With recent developments in orthodontics, more adults are seeking treatment for orthodontic issues. Here, our orthodontists explain the how orthodontic treatment for adults may be different than it is for children.
Adult patients can have dental conditions that may affect their orthodontic treatment. These include gum disease, insufficient bone between the roots for adequate blood supply, and marginal bone loss.
Adult's bones are also harder than children's, and are finished growing. For this reason, adult's jaw bones are not as receptive to treatment as children's are, and can sometimes take longer to adjust to the new positions of the teeth.
These biomechanical limitations can sometimes make orthodontic treatment a more complex process in adults than it is in children.
Most orthodontic patients require treatment to correct a malocclusion (an improper bite). In some cases, this can be difficult to fix in adults. For instance, an adult patient who has a deep overbite may not have enough room in the mouth for the teeth to move into the desired position without extracting one or more teeth.
In addition, many adult patients have some wear to their teeth, which can make the overbite worse. In these cases, the orthodontists will focus on making the adult patient's bite functional rather than perfect.
Issues With Previous Tooth Extractions
When an adult patient has had one or more teeth extracted in the past, it can present a problem for the orthodontist. Old extraction sites may not be good locations for teeth to move into, and they may need to be restored by adding prosthetic bone to the area. Closing the gaps left by extracted teeth is also difficult, since adult bone doesn't respond to pressure in the same way as growing children's bone does.
Risk of Root Resorption
Adult patients undergoing orthodontic treatment are at a higher risk for root resorption than children are. Root resorption is when your body reabsorbs the root of a tooth.
In some cases, orthodontic treatment can cause friction that affects the tooth roots, causing the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Your orthodontist will monitor your teeth carefully for signs of resorption during treatment.
Risk of TMD
Adult patients are also at a higher risk of developing temporomandibular disorder (TMD) during orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will assess your risk for TMD before recommending orthodontic treatment.