Braces are typically the best way to correct tooth alignment problems and most often kids and teens are seen wearing them. However, even though many adults would benefit from having straighter teeth, they feel they’re too old to wear braces. The truth is, you’re almost never too old to wear braces, and definitely not too old to enjoy the benefits of having straighter teeth.
One reason why children are seen wearing braces more often than adults is because it’s easier to correct tooth alignment problems in childhood rather than in adulthood, as alignment issues tend to become worse over time. The main reason, however, is that it’s better to prevent orthodontic problems in childhood than it is to treat those problems—and the oral health issues they cause—later on. Wearing braces as a child or teen means that teeth are properly aligned, and aren’t overcrowded upon entering adulthood. This prevents bite problems and makes it easier to keep teeth and gums healthy.
Why Age isn’t the Most Important Factor
While it’s definitely better to receive braces earlier rather than later, health is also a major factor that makes a patients a good candidate for braces.
If you want to have orthodontic work, it’s important that your teeth and gums are in good shape. This means no tooth decay, gum disease, or missing teeth. If you have problems with decay or gum disease, it’s necessary to treat those problems first before having orthodontic treatment. And unfortunately, if you’re missing several teeth, orthodontic work is unlikely to provide much benefit.
So, it’s not age that is the limiting factor for wearing braces, it’s your oral health. If your teeth and gums are in good condition, you can be a good candidate for braces at almost any age.
Your Options for Orthodontic Treatment
Modern braces are much more comfortable than they used to be. Thinner wires and smaller brackets make them easier to wear, and much less obtrusive. There are also options for tooth-colored or clear ceramic braces that are even less noticeable, so there are plenty of options for adults who want to correct tooth alignment problems.
While children generally wear braces, teens and adults have an additional option—clear aligners. These are customized oral devices that you wear around 22 to 23 hours a day. This treatment gradually straightens teeth over the course of 6 to 18 months. Clear aligners are suitable for correcting minor to moderate alignment problems and preferred by many people because they’re almost undetectable when worn.
No matter what your age, there is likely to be an orthodontic treatment that will work for you. For more information about orthodontic treatment and your options for braces or aligners, talk to your dentist today.