Traditional braces are characterized by a series of metal brackets that are attached to the teeth in a person’s mouth. Those brackets are then connected via a metal wire and the strength of that wire is what gently “pulls” the teeth into the desired position over time.
For literally decades, patients of all types and ages have used traditional braces to correct just about every type of issue you can think of – from teeth that are too crowded in the mouth to gaps, overbites, underbites, and more. It’s become so successful (and so popular) that you may even be considering this form of treatment for yourself.
The good news is that braces have never been more readily available than they are right now. The better news is that braces technology has also come a long way over the years, making this an opportunity that is far too important to overlook. But if you are considering braces for yourself as an adult in the not-too-distant future, there are certainly a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
How Much Do Braces Cost?
The actual amount of money you’ll be asked to pay for braces will vary wildly depending on a few key characteristics. The specific issues that you’re trying to correct will ultimately impact the length of your treatment, which again is an important factor in determining cost.
While there is no “one size fits all” cost for braces for every adult patient, most can expect to pay a few thousand dollars on average. But don’t worry – your dental professional will go over all of this with you well in advance so you have the most complete information to work from when making a decision moving forward.
Am I Too Old for Braces?
It’s a common misconception that braces are only for the young – that you reach a certain age and you’ve essentially missed your chance at achieving that perfect smile you’ve always wanted for yourself.
Not only is this NOT the case, but it should comfort you to know that a significant percentage of people wearing braces right now are over the age of 18.
Braces never stop being effective because the types of issues they’re designed to correct can happen at literally any age. Likewise, some adult patients actually have more success than their younger counterparts because their jaws have officially finished developing – thus reducing the chances that additional action will be necessary down the road.
So again – never assume that you’re too old for braces or that your age alone disqualifies you from being an ideal candidate. It’s probably not true, and your dental professional will confirm this with you during your initial consultation.
Why Should Adults Get Braces?
Adults should get braces, in part, because they’re so versatile. They’re intended to offer corrective treatment for a wide array of common situations, including but not limited to ones like:
- Teeth that are crooked or are overcrowded in the mouth.
- Too much space in between the teeth in your mouth.
- Overbites and underbites.
- A myriad of other jaw-related problems that could cause an uneven bite in a patient.
What Type of Time Frame Am I Looking At?
After your initial consultation when your dental professional has the opportunity to learn as much about your situation as possible, the actual treatment process with braces can begin very quickly. It’s difficult to say exactly how long you’ll need to wear your braces for (more on that below), but you can probably expect to wear them for approximately two years on average.
How Long Do I Need Braces?
Again, the length of time you’ll need to wear your braces will vary dramatically based on exactly which issues you’re trying to correct. If you’re just trying to straighten your teeth and there are no other issues, treatment will probably move faster than if you’re trying to tackle some type of more serious jaw misalignment problem.
Likewise, as an adult, you’ll probably have to wear braces for a bit longer than a younger person would because your bones are no longer growing. Having said that, they still produce similar results regardless of your age – meaning that you should absolutely be every bit as enthusiastic about the process as you want.
What Type of Braces Should I Get?
There are three main types of braces for you to choose from depending on your needs. These include:
- Traditional metal braces. These are the braces that most people are familiar with in that they include brackets on each tooth that are connected via a metal wire.
- Self-ligating braces. This option uses a tiny, spring-loaded door to maintain pressure on the wires in your mouth. Far less friction is required to move the teeth into their desired position, which normally results in a much more comfortable experience for patients of all ages.
- Ceramic/Clear braces. These are made out of a material that is far more discreet than traditional metal braces or even self-ligating options, and most adults choose them for that reason. In fact, people probably won’t even realize you’re wearing them at all unless you come right out and tell them.
As always, your dental professional will work closely with you to make sure that you understand your options, all so that you can make the best decision possible with regards to your own personal situation.