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More and more adults are choosing to get braces later in life. We help answer any questions you might have about the process and the success of its outcome.

Braces are for teenagers. During the teenage years, it's socially acceptable wear braces, tooth movement occurs at a fast rate, and long-term problems arising from traumatic bite can be prevented. If you're an adult, you have unfortunately missed the boat, no matter how unhappy with your smile you are and no matter whether your malaligned teeth are causing you medical problems. Correct?

No, actually. While the teenage years are universally seen as the best time to get braces, adults are increasingly deciding to get orthodontic treatment. The reason for not getting orthodontic treatment during the teenage years can range from parents' inability to afford the treatment or the patient becoming more self-conscious and aware, to relapses necessitating new treatment.

So are there any differences in orthodontic treatment for adults in their thirties, forties or even fifties? Are the options available the same? Is there any cut-off limit beyond which orthodontic treatment is pointless?

You're Never Too Old For Orthodontic Treatment (Unless You Have Dentures)

People of any age can undergo orthodontic treatment without any trouble whatsoever. The basic process that the treatment follows remains the same, though it may take significantly longer to complete. Tooth movement due to orthodontic treatment takes place by applying slow, regulated pressure on the teeth through precisely placed brackets and the arch wires which go through them. Only a certain amount of pressure can be applied to the patient’s teeth without damaging the underlying bone, something that ends up delaying the tooth movement even more.

In the case of older individuals, the bone is thicker and more mineralized, leading to a longer time for the teeth to make their way through it.

The exact treatment time depends upon the kind of malocclusion that exists beforehand.

Less Conspicuous Braces Are An Option

The one thing holding adults back from getting orthodontic treatment is the social embarrassment that braces may cause. There is no question that a few years back getting braces after your teenage years was seen as an oddity, however that is becoming much less of a thing.

If you're not sure you can or want to pull the "braces look" off, the full range of treatment options include the much less visible ceramic braces as well as the more traditional metal braces. There are some particularly complicated cases dealing with vertical discrepancies that are better dealt with metal braces however for the large majority, patients can opt for ceramic braces.

Ceramic braces are usually more expensive than regular metal braces and they may not be covered by your insurance company. They are also more prone to being broken and require more diligent care on the side of the patient. Nowadays, ceramic braces with ceramic coated wires are available which are even lesser conspicuous than ceramic braces.

Patients can also ask their orthodontist about lingual braces and whther their case is amenable to treatment via that method. In this method the brackets are placed on the inside surfaces of the teeth and are thus not visible at all to observers.

The drawback with this kind of braces is that they are often a lot more difficult for the patient to adjust to, maintaining hygiene can be tricky, and the treatment time is longer than with conventional braces.

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