Skip to content

Does Orthodontic Treatment Take Longer As An Adult?

Compared to children, your timeline for orthodontic treatment may be longer. Adult teeth are more firmly set in the jaw than younger candidates. It takes more time and pressure to move teeth to their desired position. 

Does Insurance Cover Adult Orthodontics?

Some dental insurance plans offer an annual or lifetime maximum benefit for adult orthodontics. Unfortunately, most dental plans do not provide coverage. However, in some cases, orthodontics can be a medical necessity. If referred by your dentist because of a medical issue, you should attempt to verify coverage with your medical healthcare insurance provider. If you plan to get orthodontic treatment, contributing to an HSA or FSA account can help finance your treatment. 

I see ads for perfect teeth in only one or two visits to the dentist. Will that give me straight teeth?

The ads may have been for veneers, which are thin, tooth-colored shells that are glued to the fronts of teeth. But they do not alter an improper arrangement of teeth – they just cover up the problem. Veneers are easier to place and last longer when teeth are straight, and the bite has been corrected.

Am I too old for braces?

Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Currently one in four orthodontic patients is an adult. As people live longer and healthier lives, patients in their 60s, 70s and 80s are experiencing the benefits of orthodontic treatment.

I have crowns. Can my teeth be moved?

Yes. Teeth with crowns can be moved.

Is it a good idea to have my teeth pulled and get dentures?

If you are a young or middle-aged adult, this is not a good idea. Today’s 25-year-old has the potential of another 75 years of keeping and using their teeth. Orthodontic treatment is often part of a comprehensive dental healthcare plan. With good care, including orthodontic treatment when necessary, teeth can last a lifetime.

Can I do my own aligner treatment at home?

If moving teeth is done incorrectly, or if there’s a problem that you aren’t aware of, you may be putting your teeth, gums and the bone around the teeth at risk of potentially irreversible damage. Orthodontic treatment is a complex biological process. That’s why it takes so many years of education to become an orthodontist. Exercise due diligence. Review this page, and before making any decision about orthodontic treatment, consider having an in-person consultation with an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Use the Find an Orthodontist service to locate AAO members near you. Many times the consultation is at no charge.

Can I get orthodontic treatment if I’m missing teeth?

Depending on what is missing, your orthodontist may choose to move neighboring teeth together to close the space where the tooth is missing or hold open a space for a bridge or implant. Your orthodontist will work with your family dentist and/or other dental specialists.

Can orthodontic treatment help me keep my teeth?

Teeth and jaws that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean through brushing and flossing. Correcting the bite (how the upper and lower teeth fit together) reduces improper forces placed on the teeth and improves your ability to bite and chew and improves the odds of keeping your teeth long-term.

What kinds of orthodontic problems do adults have?

Adults can have the same kinds of orthodontic problems that children and teens have – crowding or too much space between teeth; overbites or underbites. Front teeth may stick out. In the case of an open bite, the front teeth may not make contact when the back teeth touch, or vice versa. Poorly aligned teeth and jaws can, over time, result in abnormal wearing of tooth surfaces. Your orthodontist is in the best position to recommend the type of appliance for your unique treatment needs. Not every type of appliance is suitable for correcting every kind of orthodontic problem. Your AAO orthodontist is qualified to ensure you receive the personalized treatment that is best for you.