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Many adults are unhappy with their teeth. With age, teeth often become more crowded or crooked. In addition, some problems with bite and alignment become apparent when they begin to cause pain or tooth damage. Some adults did not grow up in families that could afford high-quality dentistry or orthodontia and thus are interested in straightening their teeth at a later age. Does age affect the success of braces? The answer is complicated. While there is an ideal age for orthodontic work, most adults can successfully straighten their teeth.
What Is the Best Age for Getting Braces?
In general, orthodontists agree that the best age for braces is between 10 and 14 years old. There are several reasons for this, most of them related to the way our teeth and jaws grow and develop.
First, teeth and jaw are still growing at this age. Straightening teeth at this age allows the jaw to solidify and finish developing with teeth in the correct formation. The mouth is able to finish growing around the teeth. In addition, most children have most of their adult teeth by this age, so it is easier to diagnose and treat current or future bite issues.
Second, we are most used to seeing older children and young teens with braces and orthodontia. In many communities, it is almost a rite of passage. Older teens and adults may feel more embarrassed to sport brackets and wires. Many people do not realize that there is a wide variety of less visible options.
Adults often have to have braces or orthodontia for a longer time because their jaws and teeth have grown into a poorly aligned shape. Their jaws are no longer developing and growing. In addition, adults may have to wear retainers for a longer time as their teeth are more likely to return to their former misaligned shape unless preventative measures are taken. Again, this can be easily mitigated.
However, age is not a limiting factor in any way. In fact, around twenty percent of people wearing braces are older than the ideal age. In addition, traditional braces are not the only options in modern times. Many older teens and adults choose Invisalign and other less visible options. There are also ceramic and ivory plastic brackets that are not as noticeable because they are the same color as one’s teeth. Lingual braces, which are placed on the backside of teeth, are also an option for some bite issues.
There is no need to be embarrassed about getting orthodontic work as an adult. Orthodontists see adults every day and are happy to help you meet your goals.
Does Age Affect the Success of Braces?
In general, getting braces at an earlier age gives the best chance of success. The jaw finishes growing with teeth in the correct formation, making it more likely that teeth will remain in their straightened position.
However, even teens and young adults often need retainers in order to maintain their teeth alignment. Modern retainers are made to be unobtrusive and invisible, so this is not a challenge for most people. Most people get used to wearing a retainer and do not notice it.
One downside of getting orthodontia at a later age is that adults often need extensive dental work before orthodontia is possible. Their misaligned bite has already caused damage that has to be repaired before braces are possible. However, getting braces can definitely prevent new dental issues in the future. It is never too late for good a preventative care.
There is actually one clear advantage to getting braces at an older age. Children and adolescents are likely to neglect good dental health without a great deal of reminders and assistance from adults in their life. In this way, being an adult is actually an advantage. Most adults have an established dental routine and can independently handle the daily care of their orthodontic work.
Many people who are unhappy with their teeth wonder, “Am I too old to get braces?” Ultimately, it takes more time to straighten adult teeth and more effort to keep them straight. However, adults can still achieve beautiful smile they deserve with the right orthodontic care.
The Benefits of Getting Braces at Any Age
There are several benefits of getting braces, regardless of your age. These include:
- Straighter, more attractive teeth
- Less overbite, underbite, and other unattractive jaw issues
- Easier chewing and movement of the jaw
- Less wear and tear on teeth from routine mouth movements
- Easier to maintain good dental hygiene
- Better breath, due to less growth of bacteria between crowded or crooked teeth
- Lower risk of dental infections and other life threatening health issues
- In some cases, improvement of speech impediments
Am I Too Old to Get Braces?
Although it is ideal to get braces in late childhood or early adolescence, no one is truly too old for braces. There are many options that can give you straight, attractive, and perfectly aligned teeth, even if you are reluctant to use traditional metal brackets and wires. Your orthodontist can tell you what options are the best for your unique teeth and your personal goals.
Your Next Steps
Adult orthodontia is more complicated and requires special treatment. While some dentists are certified to provide braces, it is especially important for adults to go to an orthodontist who is specially trained in handling the needs of adults teeth and jaws. An orthodontist will be able to install and maintain all of the options currently available for adults, including ones that are less visible.
What is the best age for getting braces? For most people, the answer is “as soon as possible.” It is rarely too early or too late to achieve optimal dental health and a smile that you are proud to share. If you are interested in getting braces or other orthodontic work, call an experienced orthodontist in your community today.
Does Age Matter When Getting Braces?
201 West Washington
Benton, IL 62812
Phone: (618) 438-2815
I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at Southern Illinois University and then received my Doctorate of Medical Dentistry at the University of Kentucky. After, I attended the University of Tennessee to complete my Master of Science in Orthodontics degree.
I consider every minute of continuing education to be vital for my patients and myself. Staying current with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies within my field allows me to improve treatment efficiency and provide higher quality results for each person I treat.