracks, as well as severe pain. In addition, older people may be more likely to have missing teeth, which can eventually lead to bite problems and pain.
It is important to note, that while you are wearing your braces, you will need to periodically visit your orthodontist for tightening and adjustment appointments. After these appointments, you may experience mild discomfort. This is normal and it typically resolves in a couple of days. While undergoing your treatment, your orthodontist may recommend that you take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen to treat pain caused by your misaligned teeth. Once your orthodontic treatment is complete and your misalignment has been resolved, your pain will substantially diminish.
If you are an older adult with missing teeth, jaw pain, or bite problems, make an appointment with your dentist who will determine if you are a candidate for braces. Orthodontic treatments can treat even advanced dental problems and improve your oral health regardless of your age.
For more information, contact a local orthodontic practice, like Reed & Sahlaney Orthodontics, LLP.