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  • Can adults wear braces? The answer is YES!

Can adults wear braces? The answer is YES!

Braces aren't just for teenagers — it’s never too late to improve your dental health and beautify your smile. About 1 million Americans over the age of 18 wear braces. Your general dentist can help you determine if orthodontic treatment is the right option for you. Your general dentist may even be able to treat your orthodontic problems. You can also request an evaluation and receive treatment from an orthodontist, a specialist in diagnosing, preventing and treating improper alignment of the teeth.

Why would adults need braces?

Some adults never received orthodontic treatment as children to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites and underbites, incorrect jaw position or jaw joint disorders. Left untreated, these problems may result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.

Is orthodontic treatment different for adults?

Braces can provide adults the same benefits children receive. However, treatment may take longer than it does for children. The average adult wears braces for 18 months to three years. As with children, adults may need to wear a retainer to maintain the results of treatment after braces are removed.

How much do braces cost?

The cost of braces depends on the type you select. On average, metal braces cost $5,000 to $6,000. Keep in mind that your out-of-pocket costs will likely be higher if you choose non-metal braces. Check your TRDP benefits booklet under the Enhanced plan description for all the information you need for orthodontic treatment for adults. You should also ask your dentist to submit a pre-treatment estimate (also called a predetermination) to Delta Dental so you can find out in advance what your out-of-pocket costs will be.

How can I find out if I need braces?

Consult with your dentist and ask for an evaluation. Depending on the complexity of your case and whether or not your dentist performs orthodontic work, he or she may choose to treat you or refer you to an orthodontist.

The initial consultation provides an opportunity to ask questions about orthodontic treatment:

  • What are the costs involved?
  • How will the braces correct my problem?
  • How long will I need to wear braces?
  • What is the dentist’s experience with my particular problem?
  • Will I be able to schedule appointments at convenient times?

What types of braces are available?

Braces are custom-made appliances that use applied pressure to straighten your teeth and correct your bite. While some practitioners still favor metal braces as the most reliable, new materials and other technological advances have made smaller, less noticeable braces available. Instead of metal, you may be able to wear clear or tooth-colored ceramic braces or removable invisible aligners.

Types of braces1

Metal braces
Made of high-grade stainless steel and attached to the front of teeth, are the most common.
Clear ceramic braces
Worn on the front of the teeth just like traditional steel braces. Unlike metal braces, they blend with the color of the teeth for a much less noticeable appearance. They may look better, but they may break more easily than metal braces.
Lingual (or concealed) braces
Brackets that attach to the back of teeth, so they are hidden from view.
“Invisible” braces
A series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. Not only are these braces less visible, but they also are removable so they won’t trap food and plaque between your teeth like metal braces. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks and only removed for eating, brushing and flossing. This may be an option for individuals with mild spacing problems.

Need help? Finding a dentist has never been easier. Look for a TRDP network dentist and save on your out-of-pocket costs.

1 Note: All types of braces may not be covered in your dental plan. If you choose a cosmetic alternative to the covered orthodontic appliances, you may receive an allowance towards the cost of the treatment, but you will be responsible for paying the difference. You should ask your dentist to submit a pre-treatment estimate (also called a predetermination) to your dental plan so you can find out in advance what appliances are covered and what your out-of-pocket costs will be.

Source: Can adults wear braces? Academy of General Dentistry.

Last updated September 2017

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