Adults Orthodontics: braces treatment options for adult

Adults Orthodontics: braces treatment options for adults patients

Orthodontics is possible at any age. Today, over 25% of orthodontic patients are adults. The advent of cosmetic braces that are less bulky, Invisalign® clear aligners, and the new generation of lingual “invisible” iBraces® make treatment more accessible than ever. Adult orthodontic corrections can have a dramatic effect on your appearance and your self-esteem, not to mention improving your dental health and function.

Many orthodontic problems can be treated as easily in adults as in younger patients. Some additional risks may sometimes be associated with adult treatment but, in most cases, excellent results can still be obtained.

Adults have no more growth so, if an imbalance exists between the size of the jaws, surgery of either jaw (or both) may be indicated to obtain a good relationship between the upper and lower dentition.

In certain cases, a “compromise” or limited treatment designed simply to correct some aspects of malocclusion may be considered while allowing a significant improvement in function and esthetics.

“At my age, is it worth it?”
Today, adults can expect to keep their teeth for a lifetime. The time when people expected to “lose their teeth when they were old” is over. Advances in modern dentistry and access to quality dental care now allow virtually all those who wish to have a functional and esthetic dentition throughout their lives to obtain it. Orthodontics is often one way to reach these goals.

The possibility for an adult to undergo an orthodontic treatment depends more on his/her dental and general health than his/her chronological “age” per se.

Adult orthodontic treatment Vs Child & Adolescent Orthodontics

If the health of your teeth, gums, and bone that support your teeth is good, the orthodontic movement of teeth is virtually identical in adults and in younger patients. Certain differences in some adults may exist:

A fundamental difference between adults and children or teenagers is the absence of growth. When a significant skeletal imbalance between the jaws is present, it may be necessary to undergo surgery on one or both jaws to obtain an adequate balance between the jaws.

In younger patients, growth potential may be used to correct a skeletal imbalance, just like when one jaw is too advanced or too far back compared to the other one, for instance. Adults suffer from more problems affecting the bone and gums around teeth (periodontal diseases) than teenagers.

They sometimes have root canal treatments, broken, restored, or missing teeth, dental implants, or other forms of prostheses (crowns, bridges, partial dentures), which can modify tooth movement that can be done and the orthodontic mechanics that can be used.

Nonetheless, the orthodontic treatment of such cases is possible but requires a particular approach and particular treatment plans.

Adults frequently have a “mutilated”(crooked) dentition caused by the extraction or the loss of certain teeth, they have teeth that are more worn out and sometimes damaged, teeth that are tipped or have migrated (see pictures for examples) and suffer from more problems affecting the bone and the gingiva around the teeth (periodontium), etc.

These conditions may lead to more complex treatments and it is often necessary to work in collaboration with the general dentist and other dental specialists to establish the best treatment plan with solutions coming from the different fields of modern dentistry.

The Damon® technique and protocols are particularly suited for this type of treatment. The very slight forces, the easy maintenance, and cleaning of the appliances, the minimized level of discomfort, the frequency of visits, and a shorter duration of treatment for certain types of cases compared to the conventional approaches make this technique ideal for treatments in adults.

The use of new anchorage mini-implants also opens new horizons in adult treatments by allowing us to offer options of treatment that were hard to envision only a few years ago.

So, if you are healthy, if you have healthy teeth and periodontium (support tissues of teeth: bone and gum), there should not be any contraindications to envision an orthodontic treatment. Consulting a specialist certified in orthodontics (orthodontist) could confirm it quickly.

For many reasons, adults often ask questions on the possibility to have a “compromise” treatment aiming at making a few corrections that are more “limited” compared to a “overall approach”.

Ideally, it is often indicated to make “overall” corrections or perform a “complete” treatment aiming at maximizing esthetic and functional benefits and promoting better stability of the corrections obtained. However, in certain types of cases, offering “alternative” treatment plans may be possible and constitute some compromise compared to what would be considered an ideal approach.

For instance, this may be the case when a patient whose growth is finished (adult) shows a significant imbalance between the jaws and, for various reasons, does not want to or cannot undergo a surgical procedure that would be necessary to re-establish the balance between his/her jaws. In such a case, orthodontics can improve several esthetic and functional aspects of the dentition without correcting the position of the jaws of certain irregularities in the interdigitation of upper teeth with the lower ones.

Limited corrections often have the objective of improving esthetics without nonetheless changing the function of the dentition that may be problematic.

A patient’s perception of his/her dental problem may be quite different from the one an orthodontist may have since he/she evaluates the dentition and the bite as a whole. For instance, someone may wish to only correct “one or two crooked” or prominent teeth.

In reality, the malposition of these few teeth is due to a generalized lack of space that would require moving other teeth, which would affect the rest of the bite. Therefore, an evaluation must be done to determine if the negative side effects of limited corrections are more significant than the benefits to the whole dentition.

Here are a few examples of orthodontic corrections that may be limited to certain parts of the dentition only.

Closing of spaces between a few anterior teeth;

Closing of a posterior space to avoid having to install an implant or a bridge where a missing or extracted tooth is located;

Uprighting of tipped teeth to get ready to install a bridge or an implant (see farther down the page);
Correction of simple rotations on anterior teeth (rotated teeth);
Move a damaged tooth to allow the dentist to better restore it;

Corrections of a few teeth to get ready for the installation of a partial prosthesis by the dentist;
Correct anterior teeth only, sometimes to one arch only (upper or lower), but this approach is not always possible.

Orthodontics and dental appliances for adults

Between the ages of 20 and 70, braces for adults allow the placement of teeth to be readjusted. Whether it is to find comfort during chewing or a smile with well-aligned teeth, orthodontic treatments for adults offer very satisfactory results. There are different types of devices to suit the patient's needs, but also their appearance requirements.

Softer and more efficient resin alloys are used for dental appliances in adults. They have the advantage of being both better tolerated and more discreet, even invisible for Aesthetics.

What are the different orthodontic appliances for adults?

In adult orthodontics in adults different kinds of devices are used that meet specific needs.

Fixed braces
Conventional adult braces are attached with transparent or metal orthodontic brackets , depending on the patient's aesthetic requirements. With the first material, the device is imperceptible to the eyes of others in order to preserve the aesthetic appearance during the duration of the treatment.

This type of appliance is generally called a “  fixed appliance  ”, since it is not intended to be removed at night or during meals, which makes the teeth move faster. It is made up of small pieces commonly called "brackets" which are temporarily glued to the teeth and which are connected by a wire.

The latter can be made with different diameters,but also in various alloys , as required. It is often “  thermosensitive  ”, meaning that the heat inside the mouth will push it to regain its initial shape. It will then exert a force on the teeth and make them take the desired shape.

Fixed devices can be made with ceramic brackets and with white wires for more discretion.

The so-called "invisible" technique
The invisible dental appliance for adults and adolescents is an orthodontic treatment that preserves the aesthetics of the smile and several essential characteristics:

It uses digital imaging technology to make custom retainers in transparent plastic.

Apart from eating and brushing teeth, these aligners are worn continuously for 2 weeks each. You must therefore make sure to wear them 22 hours a day , thus implying to wear them during your sleep.

As the treatment progresses, your dentist replaces the mouthpiece you are wearing with another model with a slightly different shape. The teeth move little by little to adopt the desired final position.

This is a type of device that is suitable for the rapid movement of teeth. In the context of a larger displacement, brackets may be recommended, even if the retainer has the advantage of being less invasive and of not irritating the oral walls.

Lingual orthodontics
Benefiting from a strong technological evolution in recent years, this treatment is based on computer-aided design and makes it possible to treat any type of malposition. It can be used at any age, like the classic solution, provided you have healthy teeth.

A totally invisible appliance is glued to the internal face of the teeth using clips. Brackets can be made of metal (alloy of nickel, chromium and cobalt or gold) and ceramic.

The teeth are connected to each other by specially shaped arche wires. This is a generally more expensive treatment, as it requires greater precision and greater preparation than with conventional devices. Indeed, the lingual braces are permanently subjected to the pressure of the tongue and must be placed so as not to inconvenience the patient.

They are also in direct contact with food. The lingual appliance therefore requires the patient to be very rigorous in his oral hygiene and encourages him to respect the usual dietary precautions.

During the first weeks, the wearer of the device may experience discomfort and have difficulty speaking. lingual orthodontic treatment requires time to adapt.

Assistive Devices
A number of orthodontic aids that are common in children and adolescents are barely used in adults. However, there is often a clinical need to connect other (specific for the treatment of adults) assistive devices.

Temporary implants are used as additional supports (when the teeth remaining in the jaw are not enough for reliable support required for corpus movement of teeth)

Plates with occlusal overlays are important for the treatment of diseases of the temporomandibular joint
Bite braces are sometimes the only way to correct deep bite

Price of dental braces for adults

Starting treatment as an adult has many advantages. However, we must also take into account the overall cost that this represents. An adult orthodontic treatment cost vary greatly. This price will depend in particular on the type of brackets used, but also on the care that accompanies it and on the practitioner you choose.

To find out the price of your adult orthodontic treatment, you should therefore request a quote from your experienced orthodontic practitioner. However, it is possible to give you a range of average prices for different types of adult orthodontic braces.

Price of conventional braces

The classic dental braces, that is to say, the metal brackets which are fixed on the visible face of your teeth remains the least expensive. Prices are on average around 3000 to 6000 USD depnding the range of adult orthodontic problems to be treated. This is the same type of braces that is used for the treatment of pediatric and adolescent patients.

Price of an invisible adult orthodontics

The invisible braces for adult will have a higher Cost than conventional braces. The invisible braces are in the form of retainers, also called aligners. These retainers can be removed as soon as necessary and can be worn with the minimum visibility. Perfectly adapted to your teeth, they allow effective treatment while being the least annoying and the most comfortable for your daily life.

Depending on manufacture and the treatment that goes these invisible adult braces have a higher overall cost. For a treatment using invisible braces, you need a budget that will revolve around 6000 USD.

Price of a lingual braces

The lingual braces are also invisible because it is placed at the back of your teeth. They also have highest cost like other invisible adult braces. A lingual braces requires more extensive and more regular care from your experienced orthodontic practitioner, which also means more frequent visits, and in some cases longer treatment. For a lingual orthodontic treatment, it will therefore be necessary to count on a budget that can vary between 8000 and 10000 USD.


The most important thing is the good health of your teeth, and the fact of choosing the type of treatment that will best suit your specific case. However, the price of adult braces, invisible or not, and the treatment that goes with it, is something that must be taken into consideration.

This represents a significant budget. Your experienced orthodontic practitioner will be able to offer you payment facilities for financing your treatment.

In addition, social security, unfortunately, does not cover dental braces for adults. It will therefore also be necessary to consider taking stock of your complementary health insurance because some of insurance companies offer the payment of a more or less significant part of the costs incurred of orthodontic treatment for adults.

Adult orthodontics: 4 good reasons to take the plunge!

Some people are still reluctant to take the plunge and wear adult braces. It is indeed a treatment that can be long, which represents a budget that must be taken into account, and which can seem restrictive on a daily basis. Those who hesitate often still have their teenage experiences in mind.

However, orthodontic treatments for adults are totally different in many ways. Here are 4 reasons why you should no longer hesitate to consult your experienced orthodontic practitioner.

Adult dental braces - Appropriate equipment

The adult braces are totally different from those for adolescents. They are specially designed to be adapted to the needs of adult patients, particularly in terms of discretion and comfort.

You can thus opt for a lingual appliance, where the bands are placed on the internal face of the teeth instead of the external face, or for invisible aligners type Invisalign, which are completely transparent aligners.

Each of these techniques has different characteristics and advantages; your practitioner experienced in orthodontics will be able to advise you which one will best suit your case, depending on the state of your teeth and the positioning defects that will need to be corrected.

Adult Braces - An Effective Treatment

Some people hesitate because they have already undergone orthodontic treatment as a teenager and it has proved ineffective. The manufacture of adult braces requires advanced technology and the use of high-quality materials, patented specifically for use in orthodontics.

Add to this the expertise of your experienced orthodontic practitioner, who will be able to administer the most suitable treatment, in other words, to have optimal use of adult dental appliances in order to obtain excellent results.

Adult braces - A lasting result

What is the point of having an effective treatment if your teeth regain their initial position after a few months or a few years? First of all, know that your teeth are required to move throughout your life, depending on several factors (tongue movements, growth, aging, etc.).

However, again, orthodontic treatments for adults have made great strides in recent years. After wearing your adult braces to align your teeth, a stabilization and retention phase will come in order to stabilize the results obtained and avoid future unwanted displacements. These results can last for decades!

Adult braces - A manageable budget

The orthodontic treatment for adults takes several months and involves a budget often reaching four digits. It is a large budget which can also contribute to making some people hesitate to "take the plunge". However, there are several solutions to find a radiant smile while controlling your expenses.

Complementary health insurance can in particular cover part of the cost of your treatment. In addition, your experienced orthodontic practitioner will be able to offer you payment facilities, by staggering these payments with monthly installments adapted to your finances. For more information on this subject, do not hesitate to contact us.


Den Tim

Practicing Dentistry for 20 years