As orthodontic treatments have become increasingly advanced over the years, more adults are seeking this treatment to remedy oral defects that they have had to endure since childhood. However, it should be noted that orthodontics designed for children and teenagers are not the same as those designed for fully-grown adults. As such, you cannot simply walk into an orthodontist's office and demand a specific type of dental treatment without them establishing whether you qualify for it or not. If you are seeking orthodontic treatment, here are some of the things you need to know as to why kids and adults will have different needs.
The age difference is a factor for orthodontic treatment
As you age, you develop other health related issues that children will not have. For instance, adult patients that are seeking orthodontic treatment will have significantly less bone in the roots of their teeth than younger patients. The reduced bone mass affects the supply of blood in your mouth and puts you at risk of developing other conditions that kids may not be susceptible to, such as developing gingivitis. Additionally, adult bones are not growing anymore and tend to be harder and more brittle when compared to younger bones. As such, adults tend to need a longer period of time to adjust to their orthodontic treatment, as your teeth will not move into place as easily as those of younger patients. These biomechanical limitations that adults are prone to make orthodontic tooth realignment a more complex process when compared to children.
The bite correction is different
A common reason why both children and adults would require orthodontic treatment is to remedy an improper bite or a malocclusion. With adults, suffering from a deep overbite would require the orthodontist to create additional space in your mouth for your teeth to move into place. This will typically involve the extraction of multiple teeth. Additionally, suffering from bite problems from childhood can cause it to be severely worse as you get older due to the gradual wearing down of your teeth. Thus, you will find some adults requiring perio-restorative solutions as part of their orthodontic treatment. All these are concerns that children will not have, as their dental formula is still forming as they grow.
Problems stemming for previous tooth extractions
Another consideration that makes orthodontic treatment differ in children and adults is prior tooth extraction. Some adults will require tooth extraction or various reasons such as broken teeth, oral infections and more. If these prior extractions sites are not conducive for the movement of teeth into their place, the orthodontist will have to seek other methods to facilitate the treatment such as incorporating prosthetic bone into the affected area. This is not a common concern in children, as they are mainly dealing with gaps from baby teeth rather than permanent teeth.
If you're interested in getting orthodontic treatment as an adult, it's best to consult with an experienced dentist who specializes in orthodontics about whether or not usual orthodontic methods will work for you.