Braces are not just for kids. Orthodontics may be needed if teeth are crooked, crowded or do not meet properly.
An orthodontic problem is called a malocclusion, meaning "bad bite." Some examples of causes of malocclusion are crowded teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth or jaws that are out of alignment. Most malocclusions are inherited, although some can be acquired. Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidents, early or late loss of baby teeth, or sucking of the thumb or fingers for a prolonged period of time.
Children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics. It is recommended that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. Treatment may take a little longer for adults. Because an adult's facial bones are no longer growing, certain corrections may not be accomplished with braces alone. The average treatment time is about 24 months and varies with individual patients. Usually, adult treatment takes a little longer than a child's treatment.