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Orthodontics for Adults vs. Children: The Difference

Posted in Orthodontics

Recent advancements in orthodontics have lead to an increasing number of people looking for treatment for orthodontic problems. Our BC and Alberta orthodontists explain how orthodontic treatment for adults may differ from that of children. 

Age-Related Considerations

Adult patients can experience tooth problems that may interfere with their orthodontic treatment. Marginal bone loss, inadequate bone between the roots to allow for adequate blood flow and gum disease are all examples of these conditions. 

Adults also have denser, more durable bones than those of youth since they are fully grown. Therefore, adults' jawbones are less responsive to treatment than children's jawbones, and the teeth may take longer to adjust to their new locations as a result of therapy. 

Due to these biomechanical restrictions, orthodontic treatment in adults can often be more complicated than it is for pediatric patients. 

Bite Issues

A good portion of patients requires treatment to rectify a malocclusion (an improper bite). When it comes to adults, this can be particularly tough to correct. For example, an adult patient with a significant overbite may not have enough space in his or her mouth for the teeth to shift into the proper position without the need to remove one or more teeth.

In addition, many adult patients have some wear on their teeth, which can exacerbate the overbite problem even further. In these situations, the dental team might focus on making the adult patient's bite functional rather than on getting the patient's bite perfectly straight.

Issues With Previous Tooth Extractions

When an adult patient has had one or more teeth pulled in the past, the dentist may encounter difficulties in the treatment process. It is possible that old extraction sites are not suitable for tooth movement and that they will need to be rebuilt by grafting artificial bone into the region. In addition, closing the gaps left by pulled teeth might be challenging due to the fact that adult bone does not respond to pressure in the same way that developing children's bone does.

Risk of Root Resorption

Root resorption is more common in adult patients having orthodontic treatment than it is in pediatric patients undergoing orthodontic therapy. When your body reabsorbs the root of a tooth, this is referred to as root resorption.

It is possible that the friction caused by orthodontic treatment will alter the tooth's root structure and cause them to become loose and finally fall out. In order to detect indications of resorption, your orthodontist should closely examine your teeth during treatment.

Risk of TMD 

Additionally, adult patients are normally at a higher risk of acquiring temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) when undergoing orthodontic treatment. In order to determine whether you are at risk for TMD, your dentist will likely do a risk assessment.

If you're considering orthodontic treatment, whether it is braces or clear aligners, contact our BC and Alberta offices for an assessment. We'll be happy to answer any questions you have regarding your orthodontic treatment.

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