Jessica had plenty of things to worry about: her graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, a demanding workload as a team manager at a telecommunications company and an active social schedule.
At 38, the Cherry Hill resident wasn’t expecting to add the stress of braces into the equation, especially since she’d gone through the process as a teen. But after a visit with her dentist to inquire about veneers, Jessica learned she needed additional treatment to straighten her bite.
“My intent was to get Lumineers to straighten and whiten my teeth, but preparatory X-rays for that uncovered a bone integrity issue, which required traditional braces for treatment,” she says. So, she was fitted with silver braces from 2008 to 2010.
Her story in not unique, though. Today, adults represent one in five braces-wearers, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.
To accommodate this demographic of appearance-conscious adults, orthodontists have faster and more comfortable ways to treat and straighten teeth, from less conspicuous braces to surgical procedures to correct and change the jaw position.
Dr Paul Batastini, of Batastini Orthodontics in Cherry Hill, says the key to a healthy, rewarding smile is in a multidisciplinary approach. Poor bites and misaligned teeth are usually corrected by an orthodontist, but when growth abnormalities in the jaw are also a factor, an oral surgeon may come into the picture. This combined teamwork, Dr. Batastini says, can address both crooked teeth and jaw line anomalies, providing an end result of a bright smile and facial symmetry.
“Orthognatic surgery, which involves moving the jaw into its correct position, not only changes your smile, but can also dramatically enhance your facial appearance,” he explains.
First, braces are placed by an orthodontist to move teeth where they need to be. Then, an oral surgeon performs a routine surgical procedure to move the jaw into place, Batastini says.
“This is purely done in adults, when bone growth is completely finished, with patients who have fairly significant jaw discrepancies,” he explains. “It’s become more routine in the last 10 to 15 years, and the good news is most medical insurances will pay for it, where they won’t pay for cosmetic plastic surgery.”
With the advent of dental implants and veneers, it’s also extremely important to make sure that teeth are in the proper position prior to placing any dental implants. Once the implants are placed, you can’t move teeth, Batastini warns.
The orthodontic experience isn’t that much different for adults than it is for children and teens. But thanks to advancements in different wires and smaller bracket sizes, braces are much more comfortable now than they were in the past, Batastini says. That’s because orthodontists now use self-ligating brackets, and no longer need to use rubber band ties that discolor and collect plaque, contributing to poor hygiene. “With the ties we used to place, it also produces friction that slows down tooth movement. The new brackets move the teeth more efficiently, and with less discomfort,” he says.
Treatment can be reduced to as little as six months, or two years in severe cases.
As well, those clunky metal brackets are no longer the only options, notes Dr. Thomas Kadar, of Kadar Orthodontics in Sewell. “Adults are most conscious of appearance,” he says. “So depending on what the problem is, there are many options we consider.” Between 20 percent and 30 percent of Kadar’s patients are adults.
Alternative options like Invisalign can move the teeth about a quarter of a millimeter at a time using clear, form-fitted retainers. There are also clear brackets available, or braces that are fitted on the back of the teeth, Kadar explains.
“My braces didn't stop me from smiling, but at the same time I felt they were an aesthetic deficiency,” Jessica says, “Though occasionally, to my surprise, they were an attractant or conversation starter.”
Many adult patients visit the orthodontist for aesthetic reasons, Dr. Kadar says, but “they’re usually surprised when you show them that there’s a functional problem, too.”
If you have a serious issue with the bite of your teeth, more negative consequences can follow if treatment is not address, such as gum problems, cheek biting, uneven tooth wearing, bone loss, or other problems, he warns.
“The sooner you complete your treatment, the sooner you get to enjoy your new smile,” Kadar says. “It’s like jumping into cold water: once you start the treatment it’s not that bad.”
There are orthodontic solutions for every lifestyle and budget, no matter your age.
After roughly 22 months, Jessica’s braces were removed, revealing perfectly aligned teeth that were ready for further whitening treatments. She now has a bright, dazzling smile, just in time for her 40th birthday.
…Special Advertising Section from the pages of South Jersey Magazine…
From cleanings to braces, whitening and advanced procedures, theses area dental professionals have the skills you need.
ABC Children’s Dentistry
Dr. Jeffrey M. Singer
As a pediatric dentist, I have the privilege of working with many of the top orthodontists in the country. A healthy and beautiful smile will have a profound impact on a person’s life.
Dr. Paul F. Batastini
Many adults are using dental implants to improve their overall appearance. Working with dentists, orthodontists use braces to prepare teeth alignment prior to placement of dental implants. Braces serve the role of aligning and fixing the position of the teeth, since once implants are placed, they cannot be orthodontically moved.
Dr. Franck Euksuzian & Dr. Monique Braatz
Our focus of dentistry is preventive care combined with advanced aesthetics, resulting in healthy beautiful smiles that everyone loves. We provide the highest quality of dentistry, making our practice special.
Dr. Sarkis Euksuzian
Our orthodontic team consists of highly skilled professionals who are committed to providing you with the most personalized care. We strive to make your experience an enjoyable and rewarding one. Medford
Dr. Lisa N. Gallucci
You want to look great at work, at school and with friends. Maybe you speak to groups or conduct meetings. Invisalign is clear and nearly invisible; nobody will know you're straightening your teeth!
Dr. Alan Meltzer & Associates
Alan M. Meltzer
A world-renowned dentist who practices and lives right here in South Jersey! People from all over the Delaware Valley and elsewhere travel to Dr. Meltzer’s office due to his outstanding reputation. He has been a guest lecturer on periodontology and dental implant procedures on six continents.
Drs. Rosen & Dworkin, PA
Dr. Fred M. Rosen, Dr. Gary S. Dworkin & Dr. Apolonio Lirio
We cannot underestimate the importance of regular cleanings and fluoride treatments during orthodontic treatment. Decay and gum problems can be caught early or prevented if they are detected before they get too bad.
Dr. Tom Kadar
It's easy for us to believe that a new smile can change your life. After all, we see it happen every day at Kadar Orthodontics. Utilizing the best orthodontic technologies, Dr. Kadar quickly produces awesome results for his patients. A few months, a new life!
(856) 582-1400 (Spec. #3856)
Dr. D. Howard Lassin
Lassin Dentistry features the latest dental technologies and patient amenities to provide patients with the very best in comfort and care. Lassin Dentistry has new, advanced equipment to better serve our patients, and offers teeth whitening services such as ZOOM, dental implants and general care. Most insurance plans welcomed.
Morrone & Kaye Orthodontics
Dr. Mary Beth Morrone & Dr. Richard A. Kaye
Morrone & Kaye is conveniently located in downtown Moorestown as well as diagonally across from Virtua Hospital in Mount Holly. We pay attention to all the small smile details in a warm, friendly environment.
Dr. Marie O’Reily
We feel it’s important to let our patients know, while in this troubled economy, they can count on us to offer affordable fees without jeopardizing the personalized care that we are known for.
State of the Art Smiles
Dr. Teresa J. Addiego & Dr. David R. Edenbaum
Invisalign is a system of straightening teeth without conventional braces, making them undetectable and easy to wear for mild or moderate orthodontic situations. Our doctors have completed the training and received certifications to treat patients with Invisalign.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 7 (October, 2011).
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