Whether you’re a teenager or an older adult, the thought of getting braces probably makes you cringe a little. Getting braces as a teenager might make you feel like there’s no way to run with the popular crowd. As for adult braces, you could feel like it’s a little ridiculous getting orthodontics at your age.
The fact of the matter is there are plenty of people in every age group who have braces of some kind. When it comes to adults, you’re never too old to get that smile straightened. And straight teeth are far from the only reason to wear them for a while.
You’re Not Too Old For Braces
Let’s get this one out of the way first. You aren’t too old to have braces. The American Association of Orthodontists says about 27% of people 18 and older in the U.S. and Canada wear braces.
Ideally, your teeth would come in perfectly straight from the get-go and stay that way forever. As with everything else in your body, things just change when you age. The case is the same when it comes to your teeth. They are going to shift some as you add on the years. That means even though you didn’t need them as a kid, braces could benefit you when you’re a little older.
Now, many times childhood is the best time to have orthodontic work done. Since adults have stopped growing, there are some structural changes that could require surgery. But for the general straightening of your teeth, an adult won’t be at much of a disadvantage compared to a child. Braces will work the same way no matter your age.
Straight Teeth Aren’t the Only Benefit
When you think about getting adult braces, you probably are only thinking you’ll have a straighter smile. While that’s the most immediately noticeable result after wearing them, there are several other pluses to going through the treatment.
After your teeth are moved into their correct positions, it can help reduce or eliminate jaw pain by properly aligning your bite.
Once your teeth are straight, they will also be easier to clean. This can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. When you have teeth that are overlapping or crooked, it creates more places for bacteria to hide or get stuck. That increases your chances of developing cavities or getting a buildup of tartar, which can lead to gum disease. Correcting the positioning of your teeth removes these risks.
With your oral health being improved, you’re also improving your overall health. Gum disease has been tied to things like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Lowering your risks of oral health complications reduces your chances of developing those other health conditions by association.
You’ve Got Options
The look of traditional braces is what turns many adults away from going through with the treatment. While that will be your cheapest option, it’s not the only option.
The most common solution is a clear aligner like Invisalign. These clear trays won’t be noticed by anybody else, but they’re just as effective as traditional braces in most cases. Your orthodontist will map out your treatment plan, and you’ll use a different set of trays periodically throughout the course of the treatment. The tradeoff is going to be the cost. This will most likely be the most expensive option available.
For something that sort of splits the difference, you can go with ceramic braces. While people will still be able to see them on your teeth, they’re less noticeable than traditional metal braces. Their color matches fairly closely with the color of your teeth, which makes them more subtle than metal ones. The price for these usually falls somewhere in between Invisalign and traditional braces, too.
More Pride in Your Smile
Your smile is one of the first things people will see when they meet you. Having straight, pearly white teeth can be a huge boost to your confidence, so don’t let your age discourage you from getting some type of braces. You can get that perfect smile you’ve always wanted with something other than traditional braces if it’s the look of them that’s dissuading you.
You’ve got a lot more to gain than just straight teeth, too. Correcting those crooked teeth is going to give a big boost to your overall oral health by correcting your bite and eliminating some of the nooks and crannies that can harbor harmful bacteria. Making your mouth easier to keep clean can help you bypass other health problems in the long run.