When it comes to orthodontic treatment, most people tend to have a certain image in mind. It will usually involve awkward teenagers in traditional metal braces, a stereotype that has had surprising staying power over the years! You may not know that modern orthodontic treatment offers patients much more than just braces, and that it can benefit adults as well as children and teens. The number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment has skyrocketed in recent years, with 1 in 4 current patients over the age of 18, but it’s still common for older patients to feel as though it’s too late to do anything about a smile they don’t love.

If you’re one of these adults, you may find the idea of straighter teeth and improved oral health attractive, but aren’t sure you can pull off traditional braces. Perhaps it’s become increasingly difficult over the years to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as they should be, but you just aren’t sure where to begin to correct the issues you’re experiencing. Here at Kottemann Orthodontics, we believe a beautiful smile should be available to patients of all ages, including you! You’re never too old to take advantage of what orthodontics has to offer you, and there’s never been a better time to explore the type of treatments we offer.

Why more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment

As we get older, we often become more aware of the connection that exists between our oral health and our overall health. Caring for our teeth and gums can impact our entire bodies. There are also many adults who never completed orthodontic treatment in their younger years. Some finished the treatment process, but didn’t wear their retainer as directed afterwards, resulting in teeth shifting back to their original positions over time. Previous orthodontic patients may want to complete the interrupted orthodontic process, or redo the entire process. There are a number of reasons people are seeking orthodontic treatment later in life, but at the end of the day, most are simply looking for a way to achieve the straight and healthy smile they have always wanted. To learn more about what orthodontics encompasses and what Kottemann Orthodontics has to offer adult patients like you, keep reading below!

The basics of orthodontics

If you look at general dentistry as an umbrella, orthodontics is a specialty underneath it, focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. Orthodontic issues left untreated over time will almost always worsen. This can cause a number of problems, including abnormal wear and tear to the surface of your teeth and excess stress on the gum tissue and bone. Misaligned teeth are also more difficult to keep clean, which increases the risk for dental issues like cavities and tooth decay.

Orthodontists are dentists with years of extra education, highly specialized training, and expertise in identifying and correcting bite abnormalities. This is what allows them to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile with confidence! When you choose an orthodontist to diagnose and treat your oral issues, you’ll be taking the first step towards receiving the kind of specialized attention and care your oral health needs to thrive.

Kottemann staff working with a patient

Your first orthodontic appointment

We believe that your first visit to Kottemann Orthodontics is one of the most important appointments you’ll have with us. This is our opportunity to get to know each other and to review your medical and dental history. During your initial consultation, our team will:

  • Review your dental and medical history forms
  • Provide a complete oral examination, including x-rays, to determine if treatment is necessary
  • Create a customized treatment plan for you
  • Discuss all financial information, insurance options, and payment plans

We want you to feel confident that you are in the very best hands by the end of this visit, and we work hard to make sure every patient feels comfortable with the process. We encourage patients to be active participants in their treatment, and want you to be fully informed each step of the way towards a straighter smile! Our team will be glad to answer any questions you may have, and we’ll provide all the information you need to determine which treatment is right for you and your lifestyle.

Orthodontic treatment is an important investment. Once our doctors have evaluated your case, they will determine a treatment fee that is based on your specific orthodontic needs and the complexity of the treatment needed. Our staff will always discuss with you in detail both the cost of your treatment and each available payment plan option, so you are able to make the best choice for you, your budget, and your lifestyle. You’ll always know exactly what to expect before beginning treatment.

We never want finances to prevent a patient from receiving the orthodontic treatment they need, and we’re dedicated to providing outstanding orthodontic care for patients of all ages! We want to help you keep your smile healthy, functional, and beautifully aligned. Our practice accepts most major credit cards and insurance plans. If you have dental insurance, our staff is experienced in insurance claims and paperwork, and will help you get the most you can from your plan. We also have affordable payment plans available.

Orthodontic treatments for adult patients

Modern orthodontics has made impressive advancements in recent years. The cutting-edge technology and innovative techniques available with today’s orthodontists allow us to offer adult patients a wide variety of treatment options that are more comfortable and customizable than ever before. This includes:

Traditional metal braces

These are the most common type of braces, and probably the most easily recognizable orthodontic appliance. Typically made of a high-grade stainless steel, braces use a combination of metal brackets, bands, and archwires to gradually move the teeth into more desirable positions. The metal braces we work with today are lighter, sleeker, and far more comfortable than ever before. They’re more fun, too! You can easily customize braces with a wide range of brightly colored elastics that let you show off your team spirit or favorite colors. For patients who prefer a more subtle approach, we also have clear or tooth-colored bands available.

Self-ligating braces

These are made from the same materials as traditional braces, and work in much the same way to move the teeth. However, self-ligating braces don’t require the use of elastics. Instead, there is a specialized clip that helps the archwire guide teeth into place. The clip helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth, and also requires fewer adjustments because there are no elastics to replace. Self-ligating braces come with traditional metal, ceramic, or clear brackets.

Ceramic braces

Like self-ligating braces, ceramic braces function in much the same way metal braces do, but the brackets are made of a white or tooth-colored ceramic material rather than the more obvious metal. While they are much less noticeable than traditional braces, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as the brackets tend to be a bit larger and slightly more brittle than their metal counterparts. For this reason, we normally recommend ceramic braces for older teen and adult patients who need the strength and functionality of traditional braces but want a more cosmetically appealing option.

Clear aligner therapy

Clear aligners are a series of removable, customized acrylic trays that will straighten your teeth the same way braces do, but without all the hardware. The aligners are invisible, offering adult patients an incredibly discrete orthodontic option. They are also made to fit over your teeth so they are very comfortable as they gently straighten your smile over time. Because they are removable, there are no food restrictions and oral hygiene is a simple process. This gives you a bit more flexibility than fixed appliances like braces.

Every treatment option will have its own list of pros and cons, and not every treatment will be suitable for all patients. However, working with experienced orthodontists like our doctors guarantees you’ll receive the most appropriate treatment for your particular case.

Estimated treatment times

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to orthodontic treatment times.  Every case is different, and every patient will respond to treatment in their own way. Treatment time will also vary depending on the severity and specifics of the problem being corrected. On average, you can expect treatment time to last anywhere from 18 to 30 months, but it could be longer or shorter. Although we aren’t able to give you a concrete answer for how long you’ll need to wear braces or aligners, we will always give you an estimated treatment time before you begin the process!

Dr. Kottemann working with a patient

Get the smile you’ve always wanted with Kottemann Orthodontics

If you’ve been waiting a lifetime to take the first step towards improving your smile, the last thing you want is a cookie-cutter approach to your treatment. Here at Kottemann Orthodontics, we’ll create a customized treatment plan for you based on your individual orthodontic needs and goals. We have four orthodontists with decades of experience between them, and a skilled staff that is dedicated to giving you only the highest-quality orthodontic experience from your first appointment to your last. With offices in Maple Grove, Orono, Plymouth, Watertown, and Chaska, you’re almost guaranteed to find a location convenient to your home, work, or school. Get in touch with us today to learn more about the compassionate care and beautiful smiles we provide for adult patients in our community!