An increasing number of adults are choosing to have orthodontic treatment to restore crooked or badly aligned teeth. This is often undertaken for aesthetic reasons, i.e. an improved smile although many choose to have treatment for purely functional reasons.

Many adults also opt for treatment due to a failure to treat their problem teeth in the past. They may have ignored their crooked teeth in the belief that treatment was not available: or they were not advised to have a brace or some other form of corrective device fitted.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to adults which include clear braces, aligners and retainers. These and other treatments are discussed in more detail in our orthodontic treatments section.

Sleep apnoea and other sleep disorders

Another reason for adults to have orthodontic treatment is sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea and snoring are both sleep disorders which if left untreated, can lead to serious long term problems.

Sleep apnoea is the more serious of the two as the sufferer actually stops breathing whilst asleep. Their airway narrows and in many cases, closes which causes the sufferer to stop breathing and reduces oxygen levels in their blood.

If this occurs on a regular basis then over time, it can result in chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. On a lesser level this causes drowsiness, an inability to concentrate and an increased risk of an accident.

Many sufferers become anxious or depressed as a result.

How does this relate to orthodontics? Mild forms of this disorder can be treated with a dental splint which is worn over the teeth and prevents the airways from closing.

Find out more about this orthodontic device in our dental splints section.

Are adults eligible for NHS treatment?

In theory adults should be eligible for orthodontic treatment on the NHS, but, the reality is somewhat different. In some cases there are simply not enough orthodontists to treat adults: and those areas that are fortunate enough to have an orthodontist are geared towards young people only.

Find out more in our orthodontics and the NHS section.

Many adults opt for private treatment instead.