Differences Between Child and Adult Orthodontic

Differences Between Child and Adult Orthodontic Treatment
Posted on 03/28/2022

As an adult, would you go to a pediatrician? Not necessarily, because treatment is different for children and adults. The same could be said for orthodontics. At Huls Orthodontics, while Dr. Mark B. Huls provides orthodontics for both children and adults, we approach it differently. There are different factors to consider when treating different patients. Learn the difference between Child and adult orthodontics, and how treatment can help you at any age.

Factors to Know

Teeth can shift throughout your life. What your teeth looked like as a child or teen won’t look the same as an adult. There are different factors to consider when receiving adult treatment vs. when getting braces as a child or teen. Here are things to know:

  • Children’s teeth are easier to move because their teeth and jaws are softer and still developing. With adults, bones and ligaments are set in stone. This means adults have harder bones and gum tissues. Because bones and gum tissues are harder in adults, it can require a longer treatment plan.
  • Adults have a long dental history than children. Older teeth can be worn down and misshapen. In addition to misalignment, there can be more problems that need to be addressed before orthodontic treatment starts (such as gingivitis or bone loss). This means having to go to your dentist first before seeing an orthodontist.
  • Previous dental work and history, such as tooth extractions, can impact the type of treatment an adult needs.
  • Smoking, eating habits, and clenching/grinding teeth (such as TMJ) are other factors that can impact the length and outcome of adult orthodontic treatment. In severe cases, your orthodontist may need to work with your dentist or enlist a specialist to achieve your desired results.

As you can see, adult orthodontic treatment is a bit more challenging and time-consuming to complete. However, smiles can still be dramatically transformed during adulthood.

Adults Are More Likely to Have Spacing Issues

When an adult has a common malocclusion (such as an overbite, underbite, crossbite, etc.), there is often a lack of room available in the mouth to move the teeth into proper alignment without extracting a tooth or teeth. Even then, within some adults, a malocclusion can’t be fixed perfectly. Instead, adult treatment is typically focused on improving the bite rather than perfecting it.

Adults Tend to Have Fewer Teeth Than Kids

Adults can have gaps in their smiles due to having an extraction done in the past. This can make it challenging for an orthodontist to align the teeth because old extraction sites are often unsuitable locations for teeth to move into. To make an extraction site suitable for a tooth to move into, the area may need some prosthetic bone added to it before adult braces can be worn. It’s also difficult to close spaces between teeth and keep them closed during adulthood because mature jawbone doesn’t respond to pressure in the same way as bone that’s still developing and growing.

Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Adults

When seeing an orthodontist for braces, it’s common for a child or teenager to not fully comply with all the directions he/she is given about his/her treatment. This can include them not wearing and changing elastics, maintaining proper hygiene, and avoiding foods that can damage the appliances on his/her teeth. This non-compliance can make the treatment last longer and impact the final results. But with adults, they’re usually more disciplined when directions they’re given. This helps keep the treatment on track.

Contact Huls Orthodontics Today!

We’re happy to treat everyone that needs orthodontic treatment, regardless of age. Our early, adolescent, and adult treatment plans are all customized to effectively address any needs of the patient. So contact us today! Our Champaign or Monticello offices are happy to answer any questions or concerns you have. Get started today! Our staff is ready to help.