Braces aren’t just for kids; they’re for adults, too. And while you may have never pictured yourself with a “metal mouth” at this age, it is becoming more common for adults to get braces—and they’re not always the metal type either. Nearly 1 million Americans over 18 years of age visit an orthodontist and wear braces, so you definitely won’t be alone.
Reasons Adults Get Braces
With so many American adults getting braces, you have to wonder why they didn’t get them when they were kids. Why now? There are a couple of reasons why an adult might get braces (one of which may be why you’re considering them):
1. Never treated problems as a kid. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to treat the problems when they’re young. Because of that, those problems have remained or have worsened. These problems could include:
- Crooked or crowded teeth
- Overbites, under-bites or cross-bites
- Incorrect jaw position or jaw joint disorder
Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to get braces to finally correct the problem. Not correcting it could lead to:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Headaches and earaches
- Problems speaking and chewing
2. Parents couldn’t afford it. For some people, getting braces as an adult is primarily a financial one. Their parents couldn’t afford it when they were young so now that they’re older and financially independent, they can now afford the procedure.
3. More conscious of problems. It’s also highly common for adults to become more self-conscious of their smile as they age and more aware that they need the work done.
Is Treatment Any Different When You’re Older?
The most significant difference between getting braces when you’re older compared to getting braces when you’re young is time. Treatment can take longer for adults than it does for children. Children’s teeth are more easily moved when they’re given braces. They may only need to wear a retainer to get straight teeth, whereas an adult will need to wear braces for 18 months to three years to receive the desired results.
Speak to your dentist about how long treatment might take—everyone is different.
How Much Do Adult Braces Cost?
On average, braces cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 without dental insurance, depending on the type of braces you get. Here are the four types of braces and their corresponding prices:
- Traditional Metal Braces: $4,000 to $7,000
- Ceramic Braces: $4,000 to $8,000
- Lingual Braces: $6,000 to $10,000
- Invisalign: $4,000 to $7,500
How Can I Pay for Them?
Unlike those individuals who are in a financial state where they can afford braces, many people are not. So how can you pay for such a treatment? Here are a few places to start:
- Dental Insurance. See if your dental insurance plan covers the cost of braces. Ordinarily, most health plans will not pay for orthodontic treatment for people over 18 years old. If it does though, make an appointment with your dentist and get started with the treatment process.
- Discount Dental Plans. Many people do not have dental insurance, or if they do it won’t cover the cost of braces. And even if it does cover part of the cost of braces, you may reach your maximum before the treatment is done. If you find yourself in any of these situations, consider getting a discount dental plan. These plans can save you a significant amount on your braces.
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA). If you have a Flexible Spending Account, use it to help you pay for your braces.
- Try Different Orthodontists. Prices at the orthodontist may vary, depending on where you live and upon the orthodontist’s discretion, so try out a few different ones so you can find one that offers the work at a more affordable price and is willing to work with you on a payment plan.
- Payment Plans. Dentists and orthodontists will often work with you on a payment schedule so you don’t have to pay for the entire work in full but can space it out to make it more manageable for you.
To find out more, request an evaluation from your dentist or an orthodontist to discuss treatment options and cost.