Posted March 9, 2016
As adults age, some may wonder whether it’s too late to have braces put on to enhance their smiles by repairing crooked teeth and/or bite problems. Dental experts claim orthodontia treatment is an option at any age.
Review these six facts:
- Adolescents and adults – For years, adolescents ages 9 to 14 were the primary orthodontia patients, but today many adults also seek treatment. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, approximately 1.4 million adults received orthodontic treatment in 2014.
- Challenges – Orthodontic treatment for adults can be complicated. The adult mouth is fully grown and many people have fillings, crowns and root canals. Some adults may need oral surgery, in addition to braces, to fix crossbites and straighten teeth. Today many adults have teeth that are more crooked than their ancestors’. Dental experts attribute this to changes in diet that have occurred over the past decades. People used to eat more unprocessed foods that required extensive chewing, causing teeth to wear down and create more space in the mouth.
- Concerns – Adults often have some level of gum disease, which must be corrected before orthodontic work can be performed. While wearing braces, kids and adults alike need to pay careful attention to their oral hygiene to avoid tooth decay and gum disease.
- Sensitivity – Adults can be sensitive to oral pain, so doctors may tighten braces in smaller increments. On average, the treatment time for adolescents is 18 to 22 months, compared to 24 to 30 months for adults.
- Appearance – Many older patients are concerned about the look of traditional metal braces. They are interested in options less visible, such as clear aligners, porcelain braces or lingual braces. Learn more about adult braces.
- Cost – Prices vary across the country, but on average, adults pay $5,000-$7,000 for braces. There may be additional expenses to prepare the mouth for braces, and follow up after treatment to ensure the bite remains corrected.