The technology behind invisible braces has transformed the way we straighten our teeth in the past few years. Braces which blend in with your smile are much more popular than traditional metal-mouth appearances. A question we get asked a lot is “Is it too late to get braces?”. This is a frequent question we hear from our older patients, (especially from brides-to-be and grooms-to-be!). The good news is that it’s never too late for braces.
Why do adults need braces?
Many adults have crooked teeth. This is bad not just for appearance, but also for your health as well: crooked teeth are hard to clean, which can lead to plaque and disease.
Thankfully, braces can fix many orthodontic problems such as overcrowding or drifting. What’s more, braces are no longer just an option for teenagers. Over the past couple of decades, more and more adults have been getting braces as well.
You might have already had braces when you were a teenager. However, this doesn’t mean you’re set for life. Your teeth might have moved around since your teenage years, especially if you haven’t been wearing a retainer at night. Therefore, you might need braces again as an adult.
Braces work by applying tension to the teeth, which makes the teeth move slowly in the desired direction. Bone in the way will safely resorb into the body, while new bone will form behind the tooth to keep it secured in place. Bone is a resilient material and able to heal at any age. This means that braces are suitable for any age too.
Some people think that braces are more successful on younger patients. But actually, the main success factor isn’t age; it’s the patient’s compliance with the treatment. Specifically, success depends on the patient’s willingness to wear a retainer after the braces have come off. You might think that braces alone are enough to reshape your teeth, but in fact, a retainer is equally important. This is because retainers stop teeth from moving back into their old positions after the brace is removed. Retainers are particularly important in the first few months after the braces come off, because the risk of your teeth relapsing is high during this period. Some dentists even recommend retainers for the rest of your life to keep teeth in perfect alignment!
As you can imagine, many patients don’t like the idea of a lifetime commitment to a retainer, and stop wearing the retainer after a few weeks. Adults are generally more willing to wear retainers than teenagers, because they are paying for their own treatment and they understand the importance of adherence to medical advice. For this reason, adults often experience better outcomes with braces than children or teenagers.
If you’re worried about how you’ll look wearing braces, then there’s no need to. Dental technology has advanced since the days of ugly and uncomfortable metal braces. Nowadays, dentists often offer clear or colourless braces as an alternative. Your dentist can also you’re your braces with a white covering so they blend in with your teeth.
So, all in all, age isn’t a problem when it comes to braces. Here at Unique Smiles, we’ve seen patients in their 50s, 60s and older with successful outcomes from braces. Furthermore, most patients say they’re happy with the results. So, if a better smile is something you want, make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your options.