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Setting the Record Straight on Braces For Adults - What to Know

Setting the Record Straight on Braces for Adults

For a lot of people, braces were a fact of life during puberty. A lot of people who had crooked teeth or poorly-aligned bites as children went through middle school and high school with gleaming, metallic (and sometimes multicolored) brackets. However, they shed their braces sometime before college or right after it starts, and proceed with their professional lives with straight, regular rows of teeth.

For some people, though, adult braces are the way to go. Perhaps, they never received the orthodontic treatment they needed when they were little. Another possibility is that their teeth shifted in adulthood and they must now correct the overcrowding or misalignments it caused. For whatever reason, more adults are choosing to get braces today.

How do braces work?

If you have not had braces before, you might not know how they straighten your teeth. Think of them as a book press. It puts constant, gentle tension on teeth so it shifts gently to the desired location. The side pressure causes the root to press against its bones. Eventually, this buildup of force weakens and dissolves the bone, letting the tooth move. Finally, new bone will form where the old root used to be.

It takes anywhere from 18 to 36 months for an adult to complete an orthodontic course. This does not include the time it might take to wear retainers after the braces come off. The entire process will probably take about four years to finish. There are different types of adult braces and each one has its advantages and disadvantages.

What type of adult braces should I get?

This depends on a number of factors, including your budget and the extent of correction needed. If you are going for minimal teeth movement or if there aren’t dramatic changes needed to your bite, you can opt for clear aligners. These are plastic trays molded in place and should be removed when you eat or brush your teeth.

Another type is lingual braces, which have brackets cemented to the inside of each tooth. Because they stay behind the teeth instead of in front, they are perfect for people who need a more dramatic shift but are also after aesthetics. These braces look like they aren’t there. However, they can be more expensive than clear aligners or traditional braces.

Traditional braces are the ones with which people are most familiar. These have brackets that go on top of teeth and are anchored by wires. Instead of metal, some variants of traditional braces use clear ceramic or a substance that mimics the color of teeth. Traditional braces are affordable and produce significant results. However, front brackets are highly visible, and even the clear ones will register in close-up photos.

Can I get braces?

This depends on the overall health of your mouth. If you have poor gum health or suffer from gingivitis, you need to have that treated before getting braces. This is because when you get braces you are aiming to shift your teeth to a permanent location. If you are treating gum disease, this will cause movements in your mouth that need to be resolved.

Adults might also have bone density issues. People at particular risk are women over 40, who may experience the onset of osteoporosis. Your local dentist will be able to tell you if you are still eligible for orthodontic work. They can make suggestions and recommendations that will suit your needs.


Getting braces is a commitment. It requires regular upkeep and visits to your orthodontist. If you are over 18 and are considering braces, it is not too late. There are a variety of options for adults who want to correct their alignment. All you need to do is talk to a dentist near you. 

If you are looking for a dentist in Clifton, NJ, set an appointment with Clifton Advanced Dentistry today. Aside from consulting on orthodontics, we have other corrective services such as tooth implants, veneers, dentures and the like. Contact us today to learn more!