Adult Braces 101: Everything You Need to Know


According to the American Association of Orthodontists, only 25% of orthodontic patients are adults. That said, this number is expected to grow, thanks to industry advancements and continuing education about the many benefits of adult orthodontics. If you are an adult considering braces, here’s what you should know. 

Why Should Adults Get Braces?

Most adults seek orthodontic care to improve the appearance of their smiles. In reality, orthodontics provide other major benefits that go beyond aesthetics. When they leave misaligned teeth untreated, adults often experience other dental problems such as gum disease, tooth decay and chewing difficulties. Orthodontic treatments make teeth fit better, creating a better bite and reducing the risk of future dental problems.

Advances in modern orthodontics have also made treatment less noticeable and more comfortable for adults. Contemporary treatment options are designed to make the appliance less noticeable to better fit any lifestyle. 

Many adults are able to achieve desired results using Invisalign clear aligners which are nearly invisible. That said, for more severe issues, traditional braces are a better option. If the thought of metallic braces bothers you, ceramic braces may be a good option. The brackets are designed to mimic the color of natural teeth, which makes them blend in better.

How to Prepare for Braces

When you meet with your orthodontist, he or she will perform a clinical exam and ask questions about your health. The orthodontist will usually order a series of X-rays of your mouth and head and take photographs and a dental impression to help create a plaster mold of your teeth. The orthodontist will then prescribe a plan of treatment best suited for your specific situation.

What Happens When You Get Your Braces On?

Usually, the orthodontist begins by cleaning and drying each tooth. Next, he or she applies an adhesive substance to the surface of your teeth to hold the brackets. Once the brackets are in place, the orthodontist installs an archwire into the brackets and secures it using elastic. The entire process will usually take between 1 and 2 hours. 

Though the procedure shouldn’t be painful, you may feel some discomfort afterward. Initially, your teeth may feel sore and your cheek and tongue will rub against the brackets, which may lead to sensitivity. After a week or two, you will start to get used to the braces and your discomfort will subside. 

How To Care for Your Braces

Once you’ve had braces placed on your teeth, you need to properly take care of them to get the best results. Maintain good dental practices such as daily brushing and flossing. Consider using an interdental cleaning device to help you reach the spaces around your braces and orthodontic wires. You should also maintain regular checkups with your general dentist. 

How Much Do Adult Braces Cost?

The cost of adult braces will vary based on the treatment plan. That said, experts estimate the average cost at around $5,500. Most adults will have to wear their braces for 18 months to 3 years. To get an accurate idea of how much you will have to pay for your braces, get a thorough examination and estimate from your local orthodontist.