Are There Differences Between Adult Orthodontics & Kid’s Orthodontics?

This is a common question that many orthodontists get. The short answer is yes, there are different considerations between adult orthodontics and kids orthodontics. Braces used to be used solely for kids and teenagers. But, with the advancement in orthodontic technology and more options in treatment available, orthodontics can be very successful whether being used for a kid or an adult. 

With orthodontic treatment today, anyone can have the smile they’ve always wanted. Now you are never too old for orthodontics. More adults than ever are utilizing effective orthodontic treatments. The process of aligning your teeth is largely similar in both adult orthodontics and children’s orthodontics. But there are some differences to consider.

Here are a few of these main differences between adult orthodontics and kid’s orthodontics:

Kids’ Teeth & Jaws Are Still Developing

One of the biggest differences to consider is the fact that children’s teeth and jaws are still growing and developing, while adult teeth and jaws are fully developed. This means it is easier to make adjustments in the alignment of the teeth in kids versus adults. It also will usually take less time.

 In adults, the bones have fully formed, hardened, and the tissue around the teeth is set with the current position of the teeth. Adult bone doesn’t respond to pressure in the same way that growing bone in kids does. For these reasons, known as biomechanical limitations, the process of realignment is more difficult in adults, but not impossible.

Previous Tooth Extractions

In many cases, when orthodontic treatment is being considered for kids, they have not had many (if any) tooth extractions. Also, their jaw bone is still developing and stronger overall. If an adult is seeking the help of an orthodontist, previous tooth extractions that they may have had done can sometimes present a challenge. The gaps from those extractions may not be suitable sites for teeth to move into and grow without additional treatment first.

 To make this happen, procedures such as adding prosthetic bone to the area will help strengthen it and prepare it for teeth to move into for proper alignment. So, as an adult, your previous history of dental procedures will have an impact on your orthodontic treatment and your orthodontist will work with you to determine what additional treatments may need to be done to effectively move your teeth into straight alignment.

Overbite Correction

One of the main reasons that an orthodontist is needed is for an improper bite, known as a malocclusion. One type of malocclusion is an overbite. Since kid’s mouths are still developing, as mentioned above, if an overbite is present there has not been enough time for the condition to become too bad and the teeth to be worn down. The orthodontist will then focus on perfecting their bite since it will be much easier to move the teeth.

 On the other hand, in adults, an overbite condition can worsen over time if left untreated and will result in the teeth becoming more worn down. Also, there may not be enough room in the mouth for the teeth to move back to without extracting one or more teeth. If either of these things happens, it becomes what is known as a perio-restorative issue. This will make the correction of the overbite more difficult and the orthodontist will focus primarily on making the bite as functional as possible.

Oral Vulnerabilities

Certain oral vulnerabilities can make orthodontics a bit of a challenge, and children are much less likely to have them than adults are. One of these vulnerabilities, which is based on factors like family history and oral habits, is known as root resorption. This is when the body reabsorbs the tooth’s root, leaving the tooth without any proper anchorage. If you are susceptible to this issue, your orthodontist will closely monitor your teeth and watch for signs of any trouble to catch it early.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is another oral vulnerability that adults are at a greater risk of having. A TMD is when a patient has problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and facial muscles. All things that control the process of moving the jaw and chewing. 

 These types of oral vulnerabilities can make orthodontic treatment a bigger challenge, but not impossible. Your orthodontist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will help you reach the desired results in your smile, while also keeping an eye out for any issues that could come up.

Aesthetic Concerns

In kids, having braces has always been more “accepted” as a normal part of growing up. A child is often much more receptive to getting braces since many other kids their age have or have already had them. Customizable aspects of braces, like colored rubber bands, can even make braces cool for kids.

Adults are much more concerned with their appearance when it comes to orthodontics. Quite often, the concerns are geared towards how they will be perceived in the business world if they are wearing braces or other noticeable orthodontic appliances. But, as mentioned earlier, with the advancement of orthodontic technology, there are many more options available when it comes to treatment. Options now include Damon Clear braces which are much less noticeable or even clear removable aligners like Invisalign.

No matter what type of orthodontic appliance is chosen for treatment, good oral hygiene is critical for success in both adults and kids. 


Orthodontic Success For Kids and Adults

As you can see, the orthodontic treatment itself is very similar between adult orthodontics and kids orthodontics. But, there are some different considerations to take into account between the two. Kids are ideal candidates for orthodontics because, with their still-developing mouths, the movement of teeth will be relatively easy compared to adults. But, even with challenges, that doesn’t mean that if you are an adult orthodontics is not an option. You never reach a point where you are too old for orthodontics.

 Your local team here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics in Springfield PA has the experience, expertise, and technology to help you achieve your best smile. No matter if you are an adult or a child and no matter what kind of treatment plan is needed.

Contact our team today with any questions you may have and to learn more about the treatment options and orthodontic appliances available to you!