Am I too old for braces? Is Invisalign worth it if I’m in my forties or fifties? As a Park Slope orthodontist, these are questions I hear all of the time. The answer is, it’s never too late to get a smile you love, and we can achieve great results at any age with Invisalign®, 3M™ Clarity™ aligners or braces. In fact, orthodontic treatment can greatly improve an adult’s quality of life. This is why, currently, more than one in four orthodontic patients in North America are 18 years old or over. If you’ve been considering straightening your teeth, read on to learn more about adult orthodontics.
What are the Benefits of Adult Orthodontics?
Whether you opt for clear aligners or you’re thinking about getting braces as an adult, the benefits go beyond having a fantastic smile (though that is certainly a big plus!). Here are some of the benefits of adult orthodontics:
- Aligned teeth are easier to clean, which reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Since gum disease is tied to a host of other health conditions, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, improving your oral health also improves your overall health.
- Straightening your teeth helps prevent uneven wear of the enamel and damage to protruding teeth since teeth that stick out are directly in harm’s way and more susceptible to injury.
- Correcting a misaligned bite and shifting teeth to their proper places protects the bones that support the teeth, which helps lessen the risk of tooth loss and pain.
- Improving your bite (the way the teeth fit together) can help you chew, speak and breathe properly. It also reduces undue pressure on your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and the jaw pain, headaches and migraines that can come with it.
- Adult braces and Invisalign can give you a huge boost in confidence and improve your self-esteem. This is helpful in every aspect of your life from your career to your relationships.
- When you lose a tooth, the teeth around the gap have a tendency to shift and crowd the area where the tooth once was. This can interfere with receiving a dental implant. Sometimes, orthodontic treatment can shift these drifting teeth back to their ideal places to make space for the implant.
Are Braces and Invisalign Effective for Adults?
Yes! Braces and Invisalign can be incredibly effective for adults. Of course, there are benefits to starting treatment when a patient is still growing, particularly when orthodontic issues are skeletal in nature. However, that doesn’t mean it is too late to get braces if you’re well past your teen years. As long as your gums and teeth are healthy, we are able to get outstanding results in adults. Even in cases where you do have some oral health concerns, my team and I can work with your general dentist or specialists to ensure orthodontic treatment is safe and effective.
In the past, there were limitations to what could be achieved on adult patients and in complex cases, surgery was often indicated. Thankfully, that is not usually the case anymore. At Fresh Orthodontics, my team and I rely on cutting-edge, proven technology, including digital impressions, computerized treatment planning, modern braces and Invisalign. By having more control over tooth movements and extremely precise treatment planning capabilities, I can often get dramatic results for adult patients with just braces or Invisalign alone. For the occasional case where this isn’t possible, I do offer surgical orthodontics as well. That’s when I team up with your oral surgeon to combine orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery) with braces or Invisalign to correct more severe jaw misalignment. Of course, once I’ve had the chance to take diagnostic records and evaluate your bite, I can help you decide on the best course of action for a lasting, stable, healthy outcome.
What are My Teeth-Straightening Options?
Getting adult braces does not mean you’ll be rocking a mouth full of large, unwieldy, gleaming metal hardware. Today’s braces are smaller and much more streamlined than they were in the past. If you’re looking for ways to straighten teeth without braces, we can do that too with clear aligners. Here is what’s on the menu at Fresh Orthodontics:
- Metal Braces – We offer modern metal braces that have smaller brackets and thin, shape-memory archwires. Metal braces are made of stainless steel and rely on a system of brackets and wires to guide the teeth into place. The brackets are bonded to the teeth and then the archwire is threaded through the brackets. The wire acts as a track to shift the teeth into position. Metal braces have been used for a very long time and are still around today because they are super effective. If you want to show off your tooth jewelry, you can absolutely choose colored elastics to go with your braces. Or, for a sleeker look, opt for clear elastics. Either way, metal braces are comfortable and work great for patients of all ages.
- Clear Braces – Not everyone loves the idea of metal braces and that’s okay. We also have clear braces for adults that give you the straightening power of braces but in a way that is lower profile. Clear braces are also fixed orthodontic appliances, meaning they stay put throughout your treatment because they’re bonded to your teeth. This is a bonus for people who don’t want to keep track of removable aligners. The brackets are made from a clear, crystal material and they blend in with your teeth. A long time ago, they used to stain and were more fragile but now they’re stain-resistant and just as durable as any of the other teeth-straightening options.
- Clear Aligners – We’re a leading Brooklyn Invisalign provider here at Fresh Orthodontics and I’ve treated thousands of patients with the system of clear aligners. Or, if you’d prefer an Invisalign alternative, we also offer 3M Clarity aligners. Both are extremely popular with our adult orthodontic patients. The aligners are made from smooth, clear, BPA-free plastic and are virtually invisible when you’re wearing them. They’re removable, so you can brush and floss as you normally would and there are no food restrictions. Since they lack brackets and wires, they’re extremely comfortable and appointments are faster because they don’t require adjustments.
Clear aligner treatment starts with a quick, comfortable digital scan of your teeth and gums using our iTero® scanner. A computerized 3D model of your mouth is created and I develop your Clarity or Invisalign treatment plan directly on the model, mapping out each individual tooth movement for maximum precision. Your clear aligners are fabricated based on my prescription. You wear your aligners for about 22 hours per day, changing them every week or so to a new set. You’ll come in for the occasional check-up so that I can make sure your treatment is on track.
How Much do Braces Cost for Adults? How Much Does Invisalign Cost?
Another of the common questions we get from patients is how much do braces cost? Or, how much does Clarity or Invisalign cost? Every patient is unique and it will depend on your individual needs. Factors like the duration of your treatment and the complexity of your case will influence the cost of braces or clear aligners. We strive to ensure everyone can achieve a healthy, beautiful smile, which is why we offer affordable payment plans, including no-interest financing, a $0 down payment option for braces, extended financing terms and low monthly payment options to suit your budget. We also accept most insurance and dental discount plans, so if you have orthodontic insurance for adults, we’ll help you maximize it and we’ll even handle the paperwork for you.
Will Orthodontic Treatment Fit My Lifestyle?
At Fresh Orthodontics, we really strive to make orthodontic treatment convenient and easy on patients. We also make it fun (really!). Our Park Slope office is modern and comfortable. We have minimal wait times but if you come in early, you can kick back and relax, grab a beverage, and check your email or scroll through Instagram on our complimentary WiFi.
Our treatment area is decked out with state-of-the-art technology and we’re almost completely digital, meaning our processes are streamlined and you’ll spend less time in my chair. If you do have questions or concerns, I’m always happy to answer them and we pride ourselves on giving every patient a personalized, educational experience.
Thanks to our knowledge and expertise and our innovative treatment options, we can get results a lot more efficiently than ever before. You won’t be in braces or have to wear Invisalign for years and years to get the outcome you want.
Now that you’re well versed in adult orthodontics, are you wondering, “Where can I find braces or Invisalign near me?” We’ve got you covered with a full range of teeth-straightening options for kids, teens AND adults in Brooklyn. Schedule a complimentary consultation at Fresh Orthodontics today to get started on your dream smile at any age!