Think you are too old for braces? Think again. More adults than ever before are seeking a straighter, healthier smile with modern orthodontic treatment.
The prevailing attitude is that it is never too late to get the smile you want. Per the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), one in four orthodontic patients is over the age of 18.[i] In 2016, the AAO said nearly 1.7 million adults were in orthodontic treatment in the US and Canada.[ii]
Moreover, it isn’t just twenty-somethings getting orthodontic treatment either. Patients in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond are getting braces. Provided that your bones and gums are healthy enough, you can get braces at any age.
What Does “Healthy Enough” mean?
All of us have supporting hard and soft tissue for our natural teeth. Before we move the teeth in the oral cavity, we need to ensure that the supporting tissue is healthy enough to allow us to move the teeth into proper position.
As we age, our oral health can decline. Many factors contribute to this decline in oral health, but one of the biggest causes is bacteria.
Bacteria harm the hard tissues of the mouth, like your tooth enamel and other natural tooth structures, as well as the supporting bone. It can cause decay in your teeth, infection in your natural tooth structures, and resorption (or a breakdown) of your bones. Without enough bone surrounding the roots of your teeth or with rampant decay in your natural teeth, we cannot move them into proper position.
Bacteria is also damaging to the gums. When you have bacteria in your gums, it leads to gum disease. Gum disease starts with Gingivitis, which is a milder form of the disease and can lead to bleeding and sensitivity in your gums, bad breath, and swelling of the tissue, among other symptoms. If left untreated, Gingivitis can lead to Periodontitis, which is a more severe form of the gum disease. Periodontitis has more intense versions of the symptoms of Gingivitis and can lead to changes in the bite as well as tooth loss among other problems.
Before we treat your smile with orthodontics, you need to have an oral environment free from gum disease and bone-damaging bacteria. We will assess your oral health at our initial consultation and treat any conditions that could interfere with your treatment’s success.
How Are Braces Different for Adults?
Braces have traditionally considered a rite-of-passage for the young. Per the ADA, any patients fall within the range of 8 to 14 years old.[iii] Young people’s bones are still growing, so it is easier to push the teeth into the proper position or adjust bites as the bones and oral environment develop.
As an adult, your bones have stopped growing, which affects your treatment in a couple of ways. First, it means that sometimes, surgery might be needed to position the structure of your mouth correctly. Also, it might mean that your treatment takes a little longer than it would for a younger patient.
How Much Do Adult Braces Cost?
Braces have a range depending on the type and the treatment needed. The ADA estimates that the average cost of adult braces falls within a range of $4,800 to $7,135.[iv] Harvard Health Publishing gives a $5,000 to $7,500 range.[v]
Some types of braces can be more of an investment than others. For example, traditional metal braces cost a lot less than new methods of treatments. Ceramic braces are a little more than metal ones. Clear aligner trays or lingual braces, which are braces that are attached to the back of your natural teeth, can also have a higher investment involved.
How much you will pay for your modern orthodontic treatment varies based on your case. We present your treatment options and their related investments after the initial (and free) consultation.
In some cases, you might have some insurance benefit available to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs. However, be sure to check with your provider. A lot of dental plans do not cover orthodontics at all.
For those that do provide orthodontic coverage, be sure they cover adult orthodontics. In the past, insurance companies only included orthodontic coverage for patients under 18. Today, because adults also benefit from having straight teeth and a proper bite, adult orthodontic coverage is often available.
Should You Get Braces at Your Age?
The decision to get braces is a personal one. Adults who have straight teeth tend to have an easier time with oral hygiene than adults who don’t. Straighter teeth lead to less deterioration of gums and teeth over time.
However, age is not a factor that should preclude you from moving forward. Patients of all ages find that modern orthodontic treatment gives them the smile they always wanted.
If you still have questions, make an appointment for a consultation to discuss them with your orthodontist in Long Beach. They can give you general information about braces, and specifics about what treatment is best for your case.
To schedule your free consultation today, call Bloom Orthodontics office in Long Beach at 562-421-8883.
Bloom Orthodontics in Long Beach has a long history of improving our patients’ smiles. We provide modern orthodontic treatments delivered with old fashioned excellence in patient experience. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
[i] “Adult Teeth Can be Moved, too.” www.aaoinfo.org. Web. 23 September 2019. https://www.aaoinfo.org/blog/parent-s-guide-post/moving-adult-teeth/.
[iii] “Braces.” Mouthhealthy.org. Web. 24 September 2019. < https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/braces>.
[iv] Hunt, Janet. “Average Cost of Braces from the ADA.” Thebalance.com. 25 June 2019. Web. 24 September 2019. < https://www.thebalance.com/average-cost-of-braces-4582464>.
[v] “Are you too old for braces?” health.harvard.edu. Web. 24 September 2019. < https://www.health.harvard.edu/oral-health/are-you-too-old-for-braces>.