Adult Orthodontics: What Age Is Too Late to Get Braces?

adult with braces

You wake up in the morning and likely one of the first things you do is head to the bathroom to brush your teeth. There, you get out your toothbrush, look in the mirror, and take a look at those gorgeous pearly whites. Or—are they? It can be a painful way to start the day in terms of self-talk if you are unhappy with your crooked teeth—in addition to other surprising health issues that can arise from a bad bite. But, is it too late for adult orthodontics? Aren’t braces for the young? What age is too late to get braces?

We talk often about early orthodontics—unlike decades ago, when kids would get their braces in their teens, it’s sometimes best to start orthodontics early. (In fact, children can be evaluated as early as 4 years old, since the mouth and jaw are still growing and there is time to make space for new teeth during those early years.) But orthodontic work is not only for the young. And adult orthodontics can have surprising benefits beyond that first glimpse in the mirror in the morning. 

Top reasons to consider adult orthodontics

The reasons to consider straightening your teeth in adulthood are plenty! Here are some of the many reasons to consider adult orthodontics at any age. 

  • Redo orthodontic work that’s fallen out of place. You had braces as a child, and over the years you lost that retainer. Because teeth naturally shift in the mouth, over time, your teeth have gone crooked and you’ve also lost that good bite. 
  • You never had braces and your teeth have always bothered you. If you didn’t get braces as a teenager, maybe the time is now! It’s not too late to take care of your dental health and your self esteem. Treat yourself!
  • Your bite is off, and you are concerned about wear and tear. A bad bite can be bad for long term dental health. A bad bite may lead to tooth decay, plaque, and gum disease because improper spacing may mean it’s harder to clean and take care of your teeth. Also, friction from a bad bite can wear at your enamel, making your teeth weaker over time. And when your bite isn’t aligned, pressure in the wrong places can lead to chipped or cracked teeth, and even jaw problems that cause headaches and neck and shoulder pain.
  • You have teeth-related problems to correct. Misaligned teeth, especially as you get older, can lead to problems that may worsen as you age. If you have difficulty chewing, speech issues, swollen gums, or food gets stuck in gaps in your teeth, clear aligners can solve those problems and keep you healthy as you get older.
  • You grind your teeth. A bonus of clear aligners is that they can act as night guards and protect your teeth if you tend to grind them when you sleep. 

Frequently asked questions about Adult Orthodontics

We get a lot of great questions about age and orthodontics. Here are some common questions if you wonder why it’s worthwhile.

After so many years, aren’t your teeth set in place? 

Not at all! Your teeth can (and will!) move at any age—which is perhaps why you are here in the first place. Shifting teeth in adulthood can lead to misaligned bites which can cause all sorts of health issues, but adult orthodontics can shift those teeth where they belong. 

Will everyone know? 

It’s natural to worry about how braces will look at your age. The great news is, you can take advantage of the incredible technology of clear aligners. Clear braces allow you to discreetly straighten your smile, without calling attention to the good work you are doing for your teeth. Also, for important moments, like an office presentation or a dinner with friends, you can remove the clear aligner. The recommendation is that you wear it for a minimum of 20-22 hours a day, leaving you flex time when aligners are inconvenient.

Is it a lot of work and maintenance? 

Clear aligners are custom made to fit your mouth, offering maximum comfort during the process. They also can be removed to eat, so you don’t need to hold yourself back from your favorite chewy treats. At regular intervals, you change out aligners until that great bite and smile are achieved. 

How long will it take?

It depends on your case, but you could complete your adult orthodontics treatment in as little as 6 months. 

Will it affect my speech? 

Because the clear aligners are made just for you and the process is gradual, they are minimally invasive. Any speech changes (such as a slight lisp) usually disappear as you adjust to how they feel. 

Won’t the teeth just shift and become crooked again?

You are right that the teeth will want to shift back into place—your roots need time to settle into the bone. But a retainer prevents shifting—follow your retainer instructions and you’ll be all set!

Benefits of Adult Orthodontics

In sum, there are a ton of benefits to adult orthodontics that can be boiled down to this: improved dental and mental health. 

Your dental health: A healthy bite protects your teeth. A nicely aligned bite makes teeth and gums easy to clean. Pressure is evened out as it should be, protecting your teeth further. Your long-term dental health has the best chance with a great bite. 

Your mental health: You’ll love how you start your day. When you head in to grab that toothbrush and look in the mirror first thing in the morning, you will be starting your day right, with a beautiful smile you are proud of that will get you through the day. 

Interested in learning more about whether adult orthodontics is right for you? Make an appointment for a consultation today! 

Dr. Brock Rondeau & Associates
London, ON
Call for an appointment: (519) 455-4110

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