Am I too Old for Braces? Your Adult Orthodontics Questions Answered

Adults are seeking out orthodontic treatment in record numbers. In fact, about 27 percent of patients in the United States and Canada are 18 years old and older. As a Johnson City orthodontist, Dr. Sturgill has experienced this surge in adult patients firsthand. Sometimes, patients never had the opportunity to straighten their teeth in their teenage years and, in other cases, they experienced a relapse after forgetting to wear their retainer for a while. Whatever their reasoning, thanks to so many advances in the field, there’s never been a better time to achieve your dream smile, regardless of your age. We’ll be covering the questions about adult orthodontics we hear most often at our practice to help you get a clear idea of the benefits.

1. Am I too Old for Braces or Invisalign?

You’re never too old to enjoy a functional, beautiful smile. While, of course, there are benefits to getting treatment while you’re still growing, the truth is, the teeth can move efficiently at any age as long as the gums and supporting bone are healthy. By using the most modern techniques and treatments, we’re able to give our adult braces and Invisalign patients exceptional outcomes. In more severe cases, where a patient’s malocclusion (“bad bite”) is due to a significant skeletal issue, Sturgill Orthodontics is one of the few practices in the area offering surgical orthodontics. We can combine orthodontic treatment with jaw surgery for an amazing smile and stable results. Yet, due to advances in orthodontics, most of the time, we can get the outcome we want using just braces or Invisalign for adults.

2. Will I Have to Wear Metal Braces?

Getting braces as an adult doesn’t have to mean metal braces. Though, we do have to say, today’s metal braces are much smaller, more streamlined, and way more attractive than they were in the past. So, we stand by them as great options when it comes to adult orthodontics! However, the good news is, adults tend to be perfect candidates for esthetic treatments, such as clear braces, lingual braces and Invisalign.

Clear braces are made of a translucent material that blends in with your smile. They’re one of the more popular orthodontic options for adults because you get the straightening power of braces with an under-the-radar look. Lingual braces are the least visible of any of the types of orthodontic treatment since they’re bonded to the back side of the teeth. They can’t be seen at all when you smile! They do require a little more attention to oral hygiene, which is why we typically use them on older teens and adults.

Lastly, if you don’t love the idea of adult braces, you can skip them altogether and opt for Invisalign instead. This teeth-straightening system involves a series of custom, clear, removable aligners that are designed based on Dr. Sturgill’s specifications. As a leading Johnson City Invisalign provider, he’s able to achieve great results with clear aligners even in cases where patients have been told they’re not candidates elsewhere. When you visit Sturgill Orthodontics for a consultation, Dr. Sturgill will walk you through the pros and cons of each of the orthodontic options for adults and help you decide on the one that will bring out the best in your unique smile.

3. What are the Benefits of Braces for Adults?

The most obvious benefit of braces for adults is getting a fantastic smile, which can enhance your facial appearance and, in turn, give you a huge boost in confidence. The cosmetic benefits definitely shouldn’t be overlooked because the confidence you gain can lead to improvements in all areas of your life. In a survey of adult orthodontic patients, 92 percent said straightening their teeth was important to their confidence, and 78% said it gave them the confidence to do something they wouldn’t have done prior to getting braces or Invisalign. Everyone deserves to experience the self-esteem that comes along with loving your smile! Beyond that, considering our smile is one of the first things people notice about us, when it looks great, it helps make a positive first impression.

There are also functional and oral health benefits to treatment, including:

  • Lowering the risk of tooth decay and gum disease – Straight teeth are easier to brush and floss properly and you can more effectively eliminate plaque. This helps you ward off tooth decay and gum disease. Gum disease has actually been tied to a number of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke, as well as tooth loss. By protecting your oral health, you can also protect your overall health.
  • Improving the function of your teeth and jaw – By creating an aligned bite, you are able to chew, speak, and breathe properly. It can also help to ease pain or pressure in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
  • Reducing uneven wear – When teeth are misaligned, it can place undue stress on them, which often leads to uneven wear.
  • Decreasing the risk of injury – Protruding teeth are more susceptible to trauma, but braces or Invisalign can shift them into their ideal places to keep them out of harm’s way.

4. How Long Will Orthodontic Treatment Take?

One of the biggest fears people have about getting braces as an adult or wearing Invisalign is that it will take an extremely long time. That’s not the case. Braces and Invisalign have both seen major upgrades in materials and engineering over the decades. Plus, at Sturgill Orthodontics, we use the most cutting-edge technology for extremely precise treatment planning. Dr. Sturgill has the expertise and knowledge to help his patients get results without lengthy treatment.

Every smile is unique and it will depend on the severity of your case. However, most patients finish treatment in between 12 and 30 months for both Invisalign and braces. Since adults are often more compliant, wear their appliances according to plan, and care for them as directed, they can sometimes finish treatment even sooner.  

5. How Much do Braces Cost? How Much Does Invisalign Cost?

The cost of Invisalign or braces depends on your individual needs and how long your treatment will last. However, we strive to ensure adult orthodontics is affordable and accessible to all of our patients. We accept most insurances and offer in-office, interest-free financing, where we can develop a payment plan that suits your budget. Additionally, our pricing is all-inclusive, meaning you pay a single, flat rate for everything. So, the toothbrush kit you receive, any additional orthodontic appliances that are needed, progress x-rays, refinement trays for Invisalign patients, and your first set of retainers, are included in the price of treatment. That way, you can focus on your treatment and not stress about any hidden fees.

If you’re interested in learning more about Invisalign or braces for adults in Johnson City, call today to book your complimentary consultation at Sturgill Orthodontics!