Did you know the teeth are the third-most stressed about factor among Brits? Or that half of UK adults actually don’t like how their smile looks? 20% even said their teeth have a much more negative impact on their confidence than wrinkles or hair!
You read that part about “adults” right! If there used to be a braces age limit in the past, it no longer applies to the orthodontic treatments of today.
That said, if your age is the only thing holding you back from getting straighter teeth, it no longer has to. With today’s innovative teeth-straighteners, you can start flashing those stunning smiles.
Ready to learn how adult braces work, what your options are, and what you can expect? Keep reading, as we’ll answer all these questions and more in this post!
Getting to the Bottom of the Braces Age Limit
It’s actually more of a recommendation rather than teeth braces age limit. In children, the recommendation for the average age for braces is between 10 and 14 years old.
One reason for this early-age referral is because children still have developing bones. The bones in their face and jaw are more flexible and malleable, making their shape easier to alter.
So, does this mean adult facial and jawbones are harder to correct?
Thanks to advances in orthodontic technology, that’s no longer the case. Regardless of your age, modern orthodontic appliances can help straighten your teeth out.
Today, there’s no such thing as being too old to have dazzling white teeth in perfect alignment. Whether you’re in your early 30s, mid-40s, or even late 50s, braces can correct your teeth or bite problems.
Does Being Older Mean Having to Put Up with a Longer Treatment?
Not necessarily! In fact, a study found that age doesn’t appear to have a role in treatment length. So long as you have permanent teeth and healthy gums, you’re good to go.
How Braces in Adults Work
Now that you know you can get braces no matter your age, let’s answer your question, how do braces work in adults?
Adult braces use the same science as children’s braces: To put pressure on the teeth. This gentle pressure pushes the teeth to a much more desirable location or position.
To accomplish this, the dentist attaches dental appliances (mechanical devices) to the teeth. The exact type of device depends on the type of teeth aligner a patient chooses. And no, metal braces aren’t your only option — you can now get clear or almost invisible braces too!
Either way, the device will place pressure on each tooth, urging it to move. This movement will cause the tooth’s root to press against the alveolar bone. Over time, this constant force will dissolve a tiny part of the bone next to the root.
This “dissolution” then allows the tooth to move in the direction of a more desirable position. Don’t worry though, as new bone forms in the space left by the dissolved bone. This new bone prevents the moved tooth from going back to its original location.
A Closer Look at Traditional Braces
Traditional metal braces are also known as “train-track” braces and for good reason. They consist of metal brackets connected by archwires and ligatures. In more difficult cases, patients also have to wear elastic bands and spacers.
Those intertwined metal components are what gives them a “railway” appearance.
Also, since metal braces have many parts, you need to have them adjusted at least once a month. After all, your teeth would have already moved slightly in the past month.
Regular adjustments allow the braces to maintain constant pressure on the teeth. These adjustments usually only involve tightening the archwires, ligatures, and springs.
If one or more brackets detach from your teeth, you need to see your provider right away. That’s because if a bracket becomes loose, the tooth will no longer receive the pressure it needs to move. This can also affect the movement of the rest of your teeth.
The Invisalign System: Your Nearly-Invisible Teeth-Straightening Option
Does the thought of glinting metal on your teeth put you off? If so, then the Invisalign System may be your better teeth-straightening option.
As its name suggests, Invisalign is an almost-invisible alternative to metal braces. Instead of having metal parts attached to your teeth, you’ll only don clear aligners (or trays). The aligners make use of the patented SmartTrack® thermoplastic material.
Like traditional braces, these aligners will place gentle pressure on your teeth. For the trays to do their job right, you need to keep them on between 20 and 22 hours every day. Still, that may be better for you than traditional braces glued to the teeth.
The benefits of the Invisalign System go beyond its near-invisible appearance though. For starters, the aligners work faster in moving the teeth than metal braces.
On average, Invisalign treatments only last for a year. Some patients even finish their treatment within six months. Whereas braces can take up to 24 months before the dentist can remove them.
One of the biggest reasons for Invisalign’s shorter treatment time is its customisation. Each aligner is custom-made, tailored to your specific teeth alignment and bite.
After a week or two of wearing the trays, you’ll then have to swap them for new aligners. The new ones are also custom-made based on the most current position of your teeth.
The Teeth Problems and Bite Issues Adult Braces Can Treat
Metal braces, clear braces, and Invisalign can address the same teeth and bite issues. Be sure to keep in mind the pros and cons of each treatment option though, before you decide which one to get. This way, you can set the right expectations, especially in terms of treatment time.
Here are some of the most common problems that adult braces can correct:
The 1997 film “Austin Powers” is likely what spawned the myth about British folks having bad teeth. After all, the movie — together with the spy’s yellowed, crooked teeth — made more than US $67.68 million. Back then, that converted to a staggering £41 million.
The British having quite the bad teeth is only a myth though. In fact, Brits have fewer missing teeth than Americans. A study found that in the UK, the average number of missing teeth is 6.97, while it’s 7.31 in the US.
Another point of interest: Mike Myers, who played Austin Powers, is actually Canadian-born.
Still, teeth crookedness is common in the UK. The good news, adult braces and Invisalign are making teeth crookedness a thing of the past.
Teeth crookedness is when one or more teeth are either in front or behind the rest. For instance, one of your central incisors sits in a more obvious “forward” position than the other. That’s a crooked tooth right there, although this can happen to any other incisor or canine tooth.
Gaps between the teeth often occur due to a bigger-than-normal jaw. With more space than necessary, the teeth grow with obvious spaces between. These spaces also allow the teeth to move around, with some even ending up twisted.
Gaps can also occur due to a lost or missing tooth. Even if the lost tooth is a molar, you can still develop a space between your front teeth.
This can happen if the tooth beside the missing one moves towards the “vacated” space. If it does, it can result in a domino effect wherein the rest of the teeth can also shift.
Incorrect Bites (Malocclusion)
Malocclusion is the medical term for an incorrect bite. You may have a bite problem if your upper and lower teeth don’t align correctly.
Let’s say your upper teeth sit too far from your lower teeth whenever you bite. If there’s a huge overlap between your upper and lower teeth, you may have an overbite. If it’s the other way around, then you most likely have an underbite.
An overjet is different from an overbite. The former occurs when the top teeth sit beyond the lower teeth in a horizontal manner. This protrusion can cause eating and speech issues, as well as increase your risk of teeth damage.
A posterior crossbite is less common than an overbite and underbite. If you have this type of crossbite, it means that your top back teeth bite into the inside of your lower back teeth.
Have Your Adult Teeth or Bite Problems Corrected Now
There you have it, all the answers addressing your concerns about the braces age limit. Again, there’s no such thing as being too old when it comes to having your teeth straightened out.
Of course, it’s best that you consider undergoing teeth straightening as soon as you can. The sooner you get your adult braces, the sooner you can complete your treatment.
Ready to experience the difference that straighter, healthier teeth can make? Then please feel free to connect with us now! We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about teeth straightening.