We receive a lot of questions about braces at our Melbourne and Indian Harbour Beach orthodontist offices. After all, it is one of the most common orthodontic procedures. A lot of people wonder about the age guidelines when it comes to braces, and whether they are “too old.” Here’s a closer look at braces and why they will remain much more common among children than adults.
Can Adults Get Braces?
About one in five people with braces in the United States is an adult and the procedure is becoming much more common among adults than it used to be. Honestly, there is no upper age limit for treatment with braces, so long as you meet certain criteria:
- You Must Have Strong Teeth and Jaws: If you still have a good set of permanent teeth and your jawbone is strong enough, you can most likely correct your teeth with braces. Without sufficient jawbone structure, braces could actually do more harm than good in patients.
- Some Misalignments Are Too Complex: Braces work best on children and teens, because their teeth are still growing and shifting anyway. With adults, the teeth have stopped growing. This makes it harder (but not impossible) to correct some misalignments. Some patients might require a combination of oral surgery and braces to attain the same result that a child would receive from braces alone.
- Braces Plus Other Treatments: Before you can be fitted with braces, any other oral health issues that have developed must be resolved first. If you have periodontitis (gum disease), that will need to be cleared up first, for example. Fillings, root canals, or any other issues must be corrected before you can be a candidate for adult braces.
Despite those limitations, adults still have a very high rate of success when it comes to correcting their teeth with braces. Every patient is different, so the best way to determine whether you are still a good candidate for braces is by paying a visit to your orthodontist.
How to Tell if You Might Need Braces
Almost two-thirds of all adults would need some sort of corrective orthodontic work in order to have straight teeth. So, chances are very high that you could benefit from braces or some other treatment. Here are some of the signs that you might need braces:
- Visibly crooked teeth
- Crooked teeth are tough to brush or floss around
- Teeth don’t close together correctly when the mouth is closed
- Speech problems due to your tongue’s position under the teeth
- Frequently biting the tongue
- Clicking jawbones
Great Alternatives to Adult Braces
The good news is that if you want to correct your teeth, there are other options aside from traditional metal-wire braces. Here are just a couple of options that we have available at Melbourne Orthodontics:
Invisible braces are bonded to the teeth with ceramic instead of metal wires and brackets. They are less obvious than metal braces, but can produce similar results in many patients. There is an increased risk of invisible braces causing tooth staining. This is especially true if the patient does not practice good, regular oral hygiene (brushing and flossing).
Invisalign is a system of clear plastic aligners that fit over your teeth. The aligners gradually shift the teeth and straighten them. These aligners are custom-made in a laboratory to fit your teeth exactly. Additionally, you will be switching out the aligners every few weeks to a new one as your teeth shift.
The advantages of Invisalign are fairly obvious. The aligners are “invisible” and can be removed for brushing and flossing. They’re very popular with adult professionals who don’t want others to know they are getting their teeth corrected. They’re also much more comfortable than traditional braces, although the Invisalign process generally takes longer to work than braces.
Contact Us About Adult Braces
If you’re an adult and you’ve always wanted to have your teeth corrected for a new and improved smile, contact our Melbourne or Indian Harbour Beach office to set up an appointment. You might be a good candidate for adult braces — and even if braces are not the answer, we still have other great options available for you!