If you, an adult, have crooked or crowded teeth, you’re probably wondering if you can still get braces. (Otherwise, why would you be reading this article?).
And we’re going to answer your questions. Soon you won’t have to wonder anymore.
Can Adults Get Braces?
Even though it’s ideal to get braces when you’re a child, you can get orthodontic work when you’re an adult if needed. In fact, 20% of orthodontic patients are older than 18.
The reason it’s better to get braces when you’re a child is that your bones are still forming and growing, which makes them more perfect for structural changes that can last long term. An adult’s bones have stopped growing, making it more difficult to accomplish some oral adjustments without surgery.
If you do need braces as an adult, the whole process will take longer. On average, adult braces stay on for about two years.
Types Of Braces For Adults
If you do need to get braces as an adult, you have a handful of options. We’ll cover those now.
Metal braces, also called traditional braces, involve metal brackets that are cemented onto each tooth and held in place by metal wiring. Metal braces are the typical braces that most people think of when they hear “braces.”
- They’ve been around the longest and are proven to work
- The metal may be uncomfortable against your lips and tongue
If you’d rather not have metal in your mouth, you can opt for ceramic braces. Essentially, the orthodontist uses a tooth-colored, ceramic material instead of metal. You can also opt for clear ceramic braces.
- Less noticeable than traditional metal braces
- May cause less discomfort than metal
They’re actually personalized clear trays that fit over your teeth and are switched out every couple of weeks with a new tray that’s slightly different. The idea is to move your teeth through a series of trays.
- The least noticeable teeth aligners available
- May not work as well as traditional braces
Lingual braces are also called reverse braces because the brackets are cemented to the backsides of the teeth. Because of this method, they’re invisible unless someone were to look into your mouth.
- Completely not visible
- Because the brackets are on the insides of your teeth, they may bother your tongue
Adult Braces Process
Before you go through with braces and sign on the dotted line, here are some things you can expect during the process of getting braces.
First, you should know that having braces requires regular visits to your orthodontist. You’ll need an appointment usually ever 4 to 6 weeks. And the whole process of straightening your teeth can take anywhere between nine months and two years, depending on how good you are with following the orthodontist’s instructions.
Second, you’ll need to be ready to change what you eat. Hard, sticky, and chewy foods are not great to eat while wearing braces because they could cause the brackets to loosen and/or fall off.
You’ll also need to brush and floss for a bit longer than normal. It will be a little more difficult and the braces will need extra care and cleaning.
Lastly, you should get go into your first meeting with the orthodontist with questions. Here are some to get you started:
- What are my options for straightening my teeth?
- How long will I have to wear them?
- How can I make this whole process go faster?
- How often will I need to make an appointment?
- How much will the whole procedure cost?
- Does your offer payment plans?
- Do you accept my insurance?
- What happens after I get the braces off?
The orthodontist may answer a lot of these questions before you have a chance to ask, but it’s better to be over-prepared.
Adult Braces Cost
Brace yourself (sorry for the pun). This process is not cheap.
On average, the cost of braces can be between $2,000 and $8,000 without any dental coverage. Obviously, it can vary depending on the type of braces you get, how severe your case is, and how many braces you need.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the cost of each type of braces:
- Metal Braces: up to $7,500
- Ceramic Braces: up to $8000
- Invisalign: up to $8,500
- Lingual Braces: up to $13,000
Yikes. That’s a lot. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can save lots of money on orthodontic treatments.
How To Save Money On Braces For Adults?
Despite the high numbers listed above, there are ways you can find high-quality cheap braces. Here are a few of those ways.
Dental Savings Plans
Dental savings plans are a great alternative to dental insurance. You sign up online, get approved in a matter of days, and begin getting up to 60% off on your orthodontic costs. All you have to do is show your dental savings plan card.
Orthodontic School Clinic
This one may make you uncomfortable, but it’s a legit way to get cheaper braces. A student would be the one acting as your orthodontist. But not to worry, a licensed orthodontist would be overseeing the process every step of the way.
We hinted at this option above — you can ask your orthodontist if they offer payment plans. This is where they agree to receive a no-interest monthly payment from you until your bill is paid off.
State Dental Assistance Program
Many states in the U.S. offer some sort of dental assistance program for those who fit in certain income brackets. These programs often help people pay for braces via taxpayer dollars or by connecting with nonprofits.
Flexible Spending Account
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is an account that is specifically for medical expenses. You deposit pre-tax funds into the account and use your FSA card to pay for things like braces. Employers often offer these to their employees.
And last-but-not-least — dental tourism. This is where you travel to a country that offers cheaper orthodontic coverage than the U.S., get braces, and then turn the whole trip into a vacation while you’re there.
Mexico and Thailand are famous for being the most affordable countries with some great vacation destinations.
- Adults can get braces, but the process will take longer than it does for an adolescent.
- The different types of braces you can get include metal braces (regular/traditional), ceramic braces (like regular braces but made out of ceramic), invisible braces (clear trays), and lingual braces (regular braces placed on the backside of the teeth).
- The whole process of getting braces can last nine months to two years, with regular visits every 4-6 weeks. Any time you have a question, you should not be afraid to ask your orthodontist.
- Some very effective but little-known ways to save money on braces include dental savings plans, orthodontic school clinic, payment plans, state dental assistance program, Flexible Spending Account, and dental tourism.