How Old Can You Be and Still Get Braces?

Having straight teeth is often associated with having healthy teeth and having a beautiful smile. For many people, having crooked teeth or other dental issues can cause self-esteem issues. Fortunately, even if you’re an older adult, you can still get braces and correct your smile. At Bowman DMD in Fort Walton Beach, FL, we know that braces for adults are good options for most people over the age of 21 who would like to correct the alignment of their teeth.

How Old Can You Be and Still Get Braces?

So, how old is too old? The easiest answer is that it’s never too late to get braces. You can have braces as a child, during puberty, as a teenager, as a young adult, and even as an older adult. The main determining factor for whether or not you can get braces is how healthy your teeth are. But if your teeth are generally healthy or you’re willing to undergo procedures to make your teeth healthy, you are likely a good candidate for braces for adults regardless of your age.

That said, most adults who consider getting braces are usually between the ages of 30 and 50. For some, getting braces as an adult is a way to fix shifts in the teeth that may have happened because of wisdom teeth. For others, braces for adults are a way to correct missteps from not wearing a retainer when you were younger. Regardless of your reason, you are never too old to straighten your teeth and enhance your smile.

Why Should You Consider Braces for Adults?

There are several reasons why adults consider getting braces. In truth, there’s no one reason to get braces and many patients have several motivating factors for why they want orthodontic care. There are a few common reasons adults consider various treatments to straighten the teeth, including:

Reduce Pain

Did you know that misaligned teeth or misaligned jaws can cause pain? Pains such as discomfort in the jaw and migraine headaches can all be linked to teeth that are crooked, malformed, or jawbones that are not in alignment. Braces can be one of the simplest ways to reduce pain from TMJ or migraine headaches.

Prevent Tooth Decay

Crooked teeth are hard to take care of. When there is no space between teeth, it can be difficult to floss and brush properly, and this eventually leads to tooth decay over time. Tooth decay, worn down enamel, and other signs of poor oral hygiene can often be linked to teeth that are difficult to take care of because of misalignment.

By getting braces as an adult, you can hopefully prevent further tooth decay and maintain your natural teeth for as long as possible. When your teeth are straight, they are easier to clean, you may have more enthusiasm about oral hygiene, and you may be able to delay or prevent dentures when you are much older.

Reduce Gum Disease

Misaligned teeth can also be a major contributing factor for gum disease. This is linked to tooth decay because of the inability to properly take care of teeth that are too crowded or crooked. Because you are unable to floss adequately or brush correctly, lingering bacteria and plaque can stay on the teeth near the gum line, and over time this will cause gum disease.

Other Benefits

Finally, getting braces can make it significantly easier to eat. You might not think about it because you’ve been eating this way for your entire life, but a misaligned jaw, overbites, crossbites, and other misalignment concerns can make it difficult to bite and chew food. It can be a significant benefit to get braces for adults to make it easier to eat.

Although there is food softening technology and you have plenty of soft food options, the fact of the matter is that your nutritional needs depend on your ability to bite and chew, particularly as you get older. If you’re experiencing difficulty eating certain foods because of your teeth, then getting braces can be a way that you can fix this concern for the future.

What Should You Know About This Treatment?

So, what do you need to know about braces for adults? Many people mistakenly assume that braces are only for younger people, but the truth is that many of the requirements for getting braces for adults are the same as getting braces for children. Some of these requirements include:

You Must Have Strong Teeth and Healthy Jaws

To qualify for orthodontic care, you will need to have strong teeth and healthy jaws. Strong teeth don’t necessarily mean teeth that are free of cavities and fillings. Rather, strong teeth refer to teeth that are firmly rooted into the jaw bone.

Similarly, your jaws need to be healthy and strong because they will need to accommodate shifts in the alignment of the teeth. If your jawbone is not strong, then it will not hold and maintain the correct alignment of teeth when braces are taken off.

You Must Be Prepared for Complex Treatment Plans

One of the reasons why it’s preferred to give children and people under the age of 18 braces is because their adult teeth are still developing and fixing in place, which makes it much easier to correct alignment concerns. As you get older, your teeth are less pliable and they are more difficult to move. For this reason, you will need to be prepared to have complex treatment plans if you are getting braces as an adult.

For example, you may need to have oral surgery to remove teeth that are crowding and putting pressure on other teeth, you may need gum surgery, you may require a root canal, or you may need basic crowns and fillings. If you haven’t had your wisdom teeth removed, then you will likely need to have these teeth removed to prevent impaction while you have braces on and to ensure that your teeth remain straight after the braces are taken off.

You Must Be Committed to Diet Changes

One of the major requirements of getting braces is the ability to commit to changes in your diet. When you have braces, you are not free to eat whatever food you want. For example, food items that may be banned for the duration of your treatment can include popcorn, corn on the cob, gum, foods made with red sauce, and dyed drinks such as Powerade or red juices.

This is because some of these foods may cause cracks in the braces themselves or may be caught into the wires of the braces. Other foods may be able to stain the teeth, which is why drinking coffee and wine may not be recommended if you have braces as an adult.

You Must Be Ready To Wear Braces for a While

You should also be prepared to wear braces for a while as an adult. Usually, younger people will be able to complete orthodontic care within about 12 to 24 months most of the time. Adults may need to have to wear braces longer to achieve optimal results.

Of course, the length of the time you will have to wear braces will be determined by your specific case and the type of tooth alignment treatment you are using. Some treatments for mild crookedness may be able to work in as little as six to nine months, for example.

You Must Be Ready To Explore All Options

You should also be prepared to explore all of your orthodontic treatment options. Classic wire and bracket braces may not be appropriate for your needs. Your orthodontist may recommend clear aligners such as Invisalign or other types of orthodontic care that will straighten your teeth. Staying open-minded will help you achieve your smile in the fastest and most effective way.

Will You Need a Consultation?

Yes, you will need a consultation to help plan your treatment. For orthodontic care, your consultation will include an examination of your teeth, x-rays, and exploring all of your treatment options. During your consultation, you should ask any questions about expected lifestyle changes, changes in diet, and other concerns you may have.

Explore Braces for Adults

Whether or not you want to have straight teeth to enhance your smile or you want to straighten your teeth to reduce pain, you can still get braces as an adult. As long as your teeth and jawbone are healthy, you can likely qualify for this treatment. Contact us at Bowman DMD in Fort Walton Beach, FL today to schedule your consultation.