Are Adult Braces Effective?

man flossing with braces

We love reminding our patients that there’s no age limit to orthodontic care. True, there are many reasons why childhood is an ideal time for beginning orthodontic treatments, but it is never too late to enjoy the life-changing benefits of traditional metal braces or Invisalign clear aligner trays. With the advent of discreet and easy-to-use Invisalign treatments, a growing number of our patients are well over the age of 18. Not to mention that many adults are now enjoying that conventional metal braces are now much more comfortable and efficient than ever before.

Ultimately, each patient decides when to start their orthodontic care, but we’d remind you that the best time to do so is as soon as you think it’s necessary. Why would it be important? Well, crowded and overlapping teeth are difficult to clean, which can make gum disease and tooth decay more likely. When teeth do not properly align, the resulting malocclusion can cause jaw pain, chewing problems, or even difficulty swallowing. These are all reasons that Dr. John McDonald treats adults of all ages with traditional braces and Invisalign.

Can I Get Braces as an Adult?

Adults of all ages can benefit from undergoing orthodontic treatments. There are a few unique factors that Dr. John will consider when treating adults. The jawbones of children and teenagers are still growing. Orthodontic treatments for children consider jaw expansion as part of the orthodontic treatment planning process. Experienced orthodontists will leverage these natural movements and processes to make any planned treatment as comfortable as possible. In contrast with kids’ teeth, the bones of adults have stopped growing, so Dr. John will work with your existing jaw structure, which is harder to move around. Depending on your teeth alignment needs, adult braces may take a little longer to deliver cosmetic results compared to braces on a child or adolescent.

Besides, adults have to be additionally careful about periodontal disease and the strength of supporting tissues at the base of their teeth. Adults may require restorative treatments before having orthodontic treatment. If you have gum disease or tooth decay, those oral health issues must be resolved before you can begin wearing braces or Invisalign. Bruxism is another dental problem that may need to be addressed.

Beyond that, the orthodontic treatment process for adults is very similar to the treatment process for adolescents. First, Dr. John will provide a complimentary consultation. During that visit, he will discuss your cosmetic goals. This is a great time to ask questions and discuss concerns, like what you’ve heard from people you know who’ve worn braces.

Typical questions include:

  • Should I get metal braces or Invisalign?
  • How long will my treatment take?
  • What will braces accomplish?
  • How much do braces cost? How much does Invisalign cost?

Fortunately, not everything surrounding the installation of adult braces is a negative point. Instead, we know that adult patients are much better at complying with professional recommendations, meaning that adult orthodontic treatment is potentially faster than teenage care.

We might require an additional set of x-rays or digital images. Based on the position of your teeth and your cosmetic goals, Dr. John will draft a treatment plan that meets your needs and budget. Before you leave your initial consultation, we will schedule your next visit. Our ortho offices in Salem and Kaizer offer traditional metal braces and Invisalign. Treatment timelines can last from several months to a few years, depending on each case.

Benefits of Undergoing Orthodontic Treatments in Adulthood

Adult patients can count on several benefits from wearing braces as part of their orthodontic treatment. Having a symmetrical and attractive smile has advantages at any age. While children may not fully appreciate the cosmetic benefits that braces deliver, adults certainly do. This added boost to your self-esteem has potential positive effects related to your work environment and daily activities.

After completing your treatment, any adult undergoing orthodontic treatment can be sure their dental health will be much better than before. We emphasize this because straight teeth are much easier to keep clean. Food debris loves getting stuck between crooked teeth, meaning you’ll have a much easier time cleaning your mouth when everything is in place.

Oral hygiene is more than just a conversation point. Good dental hygiene helps minimize the potential for the development of cavities and the ensuing pain and discomfort. Some functional benefits of wearing braces as an adult include improvements in chewing and talking movements.

  • Teeth that are easier to clean;
  • Lower risk of developing cavities;
  • Boosted self-esteem;
  • Smiling with confidence;
  • Greater confidence at work and in social settings.

Maybe you have postponed getting braces because life situations have not afforded the time and money. Or perhaps you don’t want to wear metal braces because of the stigma — they remind people of middle school! Whatever the reason, undergoing orthodontic treatments in adulthood can be an exciting time. Dr. John has many years of experience transforming the smiles of adults and kids.

Is It Worth It to Get Braces as an Adult?

Yes. The answer is a clear yes. Even though some patients worry they’re too old for braces, we know better. Braces can provide you with many benefits, but one thing very few people consider is how much money, energy, and time you can save on dental care when you decide to invest in high-quality orthodontic treatment.

Dr. John McDonald reminds adult patients that the potential cost of dental health treatments when dealing with periodontal disease, cavities, and tooth decay, can overburden most people. Investing a relatively shorter time in orthodontics ensures you have good dental health as you age and minimize any potential discomfort.

Are There Any Alternatives to Adult Braces?

Yes. Here at McDonald Orthodontics, you won’t be limited to treatment with conventional metal braces. Even though they are a reliable and durable option for your orthodontic care, adult patients who come to our orthodontic office in Salem should know they can also count on another amazing tool, the Invisalign® clear aligners, a set of removable appliances with amazing results in getting straighter teeth and a perfect smile.

Is Invisalign better than braces? Well, we invite you to come to an appointment with Dr. John and figure out if clear aligner trays are the best solution for you. They certainly offer some important advantages over traditional metal braces, such as delivering results with an added comfort that only removable orthodontic appliances can deliver and avoiding any unwanted attention, thanks to the clear and BPA-free plastic used for the aligners.

Invisalign can solve almost every orthodontic problem of misaligned teeth or crowded teeth that braces can as well, with a few important exceptions. Please check with a board-certified orthodontist and reputable Invisalign provider to determine if you are an eligible candidate for Invisalign.

Even if, at first glance, it seems as if your case is too complex for Invisalign, all you may need is a few additional attachments. Either way, you’re better off consulting with an experienced orthodontist before making up your mind and choosing one treatment option over another. And don’t doubt about getting a second opinion too!

Tips for Your Adult Orthodontic Treatment

Usually, adults are much better at complying with their orthodontist’s recommendations. Usually. Check below a few of the important items you have to be on the lookout for.

Brush and Floss Frequently

We like to remind our patients that moving teeth is not the most challenging aspect of orthodontics. Instead, we have to focus on a treatment plan that delivers results safely and promotes good oral health.

Half of all that work depends on the efficiency and frequency of your oral hygiene routine. Yes, brushing and flossing your teeth during your treatment with braces or clear aligners is essential. By the way, here’s a more detailed guide on what’s the ideal oral health routine during ortho.

Brush your teeth after every meal, including snacks. Floss daily. Angle your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to maximize efficiency. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Buy fluoride toothpaste. And please, don’t let a single day go by without brushing and flossing your teeth.

What You Eat During Orthodontics Matters

There’s a whole list of what foods should be avoided while wearing braces. You can review that list in detail, but we want to focus on the reasons why we advise against some of them. There are two main reasons:

  1. Some foods that break down into smaller but hard pieces can damage your orthodontic appliances. Some leftover food pieces can peel away the metal brackets from over your teeth and negatively impact your overall treatment time.
  2. Other foods that are sticky or too sugary will remain in between your teeth or around your brackets and help harmful bacteria erode your teeth, causing cavities or worsening periodontal disease.

Please, be mindful of what you eat while wearing braces.

Schedule Your Consultation for Adult Braces

Braces are a great cosmetic option for any age. If you have never had the opportunity to enjoy the life-changing results of orthodontic treatment at McDonald Orthodontics, we welcome you to schedule your free consultation with Dr. John by calling (503) 832-6209 and get working on that beautiful smile.