Orthodontics: Straightening Adult Teeth vs. Children’s

Orthodontics is necessary for people of all ages, but most orthodontic specialists recommend that treatment should be done at an early age. However, that does not mean that adults cannot have or do not need orthodontic treatment at some point in their lives. The question that remains is this: Is it harder to straighten adult teeth as opposed to children's teeth?

In this article, we discuss orthodontics and whether it is harder to straighten an adult's teeth than a child's teeth. This is a question that many people have mulled over repeatedly. Being aware of the answer can be helpful to someone who wants to learn about orthodontics. Keep reading to find out more!

What makes orthodontics treatment hard?

There is no single answer to this question. It depends on a few things, such as the patient's oral health history, the reason behind the crookedness of their teeth, and the bone structure of their mouth.

Current oral health conditions

If an adult believes that they are in need of orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth, then they will have to first consider what their current oral health status is. Someone who has periodontal or gum disease present in their mouth will not be able to have orthodontic treatment done. Bone loss and tooth loss are at risk if orthodontic treatment has begun and gum disease is present.

Reason for crookedness

Every orthodontic patient has crooked teeth for different reasons. Some are due to genetics, while others are due to the way that the jaw is positioned. Over time, an adult's jaw changes and becomes set in place, while a child's jaw is still malleable. For this reason, if the jaw is the reason behind the crookedness of the teeth, the adult is typically not able to be treated with orthodontics.

Susceptible

Adult's mouths are much more likely to develop various conditions during or after orthodontic treatment, such as temporomandibular disorder (TMD) or root resorption.
  • TMD is likely because the bone structure has been set in place for an adult's lifetime, whereas a child's bone structure is still growing and changing
  • Root resorption is likely because an adult's tooth roots are established and have been in place for quite a while, so changing the shape and structure of an adult's tooth may put the roots at risk

Orthodontics for children

Although adults can undergo orthodontic treatment, it tends to be more challenging. The adult's teeth are much more rooted than those of a child's, thus making the entire process more uncomfortable. The more rooted the teeth are, the more pressure has to be applied to move, which can be uncomfortable in the mouth.

However, the process is not impossible. Over time, most adults' teeth do indeed shift, which is normal. In these cases, orthodontic treatment is an option.

When it comes to orthodontic treatment for children, the process tends to be easier. In some cases, treatment can begin before the adult teeth even erupt, which means less pressure on the mouth as a whole. This is called early orthodontic treatment, and it will typically be quite beneficial for the child later on.

Common options

Adults who require orthodontic attention tend to opt for clear aligners because they are discreet yet effective. However, not everyone is a candidate. In severe cases, braces might be the only option because they apply individual force on teeth, as opposed to aligners, which affect the overall arches of the teeth.

When it comes to children, the options tend to be more open. Braces are the most common and versatile because they can address both mild and extreme imperfections. However, aligners have also become a popular choice for those who are in their teenage years.

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