Braces and teeth aligners for adults: why more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment

16 June · 4 minutes

A lot of people think that orthodontic treatment is just for kids and teenagers, but the truth is that today, one in every four patients is an adult. Braces, aligners, and other orthodontic treatments for adults are more popular than ever. Why? Modern technology in medicine has led to the production of orthodontic devices that are more discrete and more comfortable than the braces of the past. There has never been a time like the present to seek out teeth straightening as an adult.

What is adult orthodontic treatment?

If you’re wondering what adult braces are, let’s just start by pointing out there are other options outside braces for adult teeth straightening. But the objective is the same: achieve a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

The main difference between adult orthodontics and those for younger people, is that in adults, the bone structure is already fully formed. So the orthodontists are working with permanent teeth. The term for child orthodontics is interceptive orthodontics, which means the treatment aims to prevent and correct malocclusion problems before jaw development is complete.

Why should adults get orthodontic treatment?

Straightening your teeth isn’t only a matter of improving your appearance, but also of taking care of your health. Teeth that are placed incorrectly in your mouth can end up causing serious problems like poor digestion, sleep apnea, tooth loss, headaches, neck pain or even difficulty pronouncing certain sounds.

Why do adults need braces or other orthodontic treatments?

Usually there are three different types of adults who seek out teeth straightening.

The first being those who have never been treated before, for a number of reasons.

Second, we have adults who have already had braces at some point in their life. Now, they’re having to repeat treatment, usually because of issues related to incorrect use of their retainers after treatment.

Then lastly, there are adult patients who didn’t require orthodontics when they were younger, but need them now because of something like their wisdom teeth growing in and shifting the rest of their teeth.

Why adults need braces, aligners, or other orthodontic devices could be related to any of these reasons, and getting treated can fix all sorts of issues, from the simplest to the most complicated: crowding, open occlusion, protrusion, overbite, anterior or posterior crossbite, gapped teeth, etc.

Patient worried about orthodontic problems in adults

Typical orthodontic problems in adults

When adults seek out teeth straightening, the first step is diagnosing their orthodontic problems. There are many different dental issues that can be treated by orthodontics for adults, the most common being:

  • Correcting underbite. This is when the teeth of the upper arch are situated behind those of the lower arch.
  • Expanding the palate. This type of orthodontics is performed on adults who have a palate that is too narrow.
  • Correcting class 3 malocclusions. These occur when the lower molars are positioned too far forward, so they don’t line up with the corresponding upper molars.
  • Treating crowding. We see crowding in patients that have an oral cavity that isn’t big enough to fit all their teeth, forcing them to crowd into one another.
  • Treating open bite. Open bite is when the patient bites down or smiles and there is a space between the top and bottom arches. Those front top and bottom teeth don’t come into contact.
  • Treating dental protrusion. This is when the teeth of the upper arch stick out further or exceed those of the lower arch.
  • Treating overbite. An overbite is when the top teeth cover the bottom teeth when the patient bites down.
  • Treating gapped teeth. Gapped teeth are just as they sound, teeth that are separated and have gaps or spaces between them.

Braces and other types of teeth straightening options for adults

When it comes to teeth straightening for adults, there are many orthodontic treatment options outside of just braces - and even with braces, there are many types. Technology and medicine have advanced so much in recent years, that now adults have more orthodontic options than ever. Let’s take a look:

  • Metal braces for adults: one of the most popular options for teeth straightening among adults. They are made up of metal braces glued to the tooth and joined by a wire that is also made of metal.
  • Clear braces for adults: these are made of ceramic or sapphire. Clear braces work in the same way as metal braces, but could be a better orthodontic option for adults because they’re color mimics the tooth’s enamel, making them more discrete.
  • Lingual braces for adults: lingual braces are placed on the back of the teeth toward the inside of the mouth, making them completely invisible when you smile. Because of this, lingual braces are the least noticeable type of metal orthodontic braces for adults. They function in the exact same way as traditional braces, just on the inside of your mouth.
  • Invisible aligners for adults: teeth aligners are both transparent and removable. They are splints that work by exerting pressure on the teeth to move them to their correct positions. They’re made of a high-quality medical material, called polyurethane, and created with the latest technology. Aligners are the most comfortable and functional orthodontic option for adults. You can brush your teeth and maintain good oral hygiene by flossing normally, making them a great alternative to braces for adults.
Heart made out of Impress clear aligners

Adult braces and invisible orthodontics: before and after

Orthodontic results for adults can be just as good as for teens and kids. But the most important part is not forgetting to use your retainers, so you can retain your perfect smile for life. If you’re curious about the before and after of orthodontics in adults, you can take a look at some of the cases we have treated at Impress and see what our results look like.

Pros and cons of braces and invisible orthodontics for adults

Just like with any other age group, there are pros and cons to getting braces or aligners for adults. Let’s take a look at the things you should know before starting treatment.

Disadvantages and problems with braces and orthodontics in adults

When adults undergo teeth straightening, via braces or other orthodontic treatments, there can sometimes be some problems or disadvantages, although many are avoidable. These include:

  • Recurrence: this is what happens when we don’t use our retainers as instructed at the end of treatment. Our teeth start to move back to incorrect positions. Luckily, this can be avoided by simply wearing our retainers properly.
  • Discomfort: orthodontic treatment usually comes with a bit of pain or discomfort. You have to consider that your teeth are moving around in your mouth, which requires pressure. But really, it’s only noticeable when adults go in for a tightening with braces, or when they move on to the next set of aligners.
  • Sores: these are small wounds inside the mouth that are caused by certain devices rubbing against the soft oral tissue. Sores can be prevented with a special wax that blocks the braces from rubbing against the inside of your cheek. They’re really only common with braces and fixed appliances, rather than removable ones like aligners.
  • Radicular reabsorption: this is when the root of the tooth shortens. It can be caused by drastic and rapid tooth movements during orthodontic treatment. That’s why it’s extremely important to always carry out your treatment with orthodontic experts. In your initial consultation, your orthodontist will run exhaustive tests to detect any anomalies.
  • Tartar and tooth decay: both the accumulation of tartar and the appearance of cavities are consequences of poor oral hygiene. Even braces can make brushing and flossing more difficult, it’s still vitally important that we maintain a clean and healthy mouth. You should note that this is another problem or disadvantage that really only happens with adult braces, and not aligners. Since the aligners are removable, they can be taken out so you can clean like normal.
Adult patient getting their clear braces checked

Benefits of aligners or braces in adults

Aside from the cons, there are, of course, many pros to orthodontics. Here is a list of some of the benefits of braces and aligners for adults:

  • Improved aesthetics: correcting your dental imperfections allows you to achieve the smile of your dreams
  • Improved health: orthodontics do more than straighten our teeth, they also treat our health problems. They fix any chewing issue we might have, therefore facilitating proper digestion, and they can even help with certain respiratory or muscular problems.
  • Improved pronunciation: sometimes bite problems can cause difficulties in articulating certain sounds. Thanks to orthodontics, a lot of people have seen improved pronunciation with sounds that once were difficult. Many patients have also reported getting rid of their lisp.
  • Prepared for subsequent treatment: in some instances, orthodontics can help get your mouth ready for any other dental treatments you might need, such as implants, that require space.

Braces, invisible orthodontics, and teeth straightening after 50

Many adults decide they want or need teeth straightening after 50, whether with braces or other devices. In most cases, the specialists can treat adults at any age, but there are certain instances when it’s not recommended. For example, patients suffering from periodontitis, osteoporosis, impacted teeth or certain conditions related to the bite. Regardless, the orthodontist will be responsible for evaluating the patient's oral health and then deciding whether or not they are eligible to start treatment. But, as we mentioned before, problems with adult braces for people over 50 is not the norm. Getting orthodontic treatment at that age is not only important for aesthetic reasons, but also for improving hygiene.

The cost of braces and other orthodontic devices for adults

The cost of orthodontics and braces for adults may vary due to a number of factors, like the complexity of the case, the type of device chosen, or the specific orthodontist.

Because there are so many factors to consider, there prices can range from $3,000 to $10,000 before insurance.

Patient receiving their Impress kit

Impress aligners: the best alternative to braces for adults

The objective of Impress is to give every patient the smile of their dreams. So we offer a quality service and a great alternative to braces for adults: teeth aligners that adapt to your lifestyle. We specialize in removable invisible orthodontics, to give our patients the easiest and most comfortable experience.

At Impress, we offer two different treatments options with aligners, both with flixed, all-inclusive prices. One of the options is designed for simple cases, with few to no complexities. The other is for those who have a bit more complicated oral situation.

So if you’re thinking about achieving the perfect smile with true professionals, get in touch with us by calling (888) 490 1421 or via WhatsApp, by email support.us@smile2impress.com or book your initial consultation online.

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Frequently asked questions about orthodontics for adults

How long do adults have to wear braces or aligners?

The length of treatment varies depending on the type of orthodontics. But on average, patients tend to receive treatment from anywhere between 6 months and 2 years, but each case is different.

Can you get braces as an adult?

Most people can, but just as with any other age group there are certain exceptions. So you’ll need to consult a specialist to see if they're the right option for you.


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