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What’s different about getting braces as an adult?

May 25, 2020
What’s different about getting braces as an adult?

We often get asked how adult orthodontics differs from having orthodontic treatment as a teenager; quite simply, most of the techniques and processes are very similar. However, the overall experience of getting braces as an adult can be a different to receiving orthodontic treatment as a teenager.

Adult Braces Experience

Here are some of the differences you might notice and some common questions you may want answered before your treatment commences.

You call the shots with adult orthodontic treatment

When a teenager has orthodontic treatment their parent is the one in charge. This includes selecting the orthodontist, making the final call on the type of treatment they’ll receive and arranging payment. However, when an adult is wanting to get braces they need to be in the driver’s seat. Finding a registered specialist orthodontist can help ease your mind and ensure you’re making the right decisions when it comes to your health and budget.

metal braces price

You might stand out from the crowd

Braces are often referred to as a rite of passage for teens, with many of their peers likely to be undergoing treatment at the same time which can help to ease some of their insecurities. However, we are seeing more adults take up orthodontic treatment to help them achieve the smile they’ve always wanted, so you may even have someone in your friendship group you can relate to.

It’s for this reason that many adults prefer more subtle treatment options such as ceramic braces, lingual braces or clear aligners to achieve a straighter smile.

You may have more treatment options as an adult

While the actual treatment options available are the same regardless of your age or size, some options may be unsuitable for younger patients due to budget or irresponsibility.

For example, clear aligners such as Invisalign®, Spark® and 3M Clarity are only recommended if the patient will diligently wear the aligners for 20-22 hours a day or else the treatment may not be effective.

Similarly, if you’re only organising your own orthodontic treatment and not a gaggle of children, you may be able to afford a more expensive option such as lingual braces.

Is anything different when you’re getting braces as an adult?

The biggest difference we see when comparing teen and adult patients is their attitude. Many kids are excited about the thought of getting braces, and will take pride in selecting their favourite colours for their bands to customise their look. Adults, on the other hand, tend to be self-conscious about their treatment and prefer more subtle options.

We encourage all our patients – whether they’re undergoing treatment through traditional metal braces or subtle clear aligners – to embrace this temporary transitional period before their new smile is unveiled!

braces as an adult

How long do adults need to wear braces?

Whether you’re using traditional metal braces or clear aligner treatment, most adults will need to wear braces for between 6 months and 24 months. The length of your orthodontic treatment generally depends on the type of malocclusions you have, the complexity of the movements that need to be performed and whether you require extensive bite correction to fix your jaw alignment.

The only way to know for sure is to make an appointment with a specialist orthodontist to assess your smile and develop a treatment plan that is specific to you.

Do braces hurt more for adults?

While it is generally recommended that orthodontic treatment is undertaken during teenage years, it is not because braces hurt more for adults. No matter what age you are, you will likely experience the same level of discomfort after an adjustment which will dissipate in the coming days.

The reason orthodontic treatment is recommended at an earlier age is because teenagers are still growing and their teeth are in the process of shifting, this makes it easier to intercept issues before they become problems.

What insurance covers braces for adults?

Whether your private health insurance covers orthodontic treatment is between you and your insurer. However, your insurer generally doesn’t see a distinction between orthodontic treatment for adults compared to children and teens. Ask your orthodontist for the reference codes they’re likely to use to check if you’re covered.

medical insurance

Can adults get braces with missing teeth?

Even if you’re missing a tooth, you can still get braces. How this will affect your treatment will depend on the number and location of your missing teeth, as well as any other issues that will be corrected simultaneously. For example, if you have a lot of crowding in your mouth, a missing tooth may actually be beneficial as there is room to move the rest of your teeth to align them more evenly.

If you have a false tooth or a dental implant, you may still be able to have orthodontic treatment. This is why it is essential that you always have a face-to-face appointment with a specialist orthodontist prior to commencing orthodontic treatment so that they can assess your smile, review your x-rays and make a plan that is best for all your teeth.

How do I enquire about braces for myself?

The first step towards your new smile is to make an appointment with a specialist orthodontist who will be able to guide you through the process, assess your smile and help you find the best option to suit your teeth, budget and lifestyle. You don’t need a referral from your dentist to make an appointment, simply use the Finder Tool to find a registered specialist orthodontist near you.

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