Orthodontists at Harley Street are dental specialists who focus on the diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of dental and facial irregularities. These irregularities can include problems with the bite like overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite; by fixing the bite at an early stage, they can prevent further jaw problems later on known as TMJ issues. Problems with overcrowded or crooked teeth, spacing issues, and even teeth facing the wrong way may also be treated by these specialists with different solutions, depending on the individual patient.
Children versus adults
When comparing the difference in ages and what orthodontic treatments can offer patients, one needs to understand that children face fewer issues than adults for a number of reasons; there are biochemical limitations with adults that make tooth alignment a more complicated process for adults than for children. Adults may suffer from insufficient bone between the roots making blood supply less adequate, they may have mild to severe gingivitis infections and even bone loss the older they get. When comparing the bones of children to adults, an adult’s bones are much harder and no longer growing, which makes it more difficult to adjust them. This is why it is recommended that people allow their children to have orthodontic treatment if they need it, while they are still developing.
There are also psychological factors that affect adults more than children. While it is considered quite normal for a pre-teen to have a set of braces, especially when many of their peers are undergoing similar treatment, it is not the same for adults who may have concerns about their appearance and treatment times, as well as discomfort.
Thankfully there are an array of treatments now that are available to both adults and children alike all with high rates of success.
Until recently, this was the only option available to patients seeking orthodontic treatments. By fixing metal brackets to the teeth, a specialist can place a wire on them which is set to a particular tension, thus forcing the teeth to adjust slowly over time by pulling them into place. This treatment can last for about 2 years in some cases and while it is a good option for children who might otherwise lose removable appliances, it is perhaps not the best for adults.
This treatment works in the same way as traditional braces, the chief difference being that the brackets are fitted at the back of the teeth instead of the front, making them far less obvious and a good option for adults with severely crooked teeth or malocclusion.
Another good option for adults are porcelain braces, as the bracket which is fitted to the tooth is tooth-coloured porcelain and makes it far less noticeable than a metal bracket. This treatment can fix complex cases the same way that traditional braces do, but in a more subtle way.
Invisalign, sometimes known as invisible braces, this treatment uses 3D digital scanning technology and a computer algorithm to calculate the way a patient’s teeth will move over time; a clear aligner is given to the patients and changed every 1-2 weeks. While this is a good option for adults, children may lose the brace, as it needs to be removed for eating and cleaning.