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Braces for Adults & Children: How Are They Different?

February 20, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — drstandrabik @ 9:47 pm
Woman smiling with braces while looking at camera

Thanks to modern orthodontics, it’s easier than ever for adults to get the straight teeth they’ve always wanted, or even update their smile from braces they had decades ago. However, there are some key differences between adult orthodontics and braces for children and teens. It’s worth knowing more about these treatments before committing to one for yourself. That’s why your orthodontist has compared braces for older and younger patients below!

Considerations for More “Experienced” Patients

As you grow older, it’s a fact of life that you’re more likely to have certain health concerns. Whether it’s issues like gum disease, insufficient bone near the tooth roots, bone loss, and more, these conditions can make it more difficult to shift teeth with orthodontics. Known as biomechanical limitations, these problems essentially make the alignment process for adults more involved or extensive compared to the average child.

Bite Correction for Adults

One of the main reasons for getting braces is to correct bite issues like overbite, underbite, and crossbite. However, this can become a tougher case for an older adult compared to a younger patient. For example, an adult patient with a severe overbite may not have enough room to move teeth into position without extracting at least one of them. Additionally, adult patients will often wear down their teeth through bruxism (teeth grinding), or just natural wear and tear, making the bite problem even worse.

Have You Had Extractions?

Most kids haven’t had any teeth removed, but for adults, it’s actually quite common. The only issue is that these areas of extraction can sometimes make it problematic when shifting teeth unless they are restored with prosthetic bone. Adult bone doesn’t respond the same way to pressure as it once did, which is why it’s often challenging to close the gap after an extraction.

The Mental Side of Things

Of course, no child wants to get braces, but it’s a completely different ballgame for adults. There are some social and psychological factors that impact the overall interest and want for orthodontics, including:

  • Personal expectations
  • Concern with appearance in social or professional settings
  • Worrying about the ability to speak
  • Discomfort that impacts thinking
  • Willingness to cooperate with treatment instructions

Because of these concerns, adult patients usually want the quickest, most effective way to achieve straight teeth. However, there is no need to worry or get anxious about orthodontic treatment if you’re older. More “experienced” adults now make up about 50% of orthodontic patients, so you’re definitely not alone!

While there is more to think about when considering braces as an adult, a trained orthodontist will be able to address your concerns and give you the straight, beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. Take your first step by calling your orthodontist today!

Meet the Orthodontist

Dr. Stan Drabik has well over 2 decades of orthodontic experience, helping patients of all ages enjoy straight teeth. He completed his orthodontic certificate at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and he was the recipient of the Donald T. Kozlowski Memorial Award for Most Respected Senior Dental Student. To schedule an appointment, he can be contacted through his website or by phone at either of his Webster or Rochester locations.

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