Is There an Age Limit for Orthodontics?

In the United States, the orthodontics market had an estimated value of $1.98 billion in 2019. Experts project this to more than double and exceed $4.2 billion by 2027.

A chief reason for that growth is the rise in the number of adult orthodontic patients. That’s right: even adults can still reap the benefits of straight teeth, no matter their age.

We’ll discuss all the basics you need to know about adult braces in this guide, so be sure to keep reading.

A Quick Overview on the Best Age To Get Braces

The consensus is that orthodontic treatment is best started at 12 to 13 years old. This is the ideal age range since all the adult teeth have already erupted in most 12- to 13-year-old children. Moreover, the bones and gums of these kids are still healthy, malleable, and easy to manipulate.

When Is It Too Late To Get Braces?

In the United States, one in three orthodontic patients is over the age of 18. That’s proof that braces and other teeth-straightening devices work in adults. That also means there’s no such thing as being too old to undergo orthodontic treatment.

Researchers worldwide have even studied orthodontic patients 60 years or older. They confirm that a patient’s age isn’t a contraindication for getting braces.

As a bonus, dental insurance for adults often covers medically necessary braces.

However, experts also remind everyone that it can take longer for adults to see results. This is especially true in the elderly, as the mouth tissues have a slower response to forces. Still, they conclude that adults can achieve satisfactory results from orthodontics.

What Factors Can Affect Orthodontic Results in Adults?

Patient adherence to orthodontic visits can affect the length of the treatment. That’s because orthodontic devices require regular adjustments. Otherwise, they will lose pressure, resulting in decreased forces against the teeth.

So, whether you get metal braces or Invisalign, it’s best to choose a local orthodontist. This way, you’ll have an easier time adhering to your orthodontic adjustment schedules. It also ensures you can visit the specialist immediately for emergencies.

Your orthodontist needs to re-tighten traditional braces at least once a month. Even if you choose removable aligners, you still need to visit the specialist once a month to get new trays.

It’s also important to see your orthodontist right away if a bracket detaches from a tooth. Your dentist needs to glue this back right away; otherwise, that tooth won’t move. This can affect the movement and alignment of the rest of the teeth.

The health and state of your gums can also affect your orthodontic treatment time. Gum disease, which affects almost half of adults in the US aged 30 or older, can hinder tooth movement. It can also affect the health of the mouth bones, ultimately causing bone loss.

If that happens, your braces or aligners may not have any teeth to move at all. So if you suspect you have a gum infection, be sure to say hello to your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Orthodontics for a Lifetime of Healthy Smiles

As you can see, orthodontics doesn’t have an age or time limit; you can get treatment even if you’re already in your 60s. Of course, the sooner you get your teeth and jaw aligned, the better, as this can help shorten the treatment time. So, as early as today, consider consulting a local orthodontist to find out your options.

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