UC Smiles Ortho Post

The Difference Between Adult & Kids Orthodontic Treatment
Posted on 07/15/2017

The Difference Between Adult & Kids Orthodontic Treatment

Mother-and-Son

At UC Smiles Orthodontics, we're proud to provide expert orthodontic treatment to patients of all ages throughout the Stone Oak, TX area. But while we may treat patients of all ages, the kinds of treatment we provide for those patients can differ greatly. You may already know it's never too late to straighten your smile and that sometimes it's best to start orthodontic treatment early on – but what's the difference between adult orthodontics and early orthodontic treatment, anyway?

Physiological Differences

For starters, the physical anatomy of adults and children differs significantly, particularly in respect to orthodontic treatment. You'd probably guess the upper jaw is one large bone, and for adults, you'd be right – but in children, the upper jaw actually starts out divided into two separate halves. Only later, during adolescence, do the two halves fuse together.

This allows us to perform certain kinds of treatment on children that we can't perform on adults. Using a device called a palatal expander, we can apply a gentle, constant outward pressure on the two halves of a child's jaw, painlessly widening the jaw. Bone will then grow between them to fill the gap, effectively widening the jaw and making more space in the dental arch. This technique can help us treat issues like crowding and crossbite without the need for extraction or oral surgery.

In addition to this, adults are often at a higher risk for things like gum disease or root resorption (the body reabsorbing the root of the tooth, compromising the stability of the tooth). This means we need to ensure any sign of gingivitis is entirely treated before starting adult orthodontics, and adult patients need to be monitored closely for signs of resorption.

Psychological Differences

All that said, adults often have some major advantages when getting orthodontic treatment. For one, many adults have already had orthodontic treatment, or if they haven't it means they have fairly healthy bites to start out with. This means treatment needed during adult orthodontics is usually simple, making for a faster, more convenient, and more comfortable treatment process.

Furthermore, adults are generally more compliant than children. Their added maturity means they'll be diligent about wearing their Invisalign aligners, keeping up a strong oral hygiene regimen, and wearing a retainer as prescribed after treatment. This means that adult patients often achieve excellent outcomes from their orthodontic treatment.

Schedule a Consultation with Your Stone Oak Orthodontist

While the processes of children and adult orthodontics may differ, the truth is anyone can get a healthy smile at any age. If you've been considering revitalizing your smile or have a child who may need orthodontic treatment, we'd love to speak with you. Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page with questions or book your consultation online. We'll work with you to determine the best possible treatment course for your unique situation, putting you on the path to a gorgeous, healthy new smile!