With advancements in orthodontics, more and more adults are searching out treatment for oral problems that they’ve had since they were young. In fact, up to half of all orthodontic patients are now adults. However, if you’re looking into orthodontics at an older age, you should know that there are significant differences between adult braces and children’s braces.
Simply due to the passage of time, adult patients typically suffer from conditions that younger patients don’t have to worry about, such as mild gingivitis, marginal bone loss, and inadequate blood supply due to insufficient bone between roots. Bones also grow harder as you age, and this aging of the tissue means it will often take an older patient longer to adjust to the repositioning of teeth. These biomechanical limitations can lead to a longer and more involved process in adults than in children.
Tooth Extraction Problems
Many adults have had a tooth or two extracted at some time in their youth, and this can become an issue for orthodontists. Old extraction sites might not be good locations for teeth to be relocated, and they could require restoration by adding prosthetic bone to the area in question. And since adult bone doesn’t respond to pressure as well as growing bone, closing extraction gaps between teeth (and keeping them closed) is a more difficult process.
One of the major reasons patients opt for orthodontic treatment is to correct an improper bite. In adult patients suffering from a deep overbite, there is often not enough room inside the mouth to correct the bite without extracting one or more teeth. As you get older, your likelihood of wearing parts of teeth down greatly increases, which can worsen your overbite, and make the process even harder. In these cases, an orthodontist’s goal may be to make an adult patient’s bite functional rather than perfect.
Root Resorption Risk
Patients undergoing adult orthodontics treatment run a higher risk of root resorption than children. This happens when your body reabsorbs the root of a tooth, leaving it without anchorage. It can be caused by factors such as family history, the type of roots you have, and oral habits.
If you have root resorption problems and your treatment causes friction to your roots, this can lead to your teeth becoming loose and falling out over time. Close monitoring can help an orthodontist discover signs of resorption, but if it’s not caught early, then it’s often untreatable.
Psychological and Social Considerations
Since people are more used to children wearing braces, adults looking into orthodontics are faced with higher levels of appearance concern, discomfort from wearing dental appliances, and heightened treatment expectations.
Orthodontics are a viable option for tooth correction, but one that must be considered differently for adults and children. If you’d like to know more about adult orthodontics, don’t hesitate to contact Pacific Dental Care today.