Braces for Adults: Everything You Need to Know


Orthodontic treatments such as braces are not just for children or teenagers; they also offer many benefits to adults who want to improve their oral health and the appearance of their smiles. More information can be found at More and more adults are opting for braces, with recent studies indicating that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. This growing trend highlights the importance of understanding and taking advantage of the various options available for adult orthodontics.

Why Adults Choose Braces

There are several reasons why adults may choose to undergo orthodontic treatment. Some common motives include:

  • Correcting misaligned teeth: Gaps between teeth, overcrowding, bite problems, or crooked teeth can all be addressed using braces. Adults with these issues often opt for treatment to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent further complications.
  • Enhancing confidence: Many adults realize that having a straight smile can increase confidence levels and improve dental aesthetics. As a result, undergoing orthodontic treatment becomes an investment in personal well-being.
  • Treating medical conditions: In some cases, jaw abnormalities or other medical conditions require orthodontic intervention. Ensuring proper tooth alignment can help mitigate symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) or sleep apnea.

Different Types of Braces Available for Adults

Finding the right type of brace for your needs involves discussing your goals and budget with your orthodontist. Here are some popular choices amongst adult patients:

  1. Metal braces: These traditional braces are made of stainless steel brackets and wires which are cemented onto the teeth, providing strong support. Though they may be noticeable, metal braces are often the most affordable option for adults.
  2. Ceramic braces: Like their metal counterparts, ceramic braces employ brackets and wires to move teeth into position. However, ceramic materials make them less noticeable. Since they blend in with natural tooth color, this option is ideal for those interested in a more subtle orthodontic treatment.
  3. Lingual braces: Lingual braces offer an even more discreet approach to orthodontic care as their brackets and wires attach to the back of the teeth. Although there may be initial discomfort due to tongue contact with the apparatus, many patients appreciate the concealed nature of lingual braces.
  4. Invisalign or clear aligners: For adults seeking nearly invisible options, Invisalign might be the best choice. Invisalign consists of custom-made removable aligner trays that fit snugly over teeth. The trays should be worn for 20-22 hours each day but can be removed during meals or special events. As an added benefit, dental hygiene tends to be simpler than with other types of braces given the removable design.

Duration and Cost of Orthodontic Treatment

The duration and cost of orthodontic treatment may vary depending on your unique situation. On average, adult patients spend around 18 months to three years wearing braces. Factors affecting treatment time include age (adult bone density slows down tooth movement), severity of misalignment issues, and type of brace chosen.Likewise, costs range widely depending on specific treatments and individual needs but can span from $3,000 up to $10,000 or higher based on type choice. Some dental insurance providers partially cover the cost of braces for adults, so it is crucial to discuss this with your insurer before beginning treatment. Many orthodontists also offer payment plans or other financing options to help manage costs.

The Impact of Braces on Adult Lifestyle

While wearing braces as an adult may require some adjustments, many find that orthodontic care has only a minimal impact on their everyday lives. Here are a few aspects to consider:

  • Dietary changes: You may need to avoid certain foods like gum, popcorn, or sticky candies which can damage wires and brackets or get trapped in them. Additionally, hard fruits and vegetables should be chopped into small pieces to prevent breakage.
  • Oral hygiene: As food particles can lodge between teeth and brace components, maintaining thorough oral hygiene becomes essential. Committing to regular brushing and flossing along with the use of interdental brushes or water flossers will keep both your braces clean and teeth healthy.
  • Orthodontic appointments: Expect periodic visits to the orthodontist for check-ups, adjustments, and any added necessary treatments. Ensuring you adhere to the recommended schedule will help achieve desired results more quickly.

The Importance of Retention

Once orthodontic treatment ends, teeth need time to stabilize. Retainers are used during this period (called retention) to hold teeth in their new positions after braces are removed. Typically made from wire or clear plastic materials, retainers help prevent shifting in response to natural processes within the mouth. Your orthodontist will guide you on proper care instructions for your retainer based on the specific appliance provided.Though initial wear-time varies by patient needs and preferences – some adults may be required to use retainers full-time for several months before transitioning to nighttime usage – regular retainer wear is a long-term commitment. Replacing lost or damaged retainers promptly will protect your investment and maintain your beautiful, confident new smile.