You may assume that orthodontics is only specific for children or adolescents, and orthodontic treatments cannot be used to correct malocclusions in adulthood. It is noteworthy that having a beautiful smile has nothing to do with age. Patients of any age, young or old, can benefit from orthodontic treatments. Anyone with healthy teeth, gums, and jawbone can receive orthodontic treatments at any age. Adults may suffer from more complicated problems and a history of dental problems or periodontal disease. Thus, they should visit an experienced and highly skilled orthodontist to achieve the best therapeutic results.
The procedure of adult orthodontics
Adult orthodontics is of particular importance as they account for a large number of patients undergoing orthodontic treatments. Most adults know that investing in modifying their smile design can bring them great benefits in both occupational and personal lives.
Critical aspects of adult orthodontics
It is never late to receive orthodontic treatments to have healthy and aligned teeth. However, there are two critical points regarding adult orthodontics. First, considering the complete maxillofacial and dental development in adults, it is impossible to restructure jaws only by orthodontic appliances. Therefore, most cases of maxillofacial abnormalities in adults require both orthodontic and surgical procedures. For example, in cases where the maxilla or the mandible are not in their normal position (slightly forward or backward), orthodontic treatments should be followed by maxillofacial surgery to return the jaw to its original position. Some orthodontic treatments for adults require a team of several specialists. Orthodontic treatments for adults can be more complicated than those performed for children because the orthodontist cannot easily change the maxillofacial structure and only tries to align and level teeth. Second, the prevalence of the periodontal disease is higher in adults than in children.
Therefore, periodontal disease symptoms should be first treated in adults before receiving orthodontic treatments because of periodontal health’s vital role in orthodontic treatment success. In other words, periodontal health is of particular importance in adult orthodontics. Orthodontic appliances apply a slight force to teeth to move with the help of adjacent bones. Suppose the gums are not healthy during the orthodontic treatment. In that case, periodontal disease can weaken the jawbone causing the loss of dental bones, threatening long-term oral health, and weakening the teeth. Therefore, adult patients receiving orthodontic treatments need to treat any gum disease before the treatment and maintain good oral health during the treatment to ensure their periodontal health.
Differences between pediatric and adult orthodontics
Orthodontic treatments can easily bring children a beautiful smile because their jaws and teeth are still growing. In contrast, jaws and teeth are fully developed in adults, and it is not possible to easily move their jaws. As a result, orthodontic appliances alone cannot restructure the jaws of an adult patient. Moreover, the mean duration of orthodontic treatments is longer in adults than in children.
Adult orthodontic appliances
It is worth mentioning that orthodontic appliances used for adults are slightly different from those used for children. Adults usually prefer to use less invisible and transparent brackets and archwires because of their social position or a fear of social stigma, and orthodontists generally use ceramic brackets, lingual orthodontics, and transparent retainers for adults. Advanced methods currently employed to obscure orthodontic appliances both facilitate the treatment and increase patient satisfaction.