Three Major Differences Between Adult Orthodontics And Kid Orthodontics

Braces for kids work with a child's growing facial features and mouth. That is not the case with adult orthodontic treatment, which cannot grow and change because adults are no longer growing. In fact, it may surprise you to discover that there are many differences between braces as a kid and braces as an adult. Three of those major differences are highlighted below. 

Medically Necessary vs. Cosmetic

In almost all cases of child orthodontics, you can get an orthodontist who will tell you that it is medically necessary for the health and well-being of the child's mouth, breathing, and alignment of teeth. When you are an adult who has had zero orthodontic treatment, it becomes cosmetic, because you want to change part of your appearance. As such, you can get dental insurance to pay for braces for a child, but not for an adult. If you choose to have orthodontic treatment as an adult, almost all of that expense is going to be out-of-pocket. 

Adults Do Not Have to Live with "Brace Face"

Kids must have wired brackets in their braces because they retrain muscle memory and force the teeth into the positions the orthodontist wants the teeth to go. These kids will spend up to two years per treatment cycle in "brace face" mode, something adults never really have to do. Because adult teeth and jaws will not conform quite as well to metal wires and brackets, and because invisible braces are an adult option, you do not have to live with "brace face," a perk of orthodontics as an adult. 

Retainer Periods Are Shorter for Adults

Kids often have retainers after braces for up to two years, although most of them have retainers somewhere between nine and eighteen months. Adults do not need retainers quite as long because there is virtually no movement or growth in the teeth and jaws. Once your adult orthodontic treatment is complete, you may wear braces for about six months or less to make sure your teeth stay put. After that, your teeth will either have properly adjusted and stay put, or drift slightly as you get much older. 

As an Adult, You Can Still Benefit

Despite some of the issues that may hamper getting orthodontics as an adult, it is still worth it. You will get a very straight and nice smile for the effort. If you also opt for teeth whitening post-orthodontics, then you will have a very nice smile indeed.