Adult Orthodontics

It is no longer the case that orthodontic treatment is mainly for teenagers. According to the Canadian Association of Orthodontists, 1 in 5 orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. There are an increasing number of adults who are choosing to undergo treatment since they understand the importance of maintaining their vital health and wish to attain the best smile possible.


There are many reasons that adults consider orthodontic treatment including: a desire for a more confident smile and healthier mouth; the pressure or abnormal jaw pain caused by crooked teeth; a malocclusion or bad bite which causes teeth to incorrectly fit together; teeth are overly spaced apart or crowded, causing gum disease or tooth decay.

When treating children or adults, the main difference to take into consideration is that with the younger patients, their jawbones are still developing. In adults, these bones have completed their growth process, meaning that there may be the possibility of orthognathic surgery required in order to align the jawbones.

Being older means there is an increase in calcium deposits in the bone and because of its increase in density, teeth tend to move at a slower rate. As an adult, we take longer to adapt to appliances in our mouth. An adult may experience some gum diseases (periodontal problems) and therefore require a consultation with another specialist, the periodontist before beginning an orthodontic treatment.

Hyrax Appliances

Esthetics is a very important component in treating adults and a common problem is the narrow smile caused by a narrow palate. As explained elsewhere on this site, palatal expansion is a simple procedure in children. However, the adult bone structure is set and can no longer undergo expansion unless it is assisted by a surgeon. The surgery is done as an outpatient surgery with no required hospitalization. The cost is covered by our health plan.

Surgical Orthodontics

Just as orthodontics repositions teeth, surgical orthodontics (also known as orthognathic surgery) uses braces in conjunction with an operation to correct jaw irregularities and improve the patient´s ability to chew, speak, and breathe and for improved facial appearances. In other words, surgical orthodontics straightens your jaw. Braces are always used in conjunction with jaw correction to fit the teeth in the new bite.

Who can need a surgical orthodontic treatment ?

Surgical orthodontic treatment is considered for non- growing patients (or close to finished rowing) with more severe bite problems and those with facial aesthetic concerns. Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 for girls and 18 for boys.

How does it work ?

During your orthodontic treatment, you wear braces and will visit your orthodontist for scheduled adjustments to your braces. As your teeth move with the braces, you may think that your bite is getting worse rather than better. However, once your jaws are placed into proper alignment during orthognathic surgery (about one half to two thirds of the way through the orthodontic treatment), the teeth will then fit into their proper positions.

Surgery is performed in the hospital by an oral surgeon. In lower jaw surgery, the jawbone behind the teeth is separated and the tooth-bearing portion is moved forward or backward, as needed. In upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be repositioned forward or backward, or the jaw can be raised or lowered. Certain movements may require the jaws to be separated, with bone added/removed to achieve the proper alignment and stability. Other facial bones that contribute to alignment may also be repositioned or augmented.

When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within two weeks. After the necessary healing time (about 4-8 weeks), your orthodontist “fine-tunes” your bite. In most cases, braces are removed within 6 to 9 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile.

Class II Malocclusion

In patients where we are confronted with a lack of growth of the lower jaw, a surgeon can assist an orthodontist in displacing the jaw forward. The orthodontist must align the teeth prior to surgery so that when the surgery is performed, the teeth fall together.


In certain cases, we need to complement the mandibular advancement with a genioplasty in order to accentuate the chin.

-> Learn more about Class II Malocclusion

Class III Malocclusion – Advanced Mandibule

The Class III Malocclusion occurs when the lower jaw is overdeveloped and we need to bring it back.

Class III Malocclusion – Maxillary Deficiency

Or it can manifest itself with an undeveloped upper jaw. We then need to advance the upper jaw.

Gummy Smile

Some patients complain that when they smile, too much gum is showing. A surgery can be of assistance in these cases as well.