Adults are in situations every day in which they interact with others either for work or while taking care of the family…or both! A lack of confidence due to a less-than-perfect smile is embarrassing and can hold people back from living the life they desire.
Good news! You are never too old for braces. This is because your teeth continue to shift throughout your life. There’s never a wrong age for orthodontic treatment and the physiological process to move teeth remains the same. Adult orthodontic treatment may take longer due to denser bone tissue in adults but your age itself is not a factor.
The process of getting braces is the same for everyone: the orthodontist will do an oral exam and take X-rays to determine the health of your teeth and gums. They will then discuss the results and recommend a customized course of treatment. The appropriate staff member from the orthodontist’s practice will then go over your payment options, fees, and insurance coverage.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of adult orthodontics as well as some of the options you have to create the beautiful smile you want.
The Pros and Cons of Adult Orthodontics
In order for you to make the best decision about orthodontics as an adult, here are some things to consider:
Braces as an Adult: Pros
Correcting crooked teeth will eliminate the tendency you may have to hide your mouth when interacting with others. You will never have to feel uncomfortable about your smile again!
Alignment Issues Will Be Corrected
Teeth that are aligned properly don’t wear down surrounding teeth. Existing crowns and fillings are also protected from teeth that are improperly aligned. Pain in the jaw or face due to misalignment will no longer be an issue, either.
Improved Overall Dental Health
You will be able to keep your teeth clean more easily, so your regular dental visits will be easier, too! Teeth that are straight make it easier to brush and floss any remaining food out of your mouth. It also makes it easier to remove plaque and tartar. This reduces the likelihood of tooth decay and periodontal disease, which can lead to premature tooth loss.
Braces as an Adult: Cons
The Process Can Be Long
The average treatment plan for adults is 22 months.
There May Be Some Minor Discomfort
Your teeth and jaw may be sore as the braces are placed and then adjusted.
Is There a Significant Difference In the Cost of Adult Braces?
The good news is that the cost is no higher for adults simply due to their age. And your dental or health insurance may cover part of the cost. Check into this while you are making your decision.
As you weigh the pros and cons of getting braces, here are some options of devices you can choose from.
Types of Braces for Adult Orthodontic Treatment
Once you decide to straighten your teeth as an adult, your orthodontist will work with you to address any existing bone issues or missing teeth first if they affect your ability to wear braces right away. That may not apply to you, but any issues will be discussed during your consultation. After that, you can consider what kind of braces will work for you.
If you decide to use traditional metal braces, a bracket will be attached to each tooth. Then, your orthodontist will link the brackets with metal wires. At your regularly scheduled appointments, the wires will be adjusted to apply pressure to the teeth being moved.
For traditional braces, the brackets are visible. But there are now ceramic and clear braces that are much less noticeable on your teeth. No matter which kind of braces you get, keep in mind that the entire process will be longer than for a younger person. The average treatment time for adults is 22 months.
Traditional braces are great at fixing overcrowded teeth, as well as over and underbites. They handle every dental issue there is, which is not the case with all types of orthodontic appliances.
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign are the most popular choice in orthodontic treatment today for both adults and teens that have more mild alignment issues to treat. As their name implies, they work like traditional braces to move your teeth but are nearly invisible, a factor important to many adults. Most people won’t know you are wearing them at all.
The aligners are removable trays that fit over your top and bottom teeth. Each aligner is created specifically for you and slowly moves your teeth as you wear it. The aligner is worn for about 22 hours every day and is only removed when you eat, brush, and floss. Each aligner is replaced with a new one about every two weeks.
Lingual orthodontic appliances are fitted behind the teeth and may be an option for anyone who is embarrassed about having braces. Some people who use them do report that lingual appliances affect their speech and can cause irritation to the tongue.
There are companies that make aligners you can buy without seeing an orthodontist in person. The aligners work in the same way as any clear aligners, but you should see an orthodontist before making this decision. The lower cost may not be worth it at all if there is a problem along the way and you have to start over under the care of an orthodontist.
Important Step After the Braces Are Removed
Anyone who has worn braces has a responsibility to maintain their new smile by using the retainer provided when the active treatment with braces is finished. The retainer is designed specifically to keep your teeth from moving back into their old, misaligned positions. For this reason, the retainer must be used for 20-22 hours every day at first. Over time, you wear it less until you need it only at night.
Let Ortho One Help You Make the Best Choice in Adult Orthodontics
Adults can have the smile they want, no matter what their age. As specialists in adult orthodontics (as well as teens and children), our team here at Ortho One can help you choose the right kind of braces for your needs and your lifestyle.
We are the premier provider of orthodontic care in Voorhees, NJ, and are happy to answer any questions that you may have. We also offer a free consultation to get you started on the process of achieving the beautiful, straight smile that you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!