As an adult, you may be unhappy with your smile but wondering if you are too old for braces. The short answer is that no, you are never too old for braces.
Braces are often seen as a “kid” thing. Certainly, we recommend braces for children after their permanent teeth come in, because this is an ideal time to straighten teeth. That said, you can still straighten your teeth even if your high school days are long behind you. With teeth, the saying “better late than never!” is most definitely true.
Sometimes, people grow up in families where dental work was not a priority or perhaps not feasible. Or, your mouth could have changed even after you left high school. Perhaps your wisdom teeth were never removed and now your teeth have crowded together too much. Or, perhaps you have a gap in your teeth that you have always hated.
No matter what the reason, we can help you get the beautiful, winning smile you’ve always wanted. So don’t worry, you are never too old for braces!
What Types of Braces Can Adults Wear?
Adults can wear the same type of braces that kids and teens wear, although adults tend to prefer a less visible look. While it used to be that kids hated wearing braces because of their obvious, metallic appearance, today’s smaller brackets and colorful elastics make getting braces a fun option for kids. The many braces options available today for kids means adults also have lots of choices with their braces. Like kids, adult can choose from:
- Traditional Metal Braces
- Porcelain Ceramic Braces
- Invisalign Clear Aligners
What Are Traditional Metal Braces?
Traditional metal braces are the typical braces you’ll see kids and teens often wearing. These braces have metal brackets that wires attach to, and the wires help move the teeth along into the correct position. The modern twist on traditional metal braces is color. Today’s modern “traditional” braces can be made into a colorful smile through the elastics that keep the wires attached to the brackets.
While kids are the primary consumers of these elastic bands, there’s no reason why an adult couldn’t also use a specific color option with braces as well.
On the flip side, many adults don't want that “in your face” look of metal braces. Still, it’s also a perfectly fine fashion choice for some.
Metal braces are convenient in that you don’t have to remove them, which means you won’t lose them like Invisalign clear aligners. However, you need to be careful what you eat (don’t munch indiscriminately on hard popcorn kernels) and be extra careful with your dental hygiene.
With metal braces, you will need to come visit our orthodontics office in Carson, California every few weeks to get your braces adjusted.
What Are Porcelain Ceramic Braces?
Porcelain ceramic, or clear braces, work just like traditional metal braces with one big difference: the brackets are made of a clear or tooth-colored porcelain ceramic and thus are virtually invisible.
For this reason, they are a very popular option for adults who want the functionality of braces without the look of metal braces.
There are two minor downsides to porcelain ceramic braces:
- Ceramic brackets are more fragile than metal brackets. Thus, on a rare occasion, you might have them break. That said, metal brackets can also become dislodged from teeth, so all braces are prone to rare and occasional accidents.
- Because ceramic braces are more fragile than metal braces, orthodontists are much more careful with them. Therefore, we adjust and tighten them a little more conservatively than metal braces. This means you will need to wear your ceramic braces for longer, sometimes months and maybe up to a year.
Because clear ceramic braces are a little bit more fragile than metal braces, and cost a little more too, often patients choose to wear their porcelain ceramic braces on their top teeth, which are easy to see, and metal braces on the bottom teeth, which are typically hidden. This is a great option which we recommend for many patients.
What Are Invisalign Clear Aligners?
Invisalign clear aligners are the third “braces” option for adults. These clear plastic “braces” are very popular with working adults because they do not have the look of braces whatsoever. Invisalign clear aligners are custom-made plastic “trays” that you fit over your teeth. Approximately every two weeks you will replace your current tray with a new tray. This helps move your orthodontic treatment along.
Invisalign clear aligners really are almost invisible when worn, and the great thing is they can be taken out as necessary. Ideally, you will wear them 22 hours per day, but you can take them out to eat food, brush and floss your teeth, or even get that professional headshot done.
The main downside of Invisalign clear aligners is that if you happen to be a forgetful person, you might lose your clear aligners at the restaurant when you take them out to eat. But these can be replaced so it is not the end of the world.
As with metal braces, you will need to visit our office every few weeks for our experienced orthodontist to check your progress with Invisalign. However, since you do not need to sit in the chair to get adjustments made (like with traditional braces), your time spent at the dentist will be much less with Invisalign.
Do Adults Have Other Considerations in Getting Braces?
In reviewing your particular case, we may recommend one option over another for a variety of reasons. In all situations we will work with you to come up with the best orthodontic solution.
For example, if you also have gum disease (periodontal disease), we may want to wait until some of that is under control (if it is a serious case) before attaching metal braces. Invisalign clear aligners might also be a better option, because gum disease is often caused or exacerbated by poor dental hygiene, and it is far easier to clean and floss your teeth with removable clear aligners.
In the case of an adult who never had wisdom teeth removed, and those teeth have been crowding the others, we might recommend removing the wisdom teeth and then assessing how the remaining teeth are settling in before moving onto braces.
As you can see, each situation is individual.
We hope that answers your basic questions about getting braces as an adult in Carson, California. If you have any other questions about braces for adults, please let us know! Our friendly staff is happy to answer them.
Are you an adult worried you are too old for braces? Orthodontics of Carson can help you choose the right orthodontic treatment plan to fit your age and lifestyle. Call us today at (310) 626-0261 to schedule your appointment.