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Adult Braces - The pros and cons of braces for Adults

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Dr Teresa Li
May 31, 2024

Considering adult braces?  Well, you’re not the only one.  Did you know that a whopping 55% of Australian adults are self-conscious about our teeth?

And that given a chance to change something about their appearance:

5% would change their ears

12% would change their eyes

16% would change their eyebrows

22% would change their nose

And 46% would change their teeth!*

*Survey of >1000 Australian 18 – 55 yr olds, ASO 2015

So, this being the case, then why aren’t more people treating themselves to a straighter, healthier grin?

Well, let's face it, wearing braces as an adult isn’t nearly as cool as it was when you were a kid.  We can think of a few responsibilities when we are ‘adulting’ where you may not want a face full of metal braces.

  • Work.  Speaking to clients and colleagues, or eek! Trying to give a presentation.
  • Socializing - dinner with friends might not be enjoyable if you’re worrying about food getting stuck in your braces.
  • Romantic moments - smooching your loved one might not be as nice as it once was

Below are the most common reasons people seek teeth straightening as an adult and why straight teeth are healthy teeth.

We will also discuss the 4 most popular treatments and best options for adult braces to straighten those pearly whites of yours, the pros, cons of each and as well as how much adult braces cost.

The 7 most common reasons for braces as an adult

1. Genetics.  You can blame your parents if your teeth are crooked or gappy as we may inherit our teeth from one parent but the size of our jaw from the other.   

However, you may notice that your teeth start to move as you get older.  There are a number of reasons for this.

2. Tooth loss

3. Grinding teeth 

4. Tooth wear

5. Bad oral habits such as thumb sucking as a child or biting your lip

6. Gum disease

Your teeth are actually very prone to movement and are mainly kept in place by your cheeks, lips and tongue and your other teeth.  Therefore if we experience any of the above, this could lead to your teeth moving as you age.

7. Relapse

Relapse is one of the most common reasons for adult orthodontics.  

These days after orthodontic treatment in kids most dentists will provide a fixed retainer on the back of their teeth to prevent relapse, but back in the day, this was not as common.  A removable retainer was provided and, most likely, not worn as often as it should have been.

The good news is that if you have already had orthodontic treatment then moving your teeth back into place as an adult is usually quite easy and quick.  

Who is adult orthodontic treatment suitable for?

Adult orthodontics can fix a number of issues including:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Underbite or overbite
  • Deep bite
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Gaps in your teeth

If you are considering cosmetic dentistry such as porcelain veneers to get that perfect celebrity smile, adult orthodontic treatment is often used prior to the procedure as a more conservative approach.

Straight teeth are healthy teeth

Many people are unaware that crooked teeth or a misaligned bite could be harmful to your health.  And not just for your oral health, there are many other health benefits that adult orthodontics can help with:

  • Psychological benefits - by boosting your self-confidence
  • Oral health benefits - It's easier to keep your teeth and gums clean when your teeth are straight reducing the risk of decay and gum disease
  • Getting a better sleep - A misaligned bite is often the cause of snoring
  • Reduce headaches - Grinding your teeth and a misaligned bite can cause headaches and jaw problems

So now we know what problems we can fix with adult braces and why we should - let's go to the how.  Below we have listed the 4 most popular teeth straightening options for adults.

Different types of braces for adults


Invisalign clear aligners

Invisalign is a tooth straightening system consisting of clear aligners that are designed to fit over your teeth and gradually straighten them over time.  They are practically invisible and removable to fit into your lifestyle.

The process for Invisalign

Your dentist will take detailed images and impressions of your teeth and put this information into special software that will ‘digitally’ move your teeth into position.  You will be able to see what the final result will look like and once you’ve approved we send the information to the company to manufacture your aligners.

After about 6 weeks we will provide you with a number of sets of aligners that you wear day and night and change about every two weeks.  The length of time it takes and the number of sets of aligners will vary depending on your individual situation and how much your teeth need to move.

Pros of Invisalign

Clear aligners are practically invisible and removable to fit into your lifestyle.  You can take them out whenever you like, for that special selfie or when you are out for dinner with friends.  

They are made out of a clear plastic mould that fits exactly over your teeth so they are also very comfortable and easy to get used to.

Because of the advanced technology, you also get to see what your teeth will look like before you even start your treatment.

Cons of Invisalign

Just because you can take them out, you still have to wear your clear aligners for about 22 hours a day, so you need to be diligent about this.  

Because they are removable there is a chance of misplacing the aligners.  This is not such a big deal as they can be reordered, but it may result in your treatment time being extended and possibly an extra cost.

Cost of Invisalign

From $5,000

This cost includes your aligners, personalised treatment plan and follow up appointments for the duration of the treatment.

Porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneers are a form of cosmetic dentistry where a thin layer of porcelain is placed over your natural tooth.  Veneers are a good option for those who want to improve the shape, size or colour of their teeth or if you want to straighten slightly crooked teeth.

Adult orthodontics is very commonly used in conjunction with porcelain veneers to give you that perfect Hollywood smile.

The process for porcelain veneers

When preparing for porcelain veneers, a thin layer of enamel is removed from the surface of your tooth.  A thin ‘veneer’ of porcelain is then placed over your natural tooth.  Our porcelain veneers are hand-crafted by a dental technician in a dental laboratory.  This process takes about two weeks in which time we will provide you with temporary veneers.

Pros of porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneers can correct quite a few issues, not just misaligned teeth.  They allow you to change the shape, colour and size of your teeth.  

Cons of porcelain veneers

If you need a lot of correction or are trying to correct a misaligned bite, then porcelain veneers are not recommended.  However, as mentioned they can be used in conjunction with adult orthodontics.

Cost of porcelain veneers

From $1,300 each for hand-crafted locally made porcelain veneers.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are metal braces that are placed on the back your teeth instead of the front.

The Process for lingual braces

Brackets are placed on the back of your teeth and tightened with a wire.  A visit to the orthodontist is normally required every couple of weeks to get the wire tightened.

Pros of lingual braces

Lingual braces are the only “true” invisible type of braces as they are on the back of your teeth so no-one will be able to see them.  In some extreme cases, clear braces or aligners can’t be used as too much movement is required.  In this case, lingual braces are a good option.

Cons of lingual braces

Because lingual braces are brackets and wire they may cut your tongue a bit, they also take a fair bit of getting used to.  They take longer to fit and are also generally more expensive.

Cost of lingual braces

From $8,000 to $10,000

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are a ‘clear’ version of metal braces.  The brackets are made out of ceramic and are therefore white or clear, so they blend in with the teeth.

Pros of ceramic braces

Because they work just like regular braces they can also be used when more aggressive movement is needed.  They do not stand out as much as metal braces.

Cons of ceramic braces

You will still have brackets on the front of your teeth.  They can be hard for your lips and tongue to get used to, may cut up your lips and cheeks a little bit and are still slightly visible.  They are usually slightly more expensive than metal braces.

Cost of ceramic braces

From $4,000 to $8,000

Now you are armed with all the information you need and with all of these amazing options why wouldn’t you treat yourself to a happier, healthier you!

At TL Dental in Port Macquarie dentist also offer:

To top this off - over half the population admits that they would smile more if they had a perfect smile.  Now, wouldn’t the world be a better place if people smiled more often?

Click here for your smile consultation today.

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