geriatric orthodonticsTraditional thought says that orthodontic treatment, including being fitted for braces, is only for teenagers or perhaps young adults. However, the fields of dentistry and orthodontics have changed quite a bit in recent years. Not only that, but people are living longer and many older people have more disposable income than previous generations. Whether an older individual simply wants a smile that will help them feel more confident or if they have some type of dental issue that is causing discomfort, there are dental professionals who can address these issues, no matter the age of the patient.

Dr. Dougherty of Dougherty Orthodontics in St. Louis Missouri has the expertise and experience working with seniors to get them a great smile that they deserve using geriatric orthodontics. 

Why Orthodontics for Seniors?

Older people who decide they would like to receive orthodontic treatment generally fall into two categories. Some individuals may have had a less than optimal smile for most of their life and they decide they finally want to improve the look of their teeth. After working for an entire lifetime, they have the extra funds to spend on cosmetic improvements that help them feel more confident and attractive.

Other individuals developed a dental issue over the course of their lifetime that now causes them to have difficulty eating, drinking or perhaps even speaking normally. In other cases, a person may have one or more teeth shift significantly over their lifetime and now they run the risk of incurring additional dental problems such as root damage, if they do not the address the issue. Geriatric orthodontics are a great option for those who need to correct dental issues. 

Regardless of the reason, older people now realize they can reach out and get the help they need rather than suffer for years in silence.   

Why Geriatric Orthodontics Today? 

Less Tooth Loss –

In previous generations, by the time an individual reached what was considered a senior age, many people had enough significant dental issues that orthodontic treatment was impossible. In fact, in past generations many older people did not even have a full set of teeth due to significant tooth decay and disease. Either their teeth fell out on their own, or they had their diseased teeth pulled by a dentist and were fitted with dentures.

Many of today’s seniors practiced better dental habits over the course of their lifetime, than did their predecessors. Regular brushing and flossing, drinking fluoridated water, and perhaps even orthodontic treatment as a teen, allowed today’s seniors to retain a full set of teeth that reflect their careful habits. Over a long period of time, if their teeth happened to move enough to require orthodontic treatment again, they are still good candidates for braces since their teeth are healthy enough for additional treatment.

Better Treatments Available – 

Over the past few decades, dental treatments and options have advanced quite a bit and now offer solutions for a wider variety of dental problems. In the past, the only option available for more complex issues was to simply pull all of a person’s teeth and fit them with dentures. For individuals who enjoyed good dental health all their life, but developed an issue in later years, there simply was no solution other than a pair of dentures. Today, the field of dentistry has many more tools and techniques available to treat dental problems, regardless of the age of the patient.

Longer Lifespans – 

Most people are living much longer lives than previous generations which translates into many more decades of using their teeth for eating, drinking and speaking. Dental professionals have also come to understand how important it is to preserve teeth as long as possible in order to retain one’s ability to perform these vital functions. Unlike dentures, the preservation of a person’s natural teeth allows an individual the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of foods, without restriction, well into their advanced years. More and more studies confirm that following a balanced diet which includes a wide variety of foods, is vitally important for maintaining optimal health, especially for seniors. Having a healthy set of teeth allows older people to eat and drink normally, thus affording them every opportunity to partake in a healthy diet that will enable them to live a long and healthy life.

If you’re a senior who has wondered if you can still receive orthodontic treatment, contact Dougherty Orthodontics for a complimentary consultation! We would love to help you smile!