How Do Adult and Child Orthodontics Differ?
Published on August 4, 2017, Updated on August 4, 2017
Advancements in adult and child orthodontics have triggered a rise in adults seeking treatment for oral challenges they have had for years. When deciding to pursue orthodontic treatment, understanding the differences between adult and child orthodontics can help you decide what type of treatment is right for you. Everyone should want their best smile. Feeling confident about your teeth and smile is essential for healthy self-esteem and confidence. You can achieve both of those benefits with braces.
Benefits of Braces
For years, braces have helped millions of people receive a more beautiful smile. About 4 million Americans on average each year are wearing braces. You may think that braces are mostly for teenagers, but you may be surprised to know that about 25% of braces wearers are actually adults. A large portion of those 4 million are also children. Braces benefit people of all ages and it’s never too late to get your own set. Why are braces so important? Straighter teeth keep the mouth in proper alignment and help even out the pressure placed on the jaw each time you talk, bite, eat and more. When the teeth are straighter, they are easier to clean, especially to floss in between the teeth. This is why people with straighter teeth have a reduced risk for oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
The biggest oral health problems are tooth decay and gum disease. These problems come from lack of good oral hygiene habits. If you skip on brushing and flossing the teeth (or not doing them enough) you may start to have problems. When food sits on the teeth, the sugars from the food you ate (or drank) mix with bacteria in the mouth. This mixture creates a sticky acidic substance called plaque. That plaque works hard to erode your tooth enamel. If it sits on the teeth long enough without being cleaned through brushing or flossing, it will seep into the center of your tooth, called the pulp. This is where that acidic plaque will start to decay your tooth. If left untreated, the problem can become severe. Tooth decay is the most wide-spread childhood disease.
Gum disease is similar to tooth decay, but it has to do with the gums. Plaque is not your friend in this case either. When it sits on the teeth for too long, it can irritate the gums. You may notice your gums begin to turn more red and they may become inflamed. Over time, if good oral hygiene habits are not established, the gums will begin to recede from the teeth. This can eventually cause the teeth to begin falling out. About 64.7 million American adults suffer from some form of gum disease. That’s not even including the number for children! Even though tooth decay and gum disease are so wide-spread, they can both be prevented by brushing and flossing several times a day and by establishing and keeping good oral hygiene habits.
One area we specialize in is child orthodontics. A large portion of the people that wear braces are children. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between ages 7 and 8. Having an examination early-on helps prevent the progression of orthodontic issues that may be present. In children, we can detect certain orthodontic problems—such as underbite or crossbite—that are present. These problems can be fixed with child orthodontics and other bite and alignment problems such as overbite, openbite and malocclusion. The jaw is still forming in children, so performing child orthodontics at this age can help easily correct problems that are harder to deal with as an adult. Even if your child does not show any signs or symptoms of orthodontic complications, you can still benefit from child orthodontics. Some benefits include:
- Monitoring the facial and jaw development
- Observing the progress of incoming teeth
- Guiding incoming teeth into their proper positions
- Reducing the risk of impacted teeth
- Decreasing the risk for permanent tooth extractions
- Detecting hidden dental issues
Adult and child orthodontics are very similar. However, it often takes longer to correct bite and alignment problems in adults than it does children or teenagers. This is because the jaw and mouth has stopped growing by adulthood. If bite or alignment problems are severe, an adult may have to look into receiving surgery to correct the problem. Adults also have a few more options when it comes to what kind of braces they would like. Adults and teenagers have the option to choose these types of braces besides traditional metal braces:
- Lingual Braces – These are also known as “Incognito” braces. They are a hidden braces apparatus on the tongue-side of your teeth. Worn on the inside, no one will even know you are wearing braces.
- Invisalign Transparent Aligners – This is a series of removable transparent aligners that are custom-made for your teeth. They can be removed for activities such as eating, drinking, sports and more. Because they are transparent, they are also a secret way for adults and teenagers to discreetly straighten their teeth.
- Clear Ceramic Braces – Made of ceramic material, these braces fit in with the color of your natural teeth. Ceramic material helps reduce the risk for demineralization and staining.
Your New Smile
Whether you are an adult or child, it’s never too late to improve your smile! For people of all ages, a straight smile boosts confidence and self esteem. For adults, that new smile of yours could help you land a job. Studies have also shown that straighter smiles make you appear more confident, successful, attractive and even more trustworthy to others. The benefits of braces are just too good to pass up! If you would like a new smile today, call our Belmar Orthodontics office at (303) 225-9016!