GRAFTON,Va (WAVY) - Brace yourselves. Teens aren't the only ones getting orthodonticwork; more and more older adults are getting braces. OrthodontistDr. Jennifer Barton says she has treated orthodontry patients intotheir 80s with great success.
For years, 72 year old Virginia Dukart didn't want anyone to seeher smile.
"I was grinding my teeth at night, and I was pushing my teethout, and I had big spaces in between," she said.
Her dentist suggested she go to an orthodontist office,typically where teens and tweens are treated.
Virginia wasn't sure she would be comfortable.
"I felt I was too old," she said, "but you're never too old todo anything, that's the old saying, right?"
Dr. Jennifer Barton says she has even treatedpatients into their 80s with great success.
"Sometimes it takes a little bit longer for them [teeth] tostart moving, but once they start moving they move just like anyoneelse's teeth would," she said.
Standard metal and clear braces are options, but many of herolder patients chose the Invisalign method.
"It's a clear tray, and what you do is you snap it onto yourteeth," Barton said. "They really don't show up a whole lot. That'swhy its called Invisalign."
Patients go through a series of these trays during the processof fixing their teeth. Computer technology designs each one toslightly -- but precisely -- move the teeth in line.
"It's not for everyone, but it gives us one more option to showus what will fit into their lifestyle," said Barton.
Avoiding a mouth full of metal made Dukart less self-consciousthen, and now.
"My teeth are straight," she said. "I'm not afraid to smile andshow them."
Barton says the key to success with the Invisalign is keeping iton for 22 hours a day. Older patients tend to be more compliantwith doctors orders.
If you want straight teeth but don't have the discipline, metalbraces are probably a better choice, she says.
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