Perhaps you never had braces when you were a teenager or maybe you did and you forgot to wear your retainer regularly and your teeth have since moved. There are a variety of reasons adults seek out orthodontic treatment and, if it’s something you’re considering, you’re not alone! The American Association of Orthodontists estimates that about 27% of all orthodontic patients in the United States and Canada are 18-years-old or above. That holds true at our practice as well, since approximately 30% of our Claremore and Tulsa braces and Invisalign patients are adults and that number is growing. In fact, our oldest patient at The Brace Place was 78! In spite of the increasing amount of grown-ups in the orthodontist’s chair, there are still plenty of myths abound about wearing Invisalign or getting braces as an adult. Here are seven common ones that we’re countering with facts.
I’m too old for braces or Invisalign and treatment won’t be that effective.
Am I too old for braces? It’s a question Dr. Patel hears frequently and the answer is, absolutely not! There is no age limit on having a healthy, confident smile. As we’ll discuss shortly, there are so many benefits of adult orthodontic treatment. Dr. Patel has the training and experience to get you amazing results at any age. The fact of the matter is that the forces from braces or Invisalign guide the teeth into place in the same way, whether you’re 16 or 60. Of course, there are advantages to undergoing treatment while the jaw is still growing and developing. However, even in the case of a skeletal issue, there are ways to correct the problem in older patients. Treatment can address an array of cases, including crowded teeth, crooked teeth, spacing or gaps, a relapse after past orthodontic treatment, overbites, buck teeth and deep bites.
Another important thing to remember is that a big part of any treatment’s success is compliance. Our adult patients are typically responsible and invested in their own treatment, so they follow Dr. Patel’s instructions and wear the aligners, things like rubber bands or post-treatment retainers according to schedule and this improves their outcomes.
Getting braces as an adult will mean being in treatment for years.
Orthodontics is continually evolving and progressing as a field. Dr. Patel uses the latest techniques, appliances and technology to straighten teeth more quickly than ever before. Both braces and Invisalign have seen plenty of engineering and materials upgrades and they apply a small amount of force over time instead of a strong force in a short period like they used to. This has actually been shown to shift the teeth into place faster and with significantly less discomfort. Thanks to innovations like digital x-rays and our iTero® digital scanner, which allows for digital, 3D treatment planning, Dr. Patel has more visual information and is able to plan your treatment from every angle. The precision is unparalleled and your treatment is more efficient, meaning you spend less time in braces or Invisalign.
I’ll have to wear metal braces.
At The Brace Place, we make sure we have plenty of orthodontic options for adults – and kids and teens – to ensure you feel completely comfortable with your choice in treatment. You’ll be happy to know that adults tend to be great candidates for esthetic treatments like clear braces and Invisalign. Clear braces work the same way as traditional braces except they’re made from a composite material that blends in with your smile, so they’re less noticeable. In the past, you had to worry about staining and breakage but the type of clear braces we use reduces staining and is extremely durable. Invisalign involves a series of clear, removable, plastic aligners that are virtually invisible and are meant to fit your busy lifestyle. Yet, even if you do decide you want metal braces, they’re so much smaller and more streamlined than they used to be. You won’t get the stereotypical “metal mouth” look with modern braces.
Adult orthodontic treatment is inconvenient.
The Brace Place is a high-tech office and we have digital systems in place, as well as advanced diagnostic equipment and treatment options. As we noted, we can straighten your teeth more quickly and comfortably. However, this also means you’ll have fewer appointments and the visits you do have will be a breeze. We’re committed to making wearing Invisalign or getting braces as an adult, child or teen a convenient, enjoyable experience. We’re always willing to work with you to ensure the teeth-straightening process fits your schedule.
Having straight teeth is purely cosmetic so treatment isn’t worth the investment.
Yes, wearing Invisalign or getting braces as an adult will make your smile look fantastic and can even take years off your appearance. Yet, there are a host of other benefits of braces for adults that go way beyond the cosmetic perks. Straight teeth are easier to clean, which boosts your oral hygiene and reduces your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Since gum disease is tied to conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke, as well as premature labor in women, there is a definite oral health and overall health connection. Additionally, by improving the function of your teeth and jaws, orthodontic treatment can also:
- Help you breathe, speak and chew properly
- Reduce abnormal wear of teeth
- Make protruding teeth less susceptible to injury
- Balance bite forces to alleviate headaches and pain in the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ
- Create space for dental implants in cases of missing teeth
- Enhance your self-esteem and confidence!
Braces and Invisalign for adults are extremely expensive.
We’re on a mission at The Brace Place to make orthodontic treatment affordable for our patients. We accept most PPO insurances, which can greatly reduce your out-of-pocket costs. We also don’t do the traditional large down payment model that other practices have. Instead, we’ll create a personalized financial plan with you before you start treatment. We have in-office, no-interest financing with choices like no down payment or a low down payment, as well as options for low monthly payments to spread out the cost of your treatment. You can get your dream smile in a way that works for your budget without having any interest hanging over your head.
Dental insurance won’t cover adults or esthetic options like Invisalign or clear braces.
Traditionally, insurance covered people 18-years-old and under for orthodontics, however, plans have evolved and there is dental insurance that covers braces for adults. It’s a good idea to chat with your employer about what your options are. If you have dental insurance that covers braces for adults, that typically means it covers all braces and not just metal ones. So chances are esthetic options, including Invisalign, will be covered like traditional braces would be. Just because a treatment is more discreet, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t address your functional needs as well. At your free consultation, we’ll be able to estimate your insurance coverage. If you have it, we’ll even file claims on your behalf once treatment starts.
If you’re considering trying Invisalign or getting braces as an adult, schedule a free consultation with our Claremore and Tulsa orthodontist, Dr. Patel. He can help you decide on the treatment option that will bring out the best in your smile!