Orthodontics for Adults vs. Children: Differences in Treatment

While the general idea is the same, there are a few differences between using orthodontics for children and adults. Many people think of children and teenagers when they think about orthodontic devices, but adults can be great candidates for orthodontia as well. To learn more about child and adult orthodontics, read on.

Differences Between Child and Adult Orthodontics

Often, child and adult orthodontics will use similar devices and techniques. Because of jaw development, health problems, and other factors, there are some differences between how these two groups are treated.

Adults Have Fully Developed Jaws

Unlike children, adults have fully developed jaws that cannot be changed significantly without jaw surgery.  While this is unnecessary in most patients, it is something that the orthodontist will take into consideration when developing your treatment plan.

Adults Have Had More Procedures

A big difference between orthodontics for children and adults is in dental health. Adults have generally had more dental procedures already, which can make the treatment process more complex. Dental bridges, missing teeth, dental wear, and implants can impact your orthodontist’s treatment decisions.

Children Are Easier to Treat

Because a child is still developing, it is typically easier to align their teeth and jaw.  Appliances to modify a child’s jaw growth are often used in cases with large overbites or underbites.

Adults Follow Hygiene Rules

While this isn’t always the case, adults can typically enjoy their results more because they are better at following dental hygiene rules during and post-treatment.

Types of Braces for Adults

The process of getting orthodontics for children and adults is fairly similar. Like children, adults can get traditional braces, Damon System braces, clear braces and/or clear aligners.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces use brackets and wires to gradually move your teeth into place. Depending on what condition you are treating, it can take a few months or years to complete the entire process.

Damon System Metal and Clear Braces

Damon System braces can be used for child and adult orthodontics. They use the same concept as traditional braces, but they don’t use color ties on the braces. Instead, the brackets have a metal or clear gate that holds the arch wires into place to gradually move your teeth.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners can be removed when you are eating or brushing your teeth, which can help your dental health. While they might not work for severe bite issues, they are a convenient way to treat minor or moderate issues. Unlike traditional braces and Damon System braces, clear aligners are relatively invisible.

Are Braces as an Adult Worth It?

When debating the advantages of adults vs. children getting braces, you’ll find the benefits are generally the same for people of every age. After getting braces, you can enjoy a renewed sense of self-confidence and a better appearance. Braces can also improve your dental health by preventing enamel erosion from misalignment.

After aligning your teeth, you are less likely to suffer from tooth injuries, headaches, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). Braces can make eating and speaking easier. Plus, they can even reduce bad breath.

How Long Do Braces Take?

Each person is different, so the amount of time it takes can vary. While many people can be treated in less than 12 months, some patients require longer. Depending on your current bite (occlusion) and other factors, the maximum treatment time can be up to three years.

How to Maintain Your Smile After Braces

After completion of your orthodontic treatment, you should use the following tips to maintain your new smile.

  • You should see your dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and x-rays.
  • It is important to wear your nightguard if you have a problem with bruxism or clenching. A nightguard can serve as a retainer if properly fitted by a dental professional.
  • You should keep wearing your retainer to keep your teeth in alignment and the archform your orthodontist developed for you.
  • You should brush and floss your teeth two times a day to prevent tooth decay.
  • Eat a healthy diet, and avoid eating too much sugar.

Learn About Adult Braces Today

There are some important differences between orthodontics for children and adults. While child and adult orthodontics use similar devices, the timeline and results can vary. To learn more about the best treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Pratt Manning today.