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Braces for Adults: Am I Too Old?

Haleigh Pouliot

Written by Haleigh Pouliot

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Braces are no longer just a rite-of-passage for kids and teens.

Adults of all ages can experience the benefits of straightening their teeth with braces.

Perhaps you’ve had braces before and your teeth have relapsed. Or maybe you’re ready for a change and are thinking about getting braces for the very first time. Whatever the case may be, the decision to get braces in adulthood is a major one that will have a lasting impact on your life.

In this post, we’re going to explore the benefits of getting braces as an adult as well as some of the challenges you may face if you pursue orthodontic treatment later in life.

We’ll also reveal what we think are the best kind of braces for adults.

Am I Too Old For Braces?

You’re not too old to straighten your teeth because there’s no such thing as being too old for braces!

Teeth can be straightened at any age. Age isn’t what determines whether or not you’re a candidate for braces; there are other factors that an orthodontist will consider before recommending treatment.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, adults make up 25% of all orthodontic patients. This shows that it’s not just kids getting braces, these days!

Any type of braces is a perfectly viable option for adults who want to get a more even smile.

In fact, there are certain benefits and even advantages to getting braces later in life.

Pros of Braces for Adults

  • Self-confidence boost. Who says looks don’t matter when you get older? Having crooked teeth can make anyone feel self-conscious, teens and adults alike. Straightening your teeth even as an adult can make you feel better about your smile.
  • Improved oral hygiene. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean. Therefore, they’re less susceptible to accumulating stains and tartar than misaligned teeth. Straight, clean teeth also help you keep your breath smelling fresh.
  • A decreased risk of oral diseases. Did you know that crooked teeth are associated with an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay? Overlapping teeth trap bacterial debris that can dissolve tooth enamel and irritate gum tissue. So straightening your teeth will improve your oral health and lower your risk of developing dental health problems.
  • A healthier bite. Misaligned teeth don’t fit together comfortably when you bite down. By straightening out your teeth, you can prevent premature enamel wear and TMJ strain.
  • A more youthful feeling and appearance. Braces are associated with a juvenile appearance, but that’s exactly why some older adults love to show off a mouth full of metal brackets and wires; it makes them look younger. Wearing braces can also boost your sense of vitality since it makes you feel like you’re defying the aging process and investing in becoming a better and healthier version of yourself.
  • Improved orthodontic treatment outcomes. As an adult, you probably have a more mature sense of responsibility than when you were a teenager. Many kids and teens sabotage their orthodontic treatment by neglecting to follow their orthodontist’s instructions. Adults, on the other hand, understand the cost of braces and are willing to do whatever it takes to make a success of their treatment. This is another reason why adulthood is a great time to invest in braces.
  • A wide variety of orthodontic treatment options. Because adults are more responsible than kids and have autonomy over their treatment decisions, there are more orthodontic treatment options available for adults to choose from. If you’d like straighter teeth but don’t like the idea of wearing classic metal braces, chances are pretty good that there’s a better alternative out there.

Despite all of these benefits, however, getting braces later in life isn’t always easy. There are also some drawbacks and risks you should consider before pursuing orthodontic treatment.

Cons of Braces for Adults

Teeth won’t move as quickly as in childhood.

childhood teeth movement braces for adults

Braces put pressure on teeth to move them through bone tissue. As the bone breaks down from the pressure, the teeth can move into new positions and the bone will heal up behind them. The bone tissue in the skulls of young people is still going through development and is thus quite dynamic and flexible. But since adults are done with smile development, it can take longer for the bone in their jaws to heal up around the teeth that have been moved by braces.

This means that braces treatment can take longer in adults than in children. Some adults may even need surgery to prepare their jaws for tooth movement.

Possibly more dental health complications.

braces for adults health complications

Kids will have had their adult teeth for only a few short years before starting orthodontic treatment so those teeth are usually quite healthy. But many adults have a history of dental health problems such as decay, tooth sensitivity, missing teeth, gum disease, gum recession, enamel wear, or extensive restorations which can sometimes complicate the process of straightening teeth.

A negative effect on your appearance.

braces for adults appearance

While some adults may love wearing braces that make them look like a teenager again, not everyone is fond of this reverse-aging effect. Braces can make some business professionals look less professional. Other adults may have an important public image to maintain and metal braces can detract from that image.

Extra hassle added to your daily routine.

braces for adults daily routine

Braces aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of affair. You have to be actively and daily involved in your dental health in order to make a success of your treatment. Cleaning your teeth when you have braces is much more time-consuming than when you don’t have braces but it’s something that has to be done thoroughly every day. Wearing braces can also affect your diet. Braces aren’t right for adults who don’t have the time to commit to the daily care required.

Physical discomfort.

discomfort braces for adults

No matter what your age is, braces will cause some discomfort. Tightening the wires can make your teeth sensitive and the sharp wires and brackets can cut your cheeks and lips.

Enamel demineralization.

enamel demineralization braces for adults

If you don’t take care to clean the plaque from around your braces every day, it can settle there and start to erode away your tooth enamel. This process will result in chalky white spots on your teeth when the braces come off.

Risk of relapse.

risk of relapse braces for adults

Kids, teens, and adults all have to remember to wear their retainers as instructed once their treatment is finished. If you don’t wear your retainer, all that progress your braces achieved can reverse itself.

Shortening of tooth roots.

shortening of tooth roots braces for adults

Moving teeth with braces is a mildly traumatic experience for teeth that can cause some to lose a bit of length off the tips of their roots. This process can make the teeth unstable, but there’s usually no negative effects as long as the teeth are straightened slowly and gradually.

Braces For Adults: What Are My Options?

Adults who want straighter teeth have four basic options to choose from:

Classic metal braces are usually a reliable choice for orthodontic patients of any age. They work just as well for adults as they do for kids and teens. The downsides of metal braces is that they are highly visible and require multiple trips to the orthodontist’s office for adjustments.

Tooth-colored braces (or braces colors) are made from ceramic brackets and light-colored wires that make them blend in with your teeth. They can be a bit more fragile than the hardier metal braces, but they do the same job. The ceramic, although initially less-visible, can become more noticeable over time as it picks up stains from the foods you eat.

Lingual braces are brackets and wires that go on the insides of your teeth where they can’t be seen when you smile. These braces also work well, but they can be more difficult to place and clean around. Since these braces touch your tongue, they can also affect your speech.

Last, but probably the best option on our list, is clear aligners. Aligners are the least visible and most comfortable out of all the orthodontic options. They’re removable which makes it easy to brush and floss and also leaves you free to eat whatever foods you want.

Clear aligners are perfect for busy adults who don’t want the inconvenience and discomfort of regular metal braces. Best of all, you can easily order clear aligners right from the comfort of your own home and straighten your teeth without ever having to visit an orthodontist.

Candid is our pick for the best clear aligners for adults because of its convenience and high-quality materials used to made the aligners, ensuring the best treatment possible. You only have to check the candid co reviews to see that people think the same.

How Much Do Braces For Adults Cost?

The cost of braces for adults depends on varying factors such as:

On average, the cost of metal braces in the United States is 5,000 USD.

But metal braces aren’t your only treatment option.

See for yourself how the cost of braces for adults compares with other orthodontic treatment alternatives:

Regular BracesCeramic Braces Lingual BracesClear Aligners
Average Cost$5000$6000$9000$1900
Price Range$3000-7000$4000-8000$8000-10000$1900-2112*

* Actual price varies depending upon chosen financing plan

Braces For Adults: Is It Worth It?

Yes! It’s absolutely worth it to get orthodontic treatment in your adult years.

Even if you’ve never had braces before, it’s never too late to have a fresh start and create a more beautiful and healthy smile by straightening your teeth.

With such affordable, easy, comfortable, and natural-looking options as clear aligners at your disposal, a straighter smile is closer than you think.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Claire Masters

    I haven’t been able to afford braces when I was a teen so now that I have a good career, I hope I’m not too old to straighten my teeth. Thanks for the information that I can still have this treatment and will actually be beneficial as an adult since I could take care of it better, making the treatment more successful. I hope I can talk about this to a dentist soon so I can begin having an aligned smile.

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