Article at a Glance
- Adult braces and adolescent braces can be very different experiences.
- Adolescent braces must account for growing jaws and incoming permanent teeth.
- As an adult, orthodontic treatment can be affected by different conditions.
Braces are often considered a rite of passage for adolescents. Many people equate braces with bad yearbook photos and years of being unable to eat certain foods. Thankfully, things have changed considerably over the past several years and braces are no longer the stigma they were. In fact, many adults are investing in orthodontics for themselves to get healthier smiles.
What is Orthodontics?
If your dentist is concerned about the alignment of your teeth or jaw, missing or extra teeth, they will refer you to an orthodontist for a consultation. Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in an area of dentistry that works with dental and facial irregularities. They have been trained to prevent, diagnose, and treat these abnormalities to prevent you from having more complications with your teeth, gums, and jaw. Orthodontics are about much more than straightening teeth, which means they can help people of all ages.
How Are Adult Braces Different from Adolescent Braces?
However, braces for adolescents and adult orthodontia are somewhat different. Not only do orthodontists approach treatment a bit differently, there are certain considerations to take into account when treating a kid versus an adult. Kids are still growing and, in many cases, still cutting permanent teeth. On the other hand, adult jaws are fully formed, and they may have some additional challenges like bone loss. It’s important to understand the differences and how braces as an adult can be a different experience from adolescence.
- Age-related conditions must be considered when getting braces as an adult. Unlike kids, adult bones are no longer growing which means the process can be a little bit longer and more complex as an adult. There is also the potential for bone loss or mild gingivitis as an adult.
- When using orthodontic treatment to correct bite issues, it’s easier for kids since their bones are still forming and growing. Adult jaws can be a bit more complicated to work with due to worn teeth and inability to create more room without extracting teeth.
- Tooth extraction or tooth loss can make orthodontic treatment a bit more complex for adults than for kids because the jaw is fully formed and there may be some bone loss from old extractions.
- Root resorption is a greater risk for adults in braces than it is for adolescents in braces. Basically, your body reabsorbs the root of your tooth meaning it is left without an anchor to your jaw. If caught early it is treatable, so orthodontists will monitor adults with braces closely.
- TMJ, or temporomandibular disorder, is more common in adults and symptoms may develop with orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will assess and discuss your risk for TMJ before determining your course of treatment.
- Psychosocial issues can be problematic at any age. It can be difficult to hear that you need braces whether you’re thirteen or thirty-five, but accepting that you will benefit from the recommended treatment means you can get the healthy smile you dream about.
Why Get Braces as an Adult?
There are many reasons to consider braces treatment as an adult. Aside from the desire to straighten your teeth for a confidence boost, braces can help correct issues that only adults face due to the effects of aging, environment, or bad habits. Other reasons for starting orthodontic treatment as an adult include:
- For individuals with periodontal problems, braces can help improve their condition.
- Braces can prevent or reduce bone loss around teeth.
- They can help your dentist to restore missing teeth.
- If you’ve noticed weakness or worsening oral health, braces can improve the function and strength of your teeth for better overall oral health.
When Should I See an Orthodontist?
Children should see orthodontists even if their teeth look straight because there could be underlying issues. Catching potential issues early allows for better results because the jaws and facial bones are still growing.
For adults whose jaws have stopped growing, it depends on their desire for cosmetic changes or a dentist’s recommendation for corrective or restorative purposes. Dentists can make referrals to orthodontists for children and adults.
If you’re interested in orthodontics and wondering what your options are, contact the Jefferson Dental Care Clinic nearest you to book your free consultation! Jefferson Dental Care offers traditional metal braces, invisible and clear braces, and Invisalign clear aligners at affordable prices.