Our adult patients are ALL ages. We have never been told by an adult patient that they regretted going forward with treatment. On the contrary, our adult patients better understand the results and really appreciate the health and aesthetic benefits of their improved smile!
Living with Crooked Teeth and Malocclusion
Adults who continue to live with orthodontic problems face increasing risk and damage for their teeth and overall health. Misaligned teeth are very difficult to clean and wear down unevenly. This can lead to tooth loss, cavities, and gum disease. Medical studies have now linked gum disease to major health conditions. From the American Academy of Periodontology: “Several research studies have associated gum disease with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.” (Perio.org/9-21-2010).
Effects on Jaw Function
Further, teeth that do not meet properly (malocclusion) have a damaging effect on jaw function.This can lead to jaw joint damage and jaw joint pain. Other associated problems can be damaged and fatigued muscles of the face and jaws which results in various types of orofacial pain. These pains and dysfunctions are broadly classified under the heading TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders) or Orofacial Pain.
Dr. Lawrence completed a year-long residency in Orofacial Pain at the world’s premier facial pain center: The Orofacial Pain Center at The University of Kentucky. And, he completed and maintains board certification in Orofacial Pain. (Read more about this in TMJ Disorders/Orofacial Pain.)
Adults also are often referred to us for “pre-prosthetic” orthodontics. Due to advances in dental science, as a population we are keeping our teeth longer. Many times advanced restorative and implant dentistry requires othodontic care. Dr. Lawrence has extensive experience in working with restorative dentists to best enhance the outcome of your results. For example, it is common in adults who have a deep overbite (excessive overlap of the front teeth) to have significantly worn or broken front teeth because the teeth are not meeting properly. If the bite is not corrected prior to the restoration of the teeth, the bonding, veneers, or crowns will fail like the natural teeth did.
In the situation of missing teeth, the remaining teeth will begin to shift into the space of the extracted tooth. We often see adults who desire implant replacement of missing teeth or new crowns and need their alignment corrected first, in order to get better results from their dental work. At times, implants can’t be placed without prior orthodontic correction.
Orthognathic (Jaw) Surgery
Some forms of jaw imbalance, malocclusion, and orofacial pain require jaw surgery for optimal correction and function. Jaw surgery requires integration of treatment with your family dentist and an oral surgeon. Dr. Lawrence will direct you to an excellent oral surgeon. He will work closely with the surgeon on the treatment plan and implementation of the plan to make sure you get the best results from your surgery. Dr. Lawrence has extensive experience in orthodontic preparation for jaw surgery.