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invisalign elite preferred provider

Dr. Emma is nationally awarded Elite Preferred Provider Status for her extensive experience using Invisalign since its first introduction in 1999. She is among the top 1% of Invisalign certified specialists in North America.

Please contact Dr. Emma’s office with any questions or to schedule your free initial consultation.

american association of orthodontists

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Adult Orthodontics: Orthodontics for All Ages

Can adults receive orthodontic treatment?
How does treatment for adults differ from that of children and adolescents?
I have pain in my jaw muscles and joints - can an orthodontist help?
My family dentist said I need orthodontic treatment before I can get some missing teeth replaced - why?
My teeth have been crooked for years and years - should I have orthodontic treatment now?

Can adults receive orthodontic treatment?

Yes, many orthodontic issues can be corrected just as easily and just as well for adults as for children. Whether you are 75 or 12, the principles of orthodontics and of moving teeth work the same--if your teeth are healthy, they can be moved at almost any age. This is why one out of every five orthodontic patients, over one million in the United States and Canada, is an adult.

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How does treatment for adults differ from that of children and adolescents?

Since adults facial and jaw features have completed growing, and adults may have even experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth, some adjustments may be made to orthodontic treatment than the treatment done for children.

If necessary, close coordination may be required between the orthodontist and an adult patient's oral surgeon, endodontist, periodontist, or family dentist to ensure that the orthodontic treatment is managed properly and complements any other medical or dental needs.

Below are the most common characteristics that can cause adult treatment to differ from treatment for children.

  • No jaw growth: Emerging problems with the jaw can usually be managed well in a growing child with an orthopedic appliance that helps modify growth. However, the same issue with an adult may require jaw surgery. For example, if an adult has a severe bit problem because his or her lower jaw is too short to match the upper jaw, the limited amount that teeth can be moved with braces alone may not correct this bite problem. Surgery could help lengthen the lower jaw and bring the lower teeth forward into a proper bite. Surgery may also be advisable for other instances where the width or length of the upper or lower jaws cause problems with the bite, and if tooth movement alone cannot correct it.
  • Gum or bone loss (periodontal breakdown): If an adult has experienced damage or loss of gums and bones that support their teeth due to periodontal disease, it may be necessary to have special treatment by the patient's dentist or a periodontist prior to or during orthodontic treatment. If bone loss is severe, it might also affect the amount of tooth movement that is advisable.
  • Worn, damaged or missing teeth: Worn, damaged or missing teeth can introduce complications to orthodontic treatment, but may also mean that orthodontic treatment is all the more important to have. Worn teeth may move into positions where they can be restored only after precise orthodontic treatment. Damaged teeth that do not look good or function well may require collaboration between the orthodontist and a family dentist. When missing teeth are not replaced, it often affects other teeth, causing damage to the bite and increasing the potential for periodontal problems.

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I have pain in my jaw muscles and joints - can an orthodontist help?

An orthodontist can certainly help diagnose this problem and provide you with advice or treatment. Jaw muscle and joint discomfort is commonly associated with habitual grinding or clenching of the teeth, particularly at night (also known as bruxism). Bruxism can eventually cause severe wear and tear on the teeth, overload the jaw's joint structures, and in some cases cause chronic or acutely sore and painful jaw muscles.

In cases of bruxism, the orthodontist may place a bite splint or nightguard appliance that can help protect the teeth and help jaw muscles relax. If structural damage has occured, in some cases it can require joint surgery and/or restoration of any damaged teeth.

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My family dentist said I need orthodontic treatment before I can get some missing teeth replaced - why?

Dentists will recommend orthodontics as a way to compliment the work they are doing for your dental health. When permanent teeth are lost, it is not uncommon for any remaining teeth to drift, tip or shift, causing a poor bite and uneven spacing that makes restoration difficult. Many complicated tooth restorations such as crowns, bridges and implants are most effective when working with a mouth in which teeth are already properly aligned and the bite is correct. Tipped teeth usually need to be straightened so they can withstand normal biting pressures moving forward.

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My teeth have been crooked for years and years - should I have orthodontic treatment now?

For adults who have endured problems for years, orthodontic treatment can restore good function, and bring back a healthy, beautiful smile that will last you for the rest of your life. And a healthy, beautiful smile can improve self-esteem, no matter the age.

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