Adult Orthodontic Care

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. Treatment for orthodontic problems as an adult may be needed if you experience any of the following:

  • Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth
  • Teeth grinding
  • Malocclusion (“bad bite”) or the feeling that your teeth don't fit together
  • Jaw pain, including popping or grinding while moving your jaw
  • Unattractive smile

Orthodontic treatment is important not just to correct your bite, or the function of your mouth, but also for aesthetics . If you are unhappy with your smile, the appearance of your teeth, or your bite you should make an appointment with a member of our team of qualified orthodontists.

I'm an adult. I don't want to wear braces.

The misconceptions about orthodontic treatment include that braces are the only form of orthodontic treatment. We have many treatment options for adults, and braces are only one of them. At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, we specialize in creating a treatment program that is individualized for you, with your activities, lifestyle and goals in mind.

Who should evaluate me for possible orthodontic treatment?

Your dentist will usually recommend you be evaluated by an orthodontist. Be sure to select an orthodontist who is board certified and a member of the American Association of Orthodontists.

What should I expect from my initial visit?

When you make your appointment, you will be asked to bring several forms with you.
(See Your First Appointment ).

  • You will be asked questions about your overall health, family history and any current medical problems.
  • Your orthodontist will examine you carefully, including your mouth, jaw, face and neck.
  • If it is indicated, the orthodontist might take diagnostic records including x-rays, photographs, and articulated study casts of your teeth to aid in the diagnostic process.
  • After discussing possible treatment options, your orthodontist will work with you to create the treatment option that is most appropriate for you. Treatment for orthodontic conditions include:
    • Braces
    • Retainers
    • Other appliances
  • After deciding on the appropriate treatment, your orthodontist will set up a treatment plan. This plan will include periodic check-ups, possible additional appliances and an overall timeline for treatment.

How long will treatment for orthodontic problems take?

Treatment times vary depending on the complexity of your problems, your own biology and your compliance with treatment recommendations. Most treatments are completed within 6–24 months. Your orthodontist should be able to give you an approximate timetable for the length of time you would need orthodontic treatment.

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