Let’s face it: most people in the world weren’t born with perfectly straight teeth.
All the celebrities you see in movies and TV shows have probably spent a small fortune on dental work over the years. Hey, even a lot of people you meet in real life probably had braces as a kid at some point.
Unfortunately, not all parents can afford braces for their kids. It makes sense then that adult braces are more popular than ever these days.
Still, this doesn’t stop you from wondering: “Am I too old for braces?” or “What age can you get braces?”
In short, no: you’re never too old for braces but here’s what you need to know about getting braces as an adult versus as a child or teenager.
Can I Really Get Braces? Aren’t I Too Old?
More than one-third of adults in the United States are unhappy with their current smile – that’s over 75 million people. In fact, almost half of young Americans have untagged themselves from a Facebook photo because they didn’t like their teeth.
Wait, there’s good news: a lot of these people are doing something about it.
The popularity of adult braces has skyrocketed over the past few decades. The numbers don’t lie – between 1994 and 2010, the amount of adults getting braces each year increased almost 60 percent from 680,000 to 1.1 million.
In fact, adults make up almost 30% of all orthodontic patients.
When it comes to adult braces, not only do you have sleeker options but they’re also much more affordable, comfortable, and accessible.
What Age Can You Get Braces?
Okay, we can’t lie: adult braces aren’t all sunshine and unicorns.
While it’s true that braces can improve your smile at any age, there are significant advantages to getting braces earlier in life. So, if you’re wondering “what age can you get braces,” this section is for you.
Childhood or Teenage Years: Pros and Cons
These days, you may see children as young as seven with braces on their teeth – that’s actually the ideal age to start orthodontic treatment.
It’s a lot easier to achieve amazing results in children under 14 because their jaw and facial bones haven’t finished developing. If orthodontists see any irregularity, they can quickly intervene with the most minimally invasive treatment possible.
This gets a little harder to do once a person’s jaw and facial bones have fully formed and their adult teeth fall into their final placement.
But childhood braces don’t come with their own disadvantages.
For one thing, no kid looks forward to their first day back at school after getting braces put on their teeth. Plus, kids might have a harder time sticking to all the rules that go along with braces like frequent cleanings and avoiding certain foods.
Adult Braces: Pros and Cons
Getting braces as an adult has many benefits like boosting your confidence. Improving your smile might even get you a spouse and a better job.
But not all the benefits of adult braces are superficial. In fact, braces can improve your physical health. Crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and other imperfections can make it difficult to properly clean your teeth. This leads to increased cavities, plaque buildup, gum disease, and other health issues that go hand in hand with poor oral hygiene like heart disease.
Imperfect bites can also lead to TMJ disorder, jaw pain, headaches, and functional issues in your mouth.
It’s true that children’s malleable teeth help braces work a little quicker but that shouldn’t stop adults from getting braces – and as we know from statistics, it’s not.
Plus, as an adult, you won’t have to deal with teasing from your friends at school. (Unless your coworkers or friends are kind of jerks.)
What Everyone Needs to Know About Choosing Child and Adult Braces
“Am I too old for braces? Won’t I Iook funny?”
No and no.
For one thing, you may not even need traditional metal bracket braces. Even if you do need metal braces, people should recognize that you’re trying to improve yourself. And If anyone ever makes fun of you for improving yourself, that’s a reflection on their character – not yours.
Here’s a short rundown of the different types of braces and who should get them.
- Traditional Metal Braces: The braces you’re probably most familiar with are more comfortable than ever and great for kids and adults alike.
- Self-Ligating Braces: These are like traditional braces but don’t use any elastics.
- Clear Ceramic Braces: Instead of metal brackets, ceramic holds the wire in place on each tooth. Ceramic braces are great for older teens or adults because they’re less noticeable and require a little closer care.
- Clear Aligners: These low maintenance trays (like Invisalign®) can be removed while eating or brushing. Older teenagers and adults who require minimal alignment can benefit from this variety.
- Lingual Braces: The customized brackets are placed on the inside of your teeth rather than outside. Lingual braces are a favorite among celebrities in front of the camera and adults who play wind instruments.
- Damon® Braces: This variety is completely personalized, taking your entire facial aesthetic into account. The results are often similar to a facelift. Both adults and kids can enjoy the benefits of Damon® braces.
Make sure meet with an orthodontist to discuss which variety – or varieties – would work best for your teeth. Orthodontics require a personalized treatment plan to achieve amazing results.
How Lewis Orthodontics Can Help
Dr. Shannon Lewis provides personalized and friendly orthodontic care to her hometown community of Edmond, Oklahoma. Lewis Orthodontics helps improve smiles with a variety of cutting edge treatments such as invisible aligners (Invisalign®), clear (ceramic) braces, self-ligating braces, Damon® braces, and others.
If you’re still wondering “am I too old for braces” or “what age can you get braces” and are interested in learning more about your options for adult braces, contact Lewis Orthodontics today to schedule a free consultation. You can also call for an immediate response during office hours at (405) 330-5095.