Adult Braces

adult_braces_clearIf you are thinking of having orthodontic treatment as an adult, you may have some questions you would like answered first.

Why might I need orthodontic treatment?

Common reasons for having orthodontic treatment are:

  • To improve the appearance of the teeth and face.  Perhaps your teeth have become more crowded with age or have started to drift following gum disease.
  • To move teeth prior to crown or bridgework.
  • To improve the health of the teeth and gums.
  • To improve function (i.e. to make it easier to eat.

Is it always possible to have braces as an adult?

Age is not necessarily a limiting factor.  It more often depends on the type of bite you have, the position of your teeth and the condition of both your teeth and gums.  For instance, if you have active gum disease, it is important this is brought under control before having braces.

What type of braces are there?

There are two types of braces suitable for adults;

  1. Braces that are fixed to the teeth and cannot be removed for cleaning.  It is sometimes possible to have tooth coloured (ceramic) brackets on the upper front teeth.  These are less visible at a distance, although some of the wires are still likely to be slightly noticeable as seen here.  types of adult braces

    Ceramic brackets are generally more expensive than metal brackets.  They are not usually placed on lower teeth because they can lead to wear of the opposing upper teeth.

  2. Clear templates may also be used in specific cases and are not very noticeable at all.

How long will treatment take?

It usually takes 12-24 months but will vary according to how complex your case is.

If teeth need to be extracted, who will do this?

Your own dentist will usually do this.

Is it painful?

Having the braces fitted is not painful.  However, it is common to have slightly tender teeth for 3-5 days after the fitting and after each adjustment.

How often will I need an appointment?

Once your braces have been fitted, you will need regular appointments for them to be adjusted, about every 4-8 weeks.

Will I still need to see my dentist regularly?

Yes.  It will be important you still have 6 monthly check-ups with your dentist regularly during orthodontic treatment.  This is so that your teeth can be checked for decay and gums examined for signs of disease.

Will I need to wear another brace once my treatment is finished?

Once the active phase of your treatment has been finished, it will be necessary to have a period of retention.  The options available depend on your needs, but include;

upper and lower retainer


Clear templates as seen below.  A series of templates can be worn to gently move teeth into new aligned position.  This technology is only suitable to selected cases.




There are several options to be discussed depending on your needs. Your orthodontist will advise you of this.