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Can Adults Get Braces?

You may find it odd when you see adults with braces, but the truth is that there’s actually no age restriction for someone to get braces. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the number of patients fitted with dental braces each day over the age of 18 is rather high. Usually, the only requirements are a healthy jaw bone and permanent teeth. 

Today, your dependable dentists at WhiteWing Dental in McAllen, TX, will clarify what adults should know before getting braces as well as alternatives to wearing traditional metal braces.


What Adults Should Know Before Getting Braces

While younger patients only need to have a complete set of permanent teeth prior to being fitted with braces, there are some requirements that must be met for adults to have the same success with braces:

⁍ Strong Teeth and Jaws

You can still be fitted with dental braces as an adult if you have a healthy set of teeth and normal jaw bone. This is highly recommended to avoid unwanted consequences like jaw issues, gum disease, or tooth decay.

⁍ Some Misalignments Are More Complex

Adult teeth have hit a point where they’ve stopped growing, making it tougher to fix more serious misalignments. Some structural adjustments cannot be done with braces alone, and orthodontic treatment may also require oral surgery to get the same results as a child or adolescent. Granted, cases differ between every patient and aren’t always a direct outcome of an individual’s age.

⁍ Treatment Can Require More than Orthodontics

Adults getting any orthodontic treatment may discover other dental issues along the way that need treatment before braces can be installed. For instance, you may be referred to a periodontist if you’re at risk for gum disease or it’s been confirmed that you already have it. You might also need a filling, root canal, or other dental treatments to prepare for braces if you haven’t been taking enough care of your oral hygiene as an adult.


Despite these requirements, studies found that fixing adult teeth with braces is typically equally as successful when compared to their younger counterparts. The high success rate is due to the fact that adults are more willing to listen to the advice and instructions of their dental experts. Additionally, adults seeking to get braces also practice more consistent oral hygiene than those who don’t value a healthy smile.


Why Some Adults Decide to Skip Braces

Unfortunately, there are other aspects that make adults reluctant to get braces altogether. While some are complete misconceptions and lack of understanding, there are also those who avoid it for social and personal reasons. However, new advancements and technologies have reduced the impact of the following problems:

⁍ Physical and Social Inconvenience

Given that many are more used to children or adolescents in braces, adults tend to be uncomfortable with the idea of having noticeable pieces of metal in their mouths. The fear of judgment is one of the most common reasons adults avoid getting braces to correct their teeth. However, there have been developments that have enhanced the design of braces, making them more discreet. Certain braces are less intrusive and practically invisible.

⁍ Lifestyle and Diet Adjustments

Adults are also concerned about having to shift their diets and lifestyle once they are fitted with braces. Avoiding certain foods is critical when wearing braces to prevent stains on your teeth or causing damage to the brackets and wires. Although this may be a slight inconvenience, most patients get used to their new eating habits relatively quickly. It’s also worth remembering that braces are not permanent and will eventually be removed. It’s a small price to pay for a perfectly straight smile that will last a lifetime.

⁍ Wearing Braces for A Long Period of Time

Most adults don’t need braces any longer than an adolescent would to correct misalignments. Once your braces are installed, you’ll be given instructions along with best practices on how to care for them. By simply following these guidelines, you can avoid having to wear the braces for longer than expected.


Other Alternatives for Adults

If patients aren’t sure of which option is best to avoid metal braces, there are a few alternatives to look into, such as clear braces or invisible braces (Invisalign). The following are popular selections for adults looking to correct misaligned teeth:

⁍ Clear Braces

Clear braces are great for people looking to limit the appearance of their braces while still having promising results. While clear braces are similar to traditional braces, this option utilizes ceramic bonding to attach to the teeth. The ceramic looks more natural in color, showing less visibility when smiling. However, this solution is more prone to staining teeth if you fail to practice proper dental care.

⁍ Invalisign

Invalisign is an option proven to correct dental issues while being much more discreet than braces. Also called invisible or plastic braces, Invisalign is made of clear, durable plastic instead of brackets, wires, and rubber bands in traditional braces. It is suggested for patients needing braces who aren’t willing to make significant changes to their looks or diet. The plastic Invisalign trays can be taken off when eating, although they shouldn’t be kept out of the mouth for too long since the teeth will start shifting back to their original positions.


If you’re ready to try braces, find out if you are a candidate when you visit White Wing Dental today!

Overall, patients can get braces well into adulthood, so long as they maintain a healthy mouth and strong jaw bone. The stigma surrounding traditional metal braces has brought orthodontic advancements and alternatives that let adults correct their teeth in a less obvious way. 

See if you’re eligible at your next dental appointment with us. 


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