Can adults have braces?
orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Many of our patients
are adults. The biological processes involved in tooth movement are the
same in both adults and children. The health of the teeth, gums, and
supporting bone is very important to the success of orthodontic treatment
in adults as well as children. Modern techniques have made orthodontic
treatment more comfortable and shorter in duration; and less visible or
invisible braces made the wearing of braces much more acceptable for
Why do adults seek
Most adults who seek orthodontic treatment do so because they feel their
smile is the most important feature of their facial appearance, and they
wish to improve their smile to feel happier about their looks and enhance
Others do so to improve their bite, chewing, or to make it easier to
maintain good oral hygiene. Some adults have orthodontic treatment as part
of an overall comprehensive dental treatment plan in conjunction with
other specialist treatment to improve dental function and aesthetics.
These patients may be having gum therapy, crowns, veneers, bridges or
implants; and in their case, braces could often help achieve a much
Many people never had braces when they were very young. This is because
either their parents or dentists were oblivious to their orthodontic
problems, or they were not aware of the power of orthodontics to correct
bite problems, or the provision of orthodontic treatment was limited where
they lived, or their teeth could not be straightened with the techniques
of many years ago. Now they have problems with their teeth and gums, or
they are just unhappy with their smile and the irregularity of their
Some of our adult patients did have braces elsewhere when they were young,
but their teeth became irregular again because of circumstances
surrounding their treatment, or more usually through lack of retainer
wear. For many of these patients, the irregularity of their teeth is
relatively mild, and a comparatively short course of treatment can often
return their teeth to perfect alignment, giving them a much more confident
What are the
limitations of adult orthodontics?
Because an adult personís bones are no longer growing, certain extreme
corrections involving the facial bones cannot be accomplished with braces
alone. Occasionally, adult orthodontic treatment may have to be combined
with the efforts of an oral & maxillofacial surgeon to achieve the optimal
Other than lack of jaw growth, there are other factors that sometimes
complicate adult orthodontic treatment. These may be clinical aspects such
as existing gum problems, loss of or damage to teeth, numerous fillings,
crowns and bridges. There are also social aspects to consider like a busy
career or family matters.
Are there any age
limits to adult orthodontics?
In general, as long as your gums and jaw bone are healthy, there are no
age limits to having braces. However, there are other complicating factors
such as the ones mentioned above that may limit or preclude orthodontic
treatment. Your orthodontist will be able to advise you about this.
How is adult
orthodontics different to teenage orthodontics?
Tooth movement can sometimes be slower in adults, so treatment in some
cases can take a little longer. This is especially true if there are
spaces to close. The teeth and their surrounding tissues also take longer
to adapt to the new tooth positions. Some adults also take a little longer
to get used to the initial discomfort associated with braces.
Having said that, adults tend to be more motivated than teenagers when it
comes to orthodontic treatment, and through their better compliance with
professional advice, they often experience fewer problems during the
course of treatment. This helps the orthodontist attain the objectives of
treatment, and complete it in a shorter period of time.
But donít braces
No, they donít have to. First of all, conventional braces have become much
smaller and less noticeable than they used to. You also tend to see more
adults these days wearing braces, and it has now become quite acceptable
and usual to see adults showing off their braces. Most people also respect
those who are taking the time and trouble of having orthodontic treatment
to improve their appearance and dental function.
At our practice we regularly use aesthetic, tooth-coloured braces to help
you feel more confident about wearing an orthodontic appliance. Our aim is
to help you achieve a great smile that you can always be proud of, but do
so in the most pleasant way possible.