Orthodontics For Adult
There are more and more adult orthodontic patients these days, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Appliances that are barely noticeable have been developed to give adults more discreet choices when it comes to orthodontic treatment. And many adults realize that investing in a smile makeover can have significant benefits, socially and professionally. Straightening teeth can be an important part of that confidence-boosting makeover process.
Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so there’s no such thing as being too old for braces. However, orthodontic treatment for adults is different in two important respects: For one thing, the growth and development of the jaws is complete in adults, so changes in actual jaw structure can’t be accomplished with orthodontic appliances in the way they can with a growing child.
Secondly, periodontal (gum) disease is more prevalent in adults than in children. While you are wearing the orthodontic appliances, gentle forces will be applied to your teeth so they can move through their surrounding bone. Periodontal health plays a key role in all of this; if the gum tissues are not healthy during orthodontics, bone loss can result and weaken the long-term prognosis of your teeth. So any gum disease must be brought under control before orthodontic treatment begins. And to maintain your periodontal health, you will need to make sure to have regular professional cleanings during the orthodontics while maintaining good oral hygiene at home.
With developments in orthodontics in recent years, more and more adults are seeking treatment for oral difficulties they’ve been experiencing since childhood. There are significant differences between adult orthodontics and that of children and teens, however, it’s worth knowing what they are before making a decision to pursue treatment. Here are the key differences between orthodontics for adults and for younger patients:
Adult patients often have conditions younger patients don’t often suffer from, such as insufficient bone between the roots for adequate blood supply, mild gingivitis infections and marginal bone loss. The bones are also harder and no longer growing, and the aging of tissue often causes them to take longer to adjust to your teeth’s new positions. These are known as biomechanical limitations, which can make tooth realignment a more involved process in adults than in younger patients.
Bite Correction Concerns
One of the primary reasons patients require orthodontic treatment is to correct a malocclusion, or improper bite. In an adult patient with a deep overbite, there is often not enough room in the mouth to create space for the teeth to move back without extracting one or more teeth. By adulthood, a patient might also have worn some of his teeth down, which can make the overbite worse. Orthodontists refer to these problems as perio-restorative issues, and typically focus on making the adult patient’s bite functional rather than perfect.
Tooth Extraction Issues
Many adults have had one or more teeth extracted in the past, and this can present a problem for the orthodontist. Old extraction sites may not be suitable locations for teeth to move into, unless these are restored by adding sections o f prosthetic bone to the area. Closing gaps between the teeth caused by extractions – and keeping them closed – is also difficult, because adult bone doesn’t respond to pressure in the same way as growing bone.
Many orthodontic appliances are bonded to your teeth using dental cement, particularly for less visible options such as lingual braces.
Patients undergoing adult orthodontics treatment have a higher risk for root resorption than children. This occurs when your body reabsorbs the root of a tooth, leaving the tooth without anchorage. Factors that play a role in this include family history, oral habits and the type of roots you have.
If you are susceptible to root resorption and the treatment causes friction that affects your roots, the teeth may simply become loose and fall out over time. By monitoring your teeth closely, the orthodontist can watch for signs of resorption. But if it isn’t caught early, it’s generally untreatable.
Adult patients also have a greater risk for temporomandibular disorder (TMD), and symptoms can develop during conventional orthodontic treatment, It’s important for the orthodontist to carefully assess your risk for TMD before recommending personal treatment.