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Braces Overview Basics

Braces Overview Adjuncts

Braces for Kids/ Children/ Adolescents/ Teens


Alternatives to Braces

Braces for Adults

Oftentimes I hear, “I’m too old for braces”. All I can say to that, like many other things, is, “You’re never too old.”

My favorite story is an 84 year old patient who walked into my office a number of years ago and asked me for braces. Of course, I had to ask, “Why do you want braces?” This just goes to show that I fell victim to the same stereotype that we all make. Why would a person that age want braces? Her response was humbling. She told me that when she was young, they couldn’t afford braces and she always wanted straight teeth. Now that she could do something about it, she said she wanted to pass away with a nice smile. I’m glad I could help.

Interestingly enough, braces for adults offers many challenges we as orthodontists don’t face when dealing with a case in adolescence. More often than not, many adults have already had untoward changes in their bite (dentition – teeth). We see crowns (restorations), root canals, bridges, missing teeth, and all the other things that may occur over time in the adult mouth. Adult case, for this reason, are generally more involved and more complex than the average teen case.

Does this mean that adults are hopeless? Absolutely not! What it means instead is that an adult case will often involve other specialists such as the general dentist, a periodontist, an oral surgeon, and/or an endodontist in order to restore a healthy oral environment. With good communication, returning to a healthy aesthetic smile is quite possible. Orthodontics has had some major advancements in the past 30 years which have allowed us to do amazing things for our adult patients.


That would depend on what qualifies as a downside. Biology is biology and tooth movement is tooth movement. It will still happen. Due to the complexity of many adult cases, they do tend to have a longer treatment time and the teeth may seem to move slower than those of a growing child. Some movements are more difficult such as bite opening. Additionally, where we can modify growth to some extent in a child, we are restricted in the non growing adult. If there is a jaw discrepancy, it may mean the recommendation of jaw surgery to affect the growth that never happened as a teen. Expansion in the adult is also restricted because the result is generally some dental expansion without the true bony expansion we see in children when the midpalatal (roof of the mouth) suture is still open. On average, this fuses around the age of 15. Again, this can be surgically assisted to reopen the suture is a significant amount of expansion is needed in the adult patient. Because all cases are individual, Dr. Renick can review all the scenarios with you at your consult exam.

The best way to view adult braces is a short time investment to achieve a long term goal.

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