There is no definite age when the male or the female reaches physical maturity, so it is impractical to try and determine exactly when adulthood begins. Since an adult is defined as one who is fully grown, most males of 18 or 19 and most females of 16 could be considered adults.
REASONS FOR INCREASE IN ADULT PATIENTS
The percentage of adult patients who have received orthodontic treatment has increased significantly in the last decade. From 1970 to 1990, an 800% increase in adult patients was observed.
This increase in the past few years has undoubtedly been due to a decreased number of child patients, because of the recent explosion of child activity in the field of preventive dentistry. Harvey G. Barrer observed that the population of children as patients is decreasing, and the number of orthodontists is increasing. At the same time, we find an increase in the number of adult consultations. The reservoir of adult orthodontics is large because of many who could not avail themselves of treatment two or three decades ago. The increasing number of adults requiring or requesting orthodontic treatment can also be ascribed to:
- Innovations in appliances, especially the advent of direct bonding, ceramic brackets, and tooth-coloured wires, have caught the attention of many adults who would not otherwise seek orthodontic treatment.
- Improved appliance placement techniques. The latest development is Lingual Orthodontics or invisible orthodontics, which may shortly be a proven technique.
- Increased experience with adult orthodontic treatment and the achievement of good results.
- Increased public awareness of the possibilities of adult treatment.
- Increased desire of patients and restorative dentists for treatment of dental mutilation problems, using tooth movement and fixed restorations rather than removable prosthesis.
- More sophisticated and successful management of the symptoms associated with joint dysfunction.
- More effective management of skeletal jaw dysplasia, using advanced orthognathic surgical techniques.
The increased demand for adult orthodontics today can also be ascribed to the following factors:
- Media – Numerous articles in magazines and newspapers, as well as advertising by dentists, increase public awareness.
- Insurance – Third party payment for patients of other phases of dental care can make funds available for adult orthodontics, which is only occasionally covered by insurance.
- Affluence – Total dental treatment is more acceptable in today’s adults because they can afford it.
- Family dentist awareness – The family dentist is more aware of the problems of bite and the role of proper teeth alignment in enhancing restorative dentistry.
- Aesthetics – Today there is greater awareness of health and appearance. To achieve ideal facial aesthetics, the teeth must be properly aligned, with all missing teeth replaced.
Schedule your dental appointment today and find out if you might need an orthodontic treatment.