Orthodontic Treatment for Adults
When you think orthodontics, you probably think of a child wearing braces, but adult orthodontic treatment options have increased in recent years because orthodontic treatment is no longer just for kids and teenagers. Many adults are seeking orthodontic treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining good oral health and they want to feel great about their appearance. The American Association of Orthodontists reports that today one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21.
Adult Orthodontics vs. Kids Orthodontics
There are some differences worth noting between adult orthodontics and orthodontic treatment for children and teens. This is important information to know before making a decision to pursue orthodontic treatment.
Here are the main differences between orthodontics for adults and for younger patients:
- Age-Related Considerations- Adult patients often have conditions younger patients don’t often suffer from. This includes not enough bone between the roots for proper blood supply, mild gingivitis infections and marginal bone loss. The bones are also more dense and are no longer growing meaning that it takes longer to move your teeth’s position.
- Bite Correction Concerns- One of the initial reasons patients require orthodontic treatment is to correct a malocclusion, or improper bite. In adult patients, there is often not enough room in the mouth to create space for for the teeth to move back without extracting one or more teeth. These problems are known as perio-restorative issues. Orthodontists generally focus on making the bite functional rather than perfect.
- Tooth Extraction Issues- Many adults have had one or more teeth extracted previously, and this can present a problem for the orthodontist. Old extractions may not be a place for teeth to move into, unless a prosthetic bone is placed in the old extraction area. Closing gaps between extracted teeth is tougher in adult patients because adult bone doesn’t respond to pressure the same way as a growing bone.
- Appliance Placement- Most orthodontic appliances are placed using dental cement. This means that patients must maintain good oral hygiene to prevent decalcification.
- Vulnerabilities- Adult patients are also at a higher risk of root resorption. By monitoring your teeth closely, our orthodontist can watch for signs of resorption. In addition to this, adult patients are at a higher risk for temporomandibular disorder (TMD). It is important that our orthodontists assesses this risk before providing a treatment plan.
- Psychosocial Factors- These include higher levels of treatment expectations, concern with appearance, discomfort from wearing appliances, and willingness to cooperate with orthodontic instructions.
Why Choose Adult Orthodontics?
- Crowded or spaced teeth make it harder to maintain good oral hygiene and may predispose to cavities and gum infection
- Bad bite (improperly fitting teeth) can make chewing harder and less efficient
- Improper bite can put excess pressure on jaw joints and cause joint pain
- Improper bite can wear down teeth faster and lead to chipping and cracking of teeth
- Improperly aligned teeth make it harder for your dentist to perform necessary dental work (implants, bridges, etc.)
- Beautiful smile adds confidence and helps you succeed in your personal and professional life!
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