Getting Braces As An Adult: 5 Crucial Things You Must Know

Clear Aligners

Adults everywhere are turning to orthodontic solutions for teeth straightening, proving that it’s never too late to enhance one’s dental health and aesthetics. This shift in mindset brings to light a range of considerations unique to adult orthodontics. If you find yourself pondering, Can you get braces as an adult? rest assured, the answer is yes. Going on this journey as an adult, however, comes with its own set of questions and concerns. From the types of braces available to the financial commitment involved, this guide aims to demystify the process and prepare you for what lies ahead.

Evaluating Your Need for Braces

Why Adults Consider Braces

The decision to get braces in adulthood is often motivated by more than cosmetic reasons. Here’s why many adults are making this choice:

  • Correcting Past Neglect: Some adults didn’t have the opportunity to correct their dental issues during childhood or adolescence.
  • Improving Oral Health: Straight teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of periodontal disease and cavities.
  • Enhancing Self-Confidence: A straighter smile can significantly boost self-esteem and impact personal and professional relationships positively.
  • Addressing Jaw Pain: Misaligned teeth can contribute to jaw pain and TMJ disorders. Correcting the alignment can alleviate these symptoms.

Consulting with an Orthodontist

The first critical step is to consult an orthodontist. This consultation will cover several key areas:

  • Health Evaluation: Assessing the health of your teeth and gums to ensure they can support orthodontic treatment.
  • Alignment Needs: Identifying the specific alignment issues and how they can be addressed with braces.
  • Braces Options: Discussing the various types of braces that could be suitable for your lifestyle and dental needs.

Types of Braces for Adults

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the oldest and most common type of orthodontic treatment. They consist of high-grade stainless steel brackets attached to each tooth, connected by a thin archwire. This wire is periodically adjusted by the orthodontist to guide the teeth into their correct positions.


  • Effectiveness: Metal braces are highly effective in treating a wide range of orthodontic issues, including severe misalignments and bite problems.
  • Cost: Generally, they are the least expensive type of braces, making them a more accessible option for many people.


  • Visibility: The most notable drawback of metal braces is their visibility. This can be a concern for adults who are self-conscious about wearing braces.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Wearers may need to avoid certain hard or sticky foods to prevent damage to the braces.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces function in the same way as traditional metal braces but are designed to blend more seamlessly with the natural color of the teeth. The brackets are made from a translucent ceramic material that can be either clear or tinted to match the tooth color.


  • Aesthetics: Ceramic braces are much less noticeable than metal braces, offering a more subtle way to achieve orthodontic correction.
  • Effectiveness: Like metal braces, they are effective for a wide range of dental issues


  • Cost: Ceramic braces are typically more expensive than metal braces due to the materials used.
  • Staining: While the brackets themselves do not stain, the elastics used can discolor, which means they may require more maintenance for aesthetic reasons.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are custom-made to fit the backside of the teeth, making them invisible from the front. They are an excellent option for adults who prioritize aesthetics during their orthodontic treatment.


  • Invisibility: The most significant advantage of lingual braces is their complete invisibility, allowing for discreet treatment.
  • Customization: Each bracket is custom-made to fit the unique shape of the backside of each tooth, which can potentially enhance treatment effectiveness for some patients.


  • Comfort and Speech: Lingual braces may initially cause discomfort and affect speech, although most people adapt over time.
  • Cost: They are often the most expensive type of braces due to the customization and specialized technique required for installation and adjustments.
  • Cleaning: Maintaining oral hygiene can be more challenging with lingual braces because of their placement.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, consist of a series of custom-made, clear plastic trays that fit snugly over the teeth. These aligners are removable and replaced every two weeks with a new set to gradually move the teeth into their desired position.


  • Aesthetics: Clear aligners are virtually invisible, making them a popular choice among adults.
  • Comfort: Without brackets or wires, clear aligners are generally more comfortable to wear.
  • Convenience: They are removable, allowing for normal eating and dental hygiene practices.


  • Discipline: The success of treatment depends on the wearer’s commitment to keeping the aligners in for the recommended 22 hours per day.
  • Cost: While prices have become more competitive, clear aligners can be more expensive than traditional braces, depending on the complexity of the case.
  • Treatment Scope: They may not be suitable for all orthodontic conditions, particularly more severe cases.
Clear Aligners

Cost and Insurance Considerations

Understanding the Costs

The cost of braces as an adult can vary widely and is influenced by several factors:

  • Type of Braces: Ceramic braces and clear aligners typically cost more than traditional metal braces due to their aesthetic appeal.
  • Complexity of Treatment: More severe dental issues require longer treatment times and possibly more sophisticated treatment options, increasing the overall cost.
  • Geographical Location: Costs can vary significantly based on where you live and the local cost of living.

Insurance and Financial Planning

Navigating the financial aspect of braces is crucial:

  • Dental Insurance: Not all dental insurance plans cover orthodontic treatment for adults. It’s important to review your policy or discuss with your insurance provider.
  • Payment Plans: Many orthodontists offer flexible payment plans, allowing you to spread the cost over time.
  • HSAs and FSAs: Utilizing a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account can offer tax-advantaged ways to pay for part of your treatment costs.

Additional Cost Considerations

  • Initial Consultation: Some orthodontists charge for the initial consultation, while others offer it for free.
  • Maintenance and Emergencies: Additional costs can arise from broken brackets, lost aligners, or other emergencies.
  • Post-Treatment Retainers: After braces, you will likely need retainers to maintain your new smile, which adds to the overall cost.

The Treatment Process

Getting braces as an adult starts with a few important steps. It’s a journey to make your smile better, and here’s how it usually goes:

Dental Braces

Initial Consultation and Treatment Planning

First, you’ll meet with your orthodontist for a detailed chat. They’ll check your teeth, talk about what you want to achieve, and suggest the best type of braces for you. This step might include taking pictures of your teeth, X-rays, and making models to see exactly what needs to be done. You’ll learn about how long the treatment might take and how much it will cost.

Getting Your Braces

After everything is planned out, it’s time to put on your braces. If you’re going for traditional braces, the orthodontist will attach brackets to your teeth and connect them with wires. If you choose clear aligners, you’ll get your first set to wear. This appointment is usually pretty straightforward and doesn’t take too long.

Regular Check-ups

Once your braces are on, you’ll need to visit your orthodontist regularly, usually every 4-6 weeks. These visits are important to check your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your braces or aligners. It’s your chance to ask questions and address any concerns you might have.

The Big Day: Getting Them Off

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Once your treatment is complete, your orthodontist will remove your braces. You’ll see the amazing changes in your smile. But remember, to keep your teeth in their new positions, you’ll likely need to wear a retainer for a while.

Managing Expectations and Comfort

Wearing braces as an adult can come with its own set of challenges and questions. Here’s what you should know to make the experience as smooth as possible:

Adjusting to Life with Braces

It might take a little time to get used to your braces or aligners. Here are a few tips:

  • Eating Habits: You might need to adjust what you eat, especially if you have traditional braces. Sticky and very hard foods can damage your braces.
  • Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is super important. You’ll need to brush and floss carefully around your braces to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • Discomfort: It’s normal to feel some discomfort after your braces are adjusted. Pain relievers and soft foods can help.

Staying Motivated

Keeping your eye on the prize (a great smile!) can help you stay motivated through discomfort or inconvenience. Remember why you wanted braces in the first place and think about the positive changes you’re making.

Handling Social Situations

Feeling self-conscious about your braces is normal, but remember that many adults wear braces. Plus, today’s options are much less noticeable. Most people will admire your decision to improve your smile.

Follow-Up Care

After your braces come off, it’s crucial to follow your orthodontist’s advice about wearing a retainer. This ensures your teeth stay in their new positions. You’ll have check-ups just to make sure everything is staying in place.

Getting braces as an adult is a big decision, but it’s one that can have a hugely positive impact on your life. From improving your dental health to boosting your confidence, the benefits are clear. Remember, it’s never too late to get the smile you’ve always wanted. With the right preparation and mindset, you can navigate the process smoothly and come out smiling brighter than ever.

Braces Treatment Process
Braces Treatment Process


In conclusion, getting braces as an adult is a journey well worth taking for anyone longing to improve their smile and oral health. With a variety of options available, from traditional braces to clear aligners, there’s a solution that fits everyone’s needs and lifestyle. Remember, the process involves consultation, adjustment, regular check-ups, and aftercare, but the outcome is a beautiful, confident smile which is invaluable.


1. Can adults wear braces even if they had them as a child?

Yes, adults can wear braces even if they had treatment as a child. Teeth can shift over time, and a second treatment can help realign them and improve oral health.

2. How long do adults typically wear braces?

The duration varies depending on the complexity of the dental issues and the type of braces used, but adults generally wear braces for 1 to 3 years.

3. Are there any risks associated with getting braces as an adult?

While the risks are minimal, adults may experience longer treatment times compared to children due to less flexible bone tissue. Your orthodontist will discuss any specific risks based on your dental history.

4. Can I eat normally with braces?

You’ll need to make some adjustments to your diet. Avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that can damage braces. Soft foods and careful cleaning after meals are recommended.


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