Your Guide to Orthodontic Care for Adults

Your Guide to Orthodontic Care for Adults

Thinking about getting braces as an adult? You’re not alone! Orthodontic care for adults is becoming increasingly common. 

Whether you’re considering traditional braces, clear aligners, or other treatments, this guide will answer your questions and help you make informed decisions.

Achieving the smile you’ve always wanted is possible at any age. 

Orthodontic treatments are not just about aesthetics; they play a significant role in improving oral health.

 Let’s dive into the details and explore all aspects of orthodontic care for adults.

Common Questions About Adult Orthodontic Care

Is It Too Late for Me to Get Braces?

No, it’s never too late! Teeth can be moved at any age as long as your gums and bones are healthy. 

Many adults seek orthodontic treatment for various reasons, from improving their smile to addressing oral health issues such as misaligned teeth that can cause difficulty in cleaning and maintaining oral hygiene.

What Are My Options for Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontic technology has come a long way, offering multiple options to suit different needs and lifestyles:

Traditional Braces:

  • Metal Braces: Made from high-grade stainless steel, metal braces are the most common type and are more comfortable today than ever before.
  • Ceramic Braces: These work like metal braces but are made of tooth-colored ceramic material that blends in with your teeth.

Clear Aligners:

  • Invisalign and Similar Brands: These are a series of custom-made, clear plastic trays that gradually move your teeth into place. They are nearly invisible and can be removed for eating and cleaning.

Lingual Braces:

  • These braces are attached to the back of your teeth, making them invisible from the front. They offer the effectiveness of traditional braces with the benefit of being hidden from view.

Self-Ligating Braces:

  • These braces use a special clip instead of elastic bands to help the archwire guide the teeth into place. This can result in faster treatment times and fewer adjustments.


  • After your initial treatment, you might need to wear a retainer to maintain your new smile. Retainers can be fixed or removable.

How Long Will the Treatment Take?

The duration of your treatment depends on the complexity of your case. On average, most adult treatments last between 12 to 24 months. 

Simple cases may take less time, while more complex ones can extend beyond two years. Your orthodontist will give you an estimated treatment time based on your individual needs.

Will It Be Painful?

Some discomfort is normal, especially after adjustments. However, this discomfort is usually temporary and manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 

The discomfort is a sign that your teeth are moving into their new positions.

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of orthodontic treatment varies depending on the type of treatment you choose and the complexity of your case. 

Traditional metal braces tend to be the least expensive, while clear aligners and lingual braces can be more costly. 

Many orthodontists offer payment plans to make treatment more affordable.

Benefits of Orthodontic Care for Adults

Improved Oral Health

Straight teeth are easier to clean, which reduces the risk of cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues. 

Misaligned teeth can create hard-to-reach areas where plaque and bacteria build up, leading to dental problems.

Enhanced Confidence

A straight, beautiful smile can boost your self-esteem and confidence, making you feel more comfortable in social and professional settings. 

Many adults report a significant improvement in their overall quality of life after completing orthodontic treatment.

Better Functionality

Proper alignment improves your bite, making it easier to chew and speak. It can also alleviate issues like jaw pain, headaches, and wear and tear on your teeth caused by improper alignment.

What to Expect During Your Treatment

Initial Consultation

Your orthodontist will examine your teeth, discuss your goals, and recommend the best treatment plan. 

This consultation may include taking X-rays, photographs, and impressions of your teeth to create a detailed treatment plan.

Customized Treatment Plan

Based on the initial consultation, your orthodontist will create a customized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. 

This plan will outline the type of braces or aligners to be used, estimated treatment time, and any other necessary steps.

Regular Adjustments

Whether you choose braces or aligners, you’ll need regular check-ups to monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments. 

For traditional braces, this typically means monthly visits to tighten the wires. For clear aligners, you’ll receive a new set of aligners every 1-2 weeks.

Retention Phase

After your treatment, you’ll need to wear a retainer to keep your teeth in their new positions. Retainers can be fixed (bonded to the back of your teeth) or removable.

Your orthodontist will provide specific instructions on how often to wear your retainer to maintain your results.

Tips for a Smooth Orthodontic Journey

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

  • Brush and Floss Regularly: Keep your teeth and gums healthy by brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day.
  • Use Orthodontic Tools: Special toothbrushes, floss threaders, and water flossers can make cleaning around braces easier.

Follow Your Orthodontist’s Advice

  • Wear Your Aligners or Elastics: If you’re using clear aligners or elastics, wear them as prescribed to ensure your treatment progresses as planned.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Sticky, hard, and sugary foods can damage your braces or aligners and prolong your treatment time. Stick to orthodontist-approved snacks and meals.

Addressing Concerns About Orthodontic Care for Adults

Aesthetic Concerns

Many adults worry about how braces will look. 

With options like clear aligners and ceramic braces, you can choose a treatment that suits your aesthetic preferences. 

Remember, the temporary appearance of braces is worth the long-term benefits of a straight smile.

Time Commitment

Orthodontic treatment requires a time commitment, but the results are well worth it. 

Consider the long-term benefits and the positive impact on your oral health and confidence.

Financial Investment

While orthodontic treatment can be costly, it’s an investment in your health and well-being. Many orthodontists offer flexible payment plans and financing options to make treatment more accessible. 

Additionally, some dental insurance plans cover part of the cost.

Social and Professional Impact

Adults often worry about the social and professional impact of wearing braces. 

However, many patients find that their peers and colleagues are supportive and understanding. 

Clear aligners and lingual braces offer discreet options for those concerned about the visibility of their treatment.

Orthodontic Care for Adults

Long-Term Benefits of Orthodontic Care

Prevention of Dental Problems

Orthodontic treatment can prevent long-term dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. 

Straight teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of plaque buildup and associated dental issues.

Improved Oral Function

Properly aligned teeth improve chewing and speaking functions. Misaligned teeth can cause difficulty in biting and chewing food properly, leading to digestive issues. 

Orthodontic treatment ensures that your teeth fit together correctly, enhancing your overall oral function.

Enhanced Quality of Life

A beautiful smile can significantly enhance your quality of life. From improved confidence to better oral health, the benefits of orthodontic care extend beyond aesthetics. 

Many patients report feeling happier and more satisfied with their appearance after completing treatment.

Advanced Orthodontic Technologies

Digital Impressions

Traditional impressions using molds can be uncomfortable. Many orthodontists now use digital impressions, which are more comfortable and provide more accurate results.

3D Imaging and Treatment Planning

Advanced 3D imaging technology allows orthodontists to create precise treatment plans. This technology helps in visualizing the final results and customizing the treatment process.

Accelerated Orthodontic Treatments

New technologies and techniques can shorten treatment times. Devices like AcceleDent or Propel can speed up tooth movement, reducing the overall treatment duration.


Embarking on the journey to a straighter smile as an adult is a positive step towards improved oral health and increased confidence. 

With various treatment options available, there’s a solution for everyone. Remember, it’s never too late to invest in your smile!

Orthodontic care for adults not only enhances your appearance but also significantly improves your oral health. 

By choosing the right treatment and following through with your orthodontist’s advice, you can achieve a smile that you’ll be proud to show off.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an age limit for getting braces?

No, there is no age limit for getting braces. Teeth can be moved at any age as long as the teeth and gums are healthy enough for treatment. 

Even people in their 60s and 70s can get braces to correct misaligned teeth.

Is orthodontic treatment different for adults vs children/teens?

While the types of braces are the same, there are some age-related concerns for adult orthodontic patients. 

Adults may have insufficient bone between roots, gingivitis, bone loss, worn down teeth, or previous extractions – which can make treatment more complicated. However, optimum tooth alignment is still achievable for adults.

Why are adult braces becoming popular?

Adult braces are increasing in popularity for both health and cosmetic reasons. Misaligned teeth can lead to headaches, jaw pain, tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues that may not surface until adulthood. 

Additionally, many adults want a better smile and straight teeth are now easier to achieve with modern clear aligner trays and ceramic braces.

What types of braces are available for adults?

Common options for adult braces include clear removable aligner trays (e.g. Invisalign), traditional metal braces, tooth-colored ceramic braces, and lingual (behind the teeth) braces. The ideal choice depends on the complexity of the case and patient preferences.

How much do adult braces cost?

The cost of adult braces is comparable to children/teens but can be higher due to more complicated cases. 

Approximate costs are: $3,000-$7,000 for metal braces, $4,000-$8,000 for ceramic braces, $5,000 for clear aligners, and $8,000-$10,000 for lingual braces. 

Costs can vary based on individual needs.