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Young Adults And Orthodontic Problems: Is It Too Late To Realign Your Teeth?

If you're a young adult who worries about the condition of your teeth, you may wonder if orthodontic treatment is the right option for you. It doesn't matter if you're in your early 20s or late 60s, you can still straighten out your teeth with braces and other orthodontic appliances. Learn more about misaligned teeth and how orthodontic treatment might be a good way to fix your dental problems.

What Does Misalignment Mean?

Orthodontists and other dental providers use the term misalignment to describe teeth that don't line up correctly inside the jawbone. One of the most common types of misaligned teeth problems is malocclusion. Malocclusion describes teeth that protrude outward, lie too close together, or overlap. 

Your jaw can also become misaligned. A misaligned jaw can cause structural issues with your facial bones, or it can cause some of your teeth to move out of place. In a number of cases, misalignment of the jaw is one of the biggest reasons for malocclusion, especially if the jawbone fractures or breaks. 

A number of problems can occur from misaligned teeth and jaws, including:

  • Trouble biting, chewing, and moving food around the mouth
  • Difficulty speaking or pronouncing specific sounds
  • Sleep disturbances

Food and plaque can also become trapped between each misaligned tooth when you eat, which can lead to gingivitis and tooth decay. If you straighten your teeth or fix your jaw, you may be able to stop gingivitis and tooth decay from happening to you.

What Alignment Options Do You Have?

Before an orthodontist realigns your teeth and/or jaw, they'll need to examine every area of your mouth and jaw. The exam:

  • addresses the underlying cause of your misalignment
  • assesses the overall condition of your teeth
  • reveals the structural position of your jaw

Once a dentist addresses each of the problems above, they'll select the most effective treatment option for you. For instance, if you have problems with the position, size, or shape of your upper jaw, an orthodontist may provide surgery to repair it. If your misalignment only occurs in your upper jaw, a dentist may correct it with clear aligners or ceramic braces. 

Some young adults may require traditional dental treatments before they receive orthodontic care. Traditional treatments, such as gum disease management and tooth restorations, may be options for you. In order for your orthodontic treatment to be successful, your mouth must be clean and free of disease. 

You can learn about your orthodontic treatment options and how they may benefit you by contacting an orthodontist near you.