Orthodontics is not just for kids and teens! 1 in 5 patients in orthodontic treatment is an adult. There are many benefits to straightening your teeth and improving your jaw alignment that go beyond the renewed self-confidence you’ll have with a beautiful smile


Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to periodontal problems, tooth decay (cavities), irregular tooth wear, and possibly even TMJ pain. Orthodontic treatment for adults with Invisalign or traditional braces may improve the health of your teeth, gums and surrounding bone structure. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and may improve your overall oral health.



There are many ways adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment, including:


  • Creating a more aesthetically pleasing smile by ensuring teeth are aligned properly and any spaces are closed
  • Correcting relapse that has occurred after the previous orthodontic treatment caused by a lack of long term retainer wear
  • Increasing the health of the smile by improving the ability to brush and floss properly by correcting crowded, overlapped and misaligned teeth
  • Creating a stable bite that allows for more harmonious biting and chewing while also reducing excessive wear due to a bad bite
  • Address missing teeth or to close spaces between the teeth
  • Perform jaw surgery to fix discrepancy of the upper and lower jaws

More Adults Are Seeking Orthodontic Treatments

Braces Adults Austin Patient

Today, more adults than ever before are turning to orthodontics to get the smiles they’ve always wanted. There are many reasons why – some adults may not have been able to afford braces as a child and now have the income to correct their smiles, some find that their smiles have shifted slightly over the years, and some just realize the impact a straighter and healthier smile can have on their lives. No matter the reason, adult orthodontics is booming.


The good news for adults seeking orthodontic treatment today is that braces have come a long way over the years. No longer do metal brackets have to be wrapped around each tooth, giving true meaning to the phrase “metal-mouth.” Today’s metal braces are sleeker and more comfortable than ever. But if you are looking for a more aesthetically pleasing way to straighten your smile, don’t worry – the options are seemingly endless. Dr. Silvana Gonzalez with Pure Smiles Orthodontics explains everything you need to know about adult braces and orthodontic treatment for adults.

Adult Orthodontics F.A.Q

Why are more adults turning to orthodontics?

There are many reasons, like those discussed above, that can cause someone to think about orthodontic treatment. But one important reason is that crooked, crowded and misaligned teeth are bad for your oral health. They are harder to keep clean, which can lead to increased risk of decay and gum disease. A misaligned bite puts abnormal pressure on your teeth, which can lead to cracking, chipping and breaking. It can even lead to jaw pain, ear pain and headaches. Orthodontic treatment can not only give you a beautiful smile, it can give you one that works properly, too, so your mouth will be healthier.

Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?

The good news is, you’re never too old to get the smile you’ve always wanted! Orthodontic treatment can correct your bite at any time. However, it may be more involved if you’re an adult because you won’t have the benefit of a jaw that is still growing to aid in tooth movement.

What are my options for braces?

Today, there are more options than ever before for straightening your smile. Standard metal braces are still the most popular, but you can also choose from self-ligating braces, clear and ceramic braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign.


Standard metal braces – Metal braces are still the most commonly used in orthodontics for one reason – they are the most reliable. If you are worried about the aesthetics, today’s metal braces aren’t like those of the past. They are smaller and sleeker than ever before. They are also more comfortable, and many use heat-activated archwires that use your body’s own heat to help guide the teeth to their new locations. Metal braces are also the most cost-effective.


Clear and ceramic braces – If you want the durability of metal braces, but not the look, clear and ceramic braces are a great option. They use brackets that will blend in with your natural smile, so you won’t have the metal mouth look. Many can also use tooth colored archwires to make them even more discrete.


Self-ligating brackets – These braces look similar to standard metal braces, but these are “tie-less.” That means there is no elastic holding the archwire to the brackets. This allows for less friction and more comfort during the tooth moving process.


Invisalign – Invisalign is the clear, comfortable way to straighten your smile, without impacting your everyday routines. Invisalign consists of a series of clear, removable aligners that are changed out every two weeks. Because the aligners are invisible, no one will even know you are wearing them. And because they are removable, you don’t have to alter your diet or oral care routine.

What should I do after I decide I’d like to pursue orthodontic treatment?

The first thing you should do is find a qualified orthodontist in your area. This will ensure you are receiving the highest level of orthodontic care available. At your appointment, the orthodontist will perform an exam that will include taking X-rays, photos and impressions of your teeth. From there, the orthodontist will form a diagnosis and craft an individualized treatment plan designed to meet your specific needs.

What should I look for when choosing an adult orthodontist?

The first thing is to find an orthodontist who is committed to providing the highest level of care possible. Look for one who is top rated and highly reviewed, as this signifies a commitment to excellence. From there, you’ll want to think about the things that are important to you – office comfort and convenience; office hours; financials, such as payment plans, financing and insurance; treatments offered. But beyond that, you should also look at the types of treatments and equipment the orthodontist uses. Does the orthodontist craft individualized treatment plans, or is treatment one size fits all? Does the office utilize the latest technology and embrace the latest treatment options?

I’ve heard that if you get orthodontic treatment as an adult, you’ll have to have permanent teeth pulled or have jaw surgery. Is that true?

The answer to that is sometimes. Not everyone who seeks orthodontic treatment as an adult will need healthy permanent teeth removed or require jaw surgery, but some could. The reason why we recommend children see an orthodontist by the age of seven is that their jaws are still growing. We can guide the growth of the jaw during treatment to give us the best possible outcome. This isn’t possible in adults, so depending on the severity of your malocclusion, you may require more intensive work, such as jaw surgery or having a tooth or two pulled. If your orthodontist recommends this, be sure that you get a complete explanation so that you understand how this treatment fits into the overall plan for your smile.

If I consult more than one orthodontist, is it possible to get different treatment plans?

Yes, it is possible, and for a few different reasons. Some orthodontists use the same type of treatment, no matter what the malocclusion may be. Some simply don’t offer certain treatments in their offices. When your orthodontist recommends a treatment plan, it is always a good idea to ask why that treatment was recommended and ask to see results from real patients. If an orthodontist tells you he or she always uses one certain treatment, no matter the patient and malocclusion, you may want to seek a second opinion. Additionally, if you find that the orthodontist does not offer thorough information or is not willing to answer your questions or address your concerns, you may want to consider looking for a different orthodontist. Every patient is different, every malocclusion is different, so we have to carefully craft treatment plans that take that into account. But it is just as important that we discuss our treatment plans and what patients should expect with them.

Isn’t orthodontic treatment expensive?

We hear this often, but if you look at the cost of orthodontic treatment historically, it is one of the most budget friendly things out there – the cost of braces today isn’t too far off from what it was 40 years ago. And when you take into account all that can happen when your smile isn’t straight and your bite is misaligned, you may realize that investing in your smile today may save you a host of dental expenses in the future. If you find yourself in your dentist’s office frequently because of chipped teeth, cavities or gum disease, you may want to consult a dentist on how orthodontic treatment can improve your oral health.

How can I pay for orthodontic treatment?

There are many options available to pay for your treatment. If you can pay the entire cost upfront, many orthodontic offices offer a discount on the cost. If you have dental insurance, be sure to check your benefits because orthodontic treatment may be covered. Orthodontists never want to see anyone have to choose between their budgets and a healthy smile, so offices will offer convenient financing and payment plans that can fit into any budget.

My dentist said he can do orthodontic treatment.

That seems convenient so I don’t have to go to two places – do I really need an orthodontist? Orthodontic treatment should only be provided by an orthodontist. While every orthodontist is also a dentist, not every dentist is an orthodontist – and that’s a big distinction. After completing dental school, an orthodontist goes on to spend additional years dedicated to further schooling and clinical experience to learn everything there is to know about moving teeth and everything that entails. Orthodontics is much more than just providing a straight, pretty smile – it involves understanding the intricacies of the entire mouth and facial structure to ensure they work in harmony together to provide a stable, healthy bite that is also beautiful.

How will orthodontic treatment change my life?

Orthodontic treatment will put you on the path to a healthier, more beautiful smile. Researchers have continued to show the importance of smiling – did you know that smiling, even when it starts off as a fake smile, can actually make us healthier and happier? But, while you are on the path to a healthier, happier life, there are some things you’ll need to be aware of.

  • Depending on the type of orthodontic treatment you choose, you may need to make some adjustments to your diet. For anything other than Invisalign, you’ll want to avoid hard, sticky or chewy foods so you don’t damage the brackets and wires. Invisalign doesn’t require any changes to your diet, because the aligners are removed before every meal and snack. To ensure your treatment stays on track, each set of aligners must be worn a minimum of 22 hours per day.
  • Your toothbrush will become your best friend. Oral hygiene will be more important than ever. Braces with brackets and wires provide a lot of nooks and crannies for food particles to become trapped, so you’ll want to brush after every meal and snack. And if you opt for Invisalign, you’ll want to brush after eating to ensure you don’t trap food particles between your aligners and your teeth.
  • If you are an athlete, you’ll want to invest in a good mouthguard to avoid any injury to your mouth. While we often think of only contact sports requiring mouthguards, you should wear a mouthguard for any sport or activity that could result in a mouth injury.
  • You’ll need to maintain all of your visits with your orthodontist to ensure your treatment is progressing as it should. Your orthodontist will work with you to find appointment times that are as convenient as possible for you. These are important to make sure your smile is shaping up the way it should.
  • It may take you a bit of time to get used to the braces. Depending on the type of braces you choose, you may notice your speech is slightly impacted in the beginning. This is especially true for lingual braces and Invisalign. Your tongue needs to touch your teeth for certain sounds, so you may want to practice speaking in a mirror to get used to your appliance. You may also experience some pain and discomfort in the beginning. Introducing braces to your mouth will take some getting used to, but in no time, it will be like they were always there.
What happens when my braces come off?

You’ll want to show your beautifully straight smile to everyone you see! But, just because your braces are off doesn’t mean your work is done. To ensure that smile stays, you’ll need to wear a retainer. We’ve treated many adult patients who had braces as a teen, but didn’t wear their retainers and now realize their smiles shifted. Because the ligaments and tissues of your mouth tend to be elastic, the retainer is needed to ensure everything stabilizes and the teeth remain in their new locations. In the beginning you’ll need to wear the retainer around the clock, but eventually you can go to wearing it only at night.