Moms and Teens Getting Orthodontic Treatment Together

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

There’s a new trend afoot—moms and teens getting orthodontic treatment together. In fact, according to the American Association of Orthodontics, nearly 1.7 million adults sought orthodontic treatment in 2016—a 50 percent increase since 2006.

We sat down with Roseville, CA orthodontist Dr. Donna Galante to get the scoop on this new trend and why it has become so popular.

Q: We all know why some teens need a mouth full of metal, but why are some moms in their 30s and 40s choosing to get a second round of orthodontic treatment?  What are the different types of orthodontic treatment available for teens and adults today?

A:  Adults need treatment as they age for a variety of reasons. First, as we age, our jawbone can change which sometimes causes teeth to crowd. When teeth crowd, they overlap and this can shift the entire midline if it is not fixed properly. The midline is, of course, the middle line of the teeth. So ideally, we want our teeth to be positioned on either side of the midline to be completely symmetrical.

Invisalign clear aligners have become an increasingly popular option for those who are looking for orthodontic treatment as a teen or adult because the technology treats simple to complex cases, and is nearly transparent, so teens (and adults) can look and FEEL like themselves. Many of my patients opt for Invisalign clear aligners because of their convenience and the fact that they can straighten their smile without interrupting their daily routine.    

Q: What are some other ways our teeth can shift and spread apart as we age?

A: Our teeth can also spread apart as we age due to the muscle in the front of the mouth relaxing over time. Periodontal disease, which is caused by bacteria living under gum tissue, can also lead to spreading. Spreading can also result from an unconscious oral habit like tongue thrusting or nail biting.

Some adults also experience tooth collapse or severely worn down teeth. If this happens, do not replace a missing tooth. Consider orthodontic treatment instead. When you replace a tooth, you alter the structure of your teeth and ultimately run the risk of changing your facial features and jaw position. Like most other issues, poor oral health can also contribute to tooth collapse.

Q: Is it true that it is more common for your teeth to shift if you had braces as a child? How does this happen?

A:  Yes. If you’re someone who had braces as a child and neglected to wear your retainer after your treatment ended, your teeth are more likely to shift as you age. This shifting is gradual but it can definitely happen. Your teeth can also shift slightly as you age if you grind your teeth at night or do not treat underlying oral problems such as gingivitis.  

invisalign braces
Photo courtesy of Dr. Galante

Q: What are some benefits of going through orthodontic treatment with your teen?

A:  As more and more parents choose to undergo orthodontic treatment with their teens, we’re seeing families grow closer as they experience treatment together. As with any procedure or life event, it is easier to go through something new when you have someone at home to keep you accountable and share your experience with. Even small events like removing your clear aligners together before you sit down for family dinner can bring parents closer to their kids in ways they never anticipated.

It is so fun to see these parent-child relationships grow and improve from a clinical perspective, too. We’ve seen parents call to reschedule their checkups to match their children’s appointments so they can sit next to each other. It really is such an exciting time for us and we are thrilled to see adults embrace orthodontic treatment with as much dedication as their children.

Q: How important is it to wear your retainer after treatment ends? Any tips for us to know when it comes retainer wear?  

A: It is imperative to wear your retainer after treatment ends. Follow your orthodontist’s instructions and wear your retainer as instructed to ensure your teeth do not return to their original position. Try to clean your retainer with your toothbrush and toothpaste once per day. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or a dishwasher to clean it. You can also use a toothbrush and hydrogen peroxide to keep your retainer clean and bacteria free.

Finally, do not eat or drink with your retainer in your mouth. Excess liquid or food trapped in and around your retainer trays can cause greater exposure to acid and bacteria, resulting in potential tooth decay.

For more on Dr. Galante, visit her personal website here. And if you’re considering orthodontic treatment for your teen, or yourself, check out to find an orthodontist in your area.



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