Braces for Adults: How Long Will It Take?

It’s not uncommon for adults to avoid getting orthodontic work done. After all, braces are often seen as something “for kids,” and professionals especially may legitimately worry about being taken seriously if they’re sporting braces. At Bowman DMD in Fort Walton Beach, FL, we want adults to know that invisalign braces for adults can be a fast, discreet treatment: and that they are well worth it!

InvisalignBraces for Adults: How Long Will It Take?

Treatment time will depend on which type of braces or aligners you choose and the extent of your orthodontic issues. Cases of extreme orthodontic issues can take as long as three years, but for most people, orthodontic treatment is finished between one and three years.

There are many factors that influence the amount of time you’ll need to wear braces. These include the type of braces, your specific individual needs and dental issues, and your age. For adults, treatment can sometimes take just a bit longer than it does with children or teens because the teeth are fixed and require more pressure to move.

Speeding Things Up

While there’s no magic bullet that will fix your issue overnight, there are a few things you can do that will keep things moving.

Follow Instructions

People who faithfully follow instructions almost always get their braces off sooner than those who neglect key issues in caring for their braces or aligners. These instructions include how to maintain oral hygiene, how to deal with removable appliances, and more. We’ll give you instructions when you have your orthodontic work done and will help you understand why the instructions are so important!

Eat Smart

Some forms of orthodontics require you to avoid certain foods. Sticky foods like caramel or hard foods like candy can cause brackets to break. When you have a broken or missing bracket, it extends treatment time, even if you always get it seen to immediately.

Staying Clean

It might not seem like cleaning your teeth could actually help your treatment go faster, but proper brushing and flossing techniques will definitely keep your treatment on track.

Worth the Wait

However long your treatment takes, we can assure you it’s worth the wait. If you never had your orthodontic issues treated in childhood, or if they have just arisen, it’s tempting to think that because everything has been mostly fine so far it’s fine to just ignore the issue. In reality, orthodontic issues can cause serious problems down the line.

Health Issues

Over time, you can suffer from jaw pain and TMJ. You may start grinding or clenching your teeth, causing pain and accelerated tooth decay. You may also find yourself more susceptible to gum disease, especially if misaligned teeth create pockets where bacteria can hide. This can also cause perpetual bad breath, which can be a self-esteem and relationship killer. Bite issues and tooth problems can even cause or exacerbate sleep apnea.

The Perfect Smile

Perhaps most significant for an adult, misaligned teeth and bite problems simply make our smiles less than they could be. When you’re confident in your teeth and smile, you’re more confident in every area of life.

Many adults with orthodontic issues develop hiding mechanisms they’re not even aware of out of self-consciousness about a crooked smile or bad teeth. When your teeth are straight and your smile looks good, you have the confidence to take on new challenges and new relationships.

Orthodontic Options for Adults

At Bowman DMD, we know that adults can be especially self-conscious about orthodontic hardware. That’s why we offer a variety of options for improving your appearance and quality of life. It all starts with a consultation with Dr. Bowman. Dr. Bowman has years of experience in treating these issues and can help you choose the best treatment for your orthodontic condition and your lifestyle and needs. Rest assured that the goal is always to get you the change you need as quickly, painlessly, and discreetly as possible.

Mini-Diamond Braces

You may be aware that traditional metal braces are still around precisely because they offer fast treatment and are sometimes best suited for more serious issues. What makes the mini-diamond great Invisalign braces for adults in certain situations, however, is that they offer the same advantages as traditional braces in terms of functionality and speed but with a more discreet look.

They are less likely to cause ulcers and canker sores, are less obtrusive, and don’t cause as much tooth soreness. These work well in situations where clear aligners simply aren’t an effective option, such as for severely impacted or misaligned teeth.

Clear or Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are a very popular option for adults. Because the brackets are clear, they are much less noticeable than any metal braces, yet they work in the same way and at the same speed. Modern ceramic braces can be entirely clear or colored to more closely match your teeth.

First-generation clear braces were very fragile, making them a poor option for anyone involved in sports. Today’s ceramic braces are much stronger, but they are still a bit more fragile than metal braces. It’s also possible to discolor the braces and elastic ties if you consume too many staining foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, or tomatoes. Regularly cleaning your teeth immediately after consuming these can help, however. We can discuss with you whether these are a good option for your lifestyle when you come for an initial appointment.


Invisalign is wildly popular for adults, and it’s easy to see why. These clear aligners sit over your teeth and are practically unnoticeable. For adults with certain orthodontic options, and especially if you work in a public-facing job, these can be a wonderful option. They typically take slightly longer to work than other types of braces, but for many, this trade-off in time is well worth it for the discretion this orthodontic option offers.

Invisalign is also popular because it allows you to avoid all the issues of food and activity limitations that accompany regular braces. You simply remove the aligners to eat, allowing you to eat anything you like. You also remove them to clean your teeth, which most people find far easier than trying to clean in and around traditional dental hardware.

There are some cases where Invisalign isn’t a good fit. Clear plastic aligners aren’t a great option for addressing severely impacted teeth, for instance. It’s also important to note that these aligners must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours every day in order to deliver good, fast results. If you aren’t able to wear them this consistently, your treatment time will be extended.

SmartClip Braces

SmartClip is another popular adult choice because it can significantly speed up your treatment. With SmartClip, you get self-ligating brackets custom-made to fit your teeth. You can do away with the rubber bands associated with traditional braces, and this means tooth movement goes more quickly. They’re also more comfortable, and you don’t need to come in to our office for adjustments nearly as often.

SmartClip works with full sets of braces, but it can also be used if you have just a few braces to correct small problems. This option is also more hygienic than having elastic bands in your mouth. The clips are easier to clean and don’t stain or discolor. SmartClip is smaller than traditional metal braces for adults, meaning treatment is more discreet as well as faster.

Carriere Motion Appliance

The Carrier 3D appliance is a discreet piece of hardware that goes into the mouth before any braces are applied. It resolves the most difficult part of moving your teeth, often shortening treatment time by as much as four months.

The appliance mimics the action of the ball and socket joint in your hip, allowing your molar to rotate into the right position quickly. The device includes built-in stops, so you don’t have to worry about your molar moving too far. The appliance itself can’t be seen when it’s in the mouth, so this is a very discreet way to treat the hardest part of adjusting your teeth. With this appliance, you’ll spend less time actually in braces or aligners and more time enjoying your new, straight teeth.

FAQ About Braces for Adults

What Happens at a First Appointment?

At your first appointment with Dr. Bowman, we’ll do a complete clinical exam of your teeth. If you have X-rays from your dentist, bring those along. A thorough examination allows Dr. Bowman to give you the best possible advice about what treatment to pursue. We’ll evaluate whether you have a problem, what needs to happen to correct it, your treatment options, and how long it will take.

Once we have a good idea of your specific needs, you’ll discuss your concerns with us. These could be about discomfort, the time-table of treatment, the overall cost, or your need for a discreet option. Nothing is out-of-bounds to talk about, so feel free to come with all your questions.

How Much Will It Cost?

It’s normal to ask this question, but there’s simply no way to give a good answer without seeing you in person. Each person’s orthodontic treatment needs are unique. Treatment options have different prices, and the amount of time it takes to fully address your issues will also affect the price.

That said, we want you to get the treatment you need. We have financing options available for those who need it, and we’ll go over these at your appointment. We can also help you review your insurance coverage so you maximize all your benefits and ensure you file the right claims.

How Often Are Appointments?

Appointment intervals will vary depending on which treatment you get and your specific needs. In general, it’s normal to have an appointment once a month or once every two months. If you’re using self-ligating braces or Invisalign, you’ll be able to space appointments further apart.

Does Orthodontic Treatment Hurt?

While everyone’s perception of pain is unique to them, in general, we can assure you that your treatment won’t be painful. Many people feel no pain or even soreness at all. Some feel a bit sore immediately after their braces are put on or adjusted, but over-the-counter painkillers like Advil are perfectly capable of addressing this minor discomfort.

Call Us to Learn More

If you’re an adult, don’t put off orthodontic treatment over worry about how you’ll look or how long it will take. When you see your beautiful, straight smile, you’ll wonder why you waited as long as you did; and a lifetime of good oral health is worth a few months of treatment. To learn more and get started, visit Bowman DMD in Fort Walton Beach, FL today.