Adult Braces - Would You?

Updated on May 21, 2018
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
20 answers

With the recent spate of odd dental questions, I figured I'd add one of my own. One that folks can actually answer without having a degree in dentistry :)

Our dental insurance offers orthodontia, but for the last 20 years, only covered kids 18 and younger. This year, they are opening it up to adults. I always swore that if I had coverage, I'd take the leap and get braces. Now that I actually HAVE (well, will have shortly) coverage, I'm starting to rethink my decision because I am a big baby about dentists, pain, spending time at a dental office . . .

So, for those of you who did adult braces, are you glad? Feel like it was worth your time and money? Wish you would have said no thanks? Coverage isn't complete, so I'd still be spending some money. Distance is an issue, but only for some appointments as they travel to our town for just the adjustments, but anything big I have to drive an hour each way for. My teeth aren't a total mess and based on a quick eval I had a few years ago during one of my other kids' ortho appointment, it was noted that I'd have braces for less than 18 months and probably only on the top.


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answers from Washington DC on

I’m not a dentist, but I play one on TV! Just kidding!
I did Invisalign two years go. I’d had braces as a kid and had some shifting that I wanted fixed for a whole lot of reasons. I did exactly as the orthodontist told me and wore my retainers almost every minute of the day. I was done in less than a year. I wear my retainers at night - almost every night - even when I travel. If you do what you’re told, you’ll have excellent results. FYI: I have no gum issues.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

If you do something that improves you, how you feel about yourself, and your health.... why not.

I had braces from age 28-30, the old fashioned kind that hurt, poked my mouth, was uncomfortable and I'd do it again if needed. It was worth my time and we did not have dental coverage.

At the time, I lost a good bit of weight that I didn't need to lose after the initial work and monthly tightening. Some people might consider that a plus but for me, I looked way too skinny.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

No i would not. I had them for 2 years as a teen and had a wire cemented to my teeth (basically a permanent retainer) for 3 more years. As soon as it was removed, my teeth shifted back and went crooked again. So in my experience, unless im willing to wear a retainer for the rest of my life (and im not) its pointless. You know yourself, so you can decide realistically if you will diligently wear your retainers or if you will be a slacker in this regard (like me) after the braces are off.

I think its totally different and makes more sense for kids now because they do orthodontia to shape the jaw as its growing, not after the bones are set like they did when i eas a kid, which clearly didnt work.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I did. I JUST got them off last Saturday, just in time for mother’s day.

I had braces for two years in high school. My orthodontist put permanent retainers (they are behind the teeth, not in front like braces so you can’t see) on both the upper and lower teeth so I didn’t wear my clear Invisalign-type retainer.

Fast forward 2 decades and the wires for the permanent retainers broke. When I went back to my orthodontist to get them replaced, he told me that my teeth had moved and that there are gaps between some of my teeth. He said the retreatment would take about 6 months so I decided to go for it. I asked about Invisalign, but he said it only works for some people so he wouldn’t recommend it.

My insurance covered a portion and the rest came from my flexible savings account. The total cost before insurance coverage was over $2,000, but that included x-rays, permanent retainers on top and bottom, and the Invisalign retainer.

It was a complete pain, though. I didn’t remember braces being so uncomfortable when I had them as a teen. I lost some weight after every tightening because I couldn’t eat.

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answers from Boston on

If I didn't love my smile, then yes! I needed a crown on a front tooth for several years (I had had a root canal and the tooth was getting darker and darker over time). When I finally had it done, I realized that I hadn't freely smiled in photos in years and had made a habit out of not showing too much of my teeth in person. I love having a smile that gives me confidence now.

I've actually considered having an ortho consult to see if my jaw can be realigned. I had reduction to correct an under bite in high school but my teeth still don't meet correctly and my bottom jaw settles a little off-center unless I consciously move to the left when I bite down. It makes my face slightly asymmetrical in photos. If if can be corrected without surgery, I may very well invest in another round of ortho for myself.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I did braces when i was 40. No one told me that braces as an adult can greatly degrade your gums from the manipulation. Since getting my braces off I’ve had three different areas of gum grafting done due to severe recession. I’m sure that doesn’t happen to everyone but had I known I would have said no way. Hope this helps.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Straight teeth are easy to care for and keep clean.
It's totally worth it.
Depending on what you need done - you might not have to have much hardware in your mouth.
You might be eligible for something like Invisalign - which is like wearing a clear plastic retainer all the time.
Once your teeth are in the desired position you'll probably have to wear a retainer at night to keep them there.
18 months is not long.
I think you'll be happy getting this done.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

My husband did it for himself and he was in his late thirties. Insurance covered a lot but there was also a lot out of pocket. It was brutal to observe from the sidelines because his teeth were an absolute mess. The two year plan morphed into four years. The constant pain, the headaches, the list of things he couldn't eat, teeth removal to fit all the remaining teeth better, the wires poking into his mouth all over, the wires breaking, the brackets popping off, etc. yet he rarely if ever complained. His only steady complaint was feeling like an overgrown teenager and having people stare at his braces, probably because of his age. I asked him once if he would do it again, and without hesitation he said yes, best thing he did for himself and his confidence. I will say his biggest issue has been consistently using his retainer post braces. Good luck whatever you decide.

P.S. His smile looks awesome now. Not perfect but drastically improved. Plus most importantly he is so clearly happy with his teeth now. His personality shines because he smiles so much more with ease and confidence. I am glad he did it.
P.P.S. He wound up embracing the stares and started picking his wires to match the holiday or his mood. It was beyond funny to ask him what color he got this time; he cycled through bright blues, neon pinks, Christmas colors, Thanksgiving colors, Halloween colors, etc. He figured if people are going to stare, then he wouldn't try to hide it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I thought about getting braces. But I have a coworker who had a similar experience as Audra. So I scheduled a consult with a peridontist. He did a thorough exam of my gums and gave me his professional opinion that if I were to get braces, I'd eventually need multiple gum grafts. I said 'no way' to braces after that. I'm sure it's not like this for everyone, but my gum tissue is thin enough that braces would have caused major damage.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I think it really depends on one thing, are you happy with your teeth? When my husband got his new job it included some adult ortho coverage so I considered it, but then I realized that I am 40 years and and have always been perfectly happy with my less than perfect smile, so I decided to just skip it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My teeth are moving, slowly, so if I had the chance to have insurance pay for the majority of it? I would do it again.

Having straight teeth is sooo much better! Your bite is right, which means less chance for breakage or other issues....

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Since having mine as a teenager, my teeth have completely shifted. Back then I was only given a retainer for the top and only had to wear it for a limited time. Today things are much different. My daughters were given retainers that look a lot like invisalign. They must wear them every night to keep their teeth in place. If they ever skip a night they are harder to fit in so I'm sure it wouldn't take long for the teeth to start shifting. How committed are you to wearing the retainers after?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My cousin just got out of his braces, and he's 50. He's glad he did it.

Techniques keep changing, and the complexity, duration and pain can vary tremendously from one person to another. Many people are just kind of sore after a major appointment, and they're never in bad pain. So I wouldn't be turned away from the idea just because you hear from a few people that they had a tough time.

Orthodontia can affect issues later on, and bad teeth and bad alignment can cause jaw pain and headaches years down the road. So you could be taking a major step toward better health and the avoidance of problems down the road - so this could be much more than a cosmetic improvement for you. What's more, any money spent now might avert high expenses down the road when you are older.

I'm curious why you would have to drive so far for treatments? Are there really no plan-covered orthodontists anywhere near you?

You can always get 2 opinions to help you make your decision.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I have friends who suddenly have teeth moving, and it's causing them pain. In addition, it's doing something to the gum line that is a big red flag. I forgot the specifics, but it was bad enough that they need braces to stop the deterioration.

They are getting both Invisilign and regular braces, based on their preference. If I were you, I would do it. You are one lucky person to have it covered by insurance...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I think you deserve to do something for yourself for once! Yes, go for it!!!

Also, check out Smiles Direct it’s an less expensive alternative to Invisalign.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

I’m 44, currently in braces and did it without coverage. I chose to do it because of severe clenching which was causing my bottom teeth to move therefore my gums were receding and I wanted to avoid more oral surgery. Also it should help hopefully with TMJ and headaches. I do have some soreness occasionally but it’s not overwhelming. I only go once a month to get the wire changed out. I went to my dentist 3 months after getting them, he’s been telling me I should get them for 8 years, and was very impressed with how much movement has already happened. I can tell too. My teeth were essentially straight before, as a teen they saw no reason to consider them, this is for reasons other than cosmetic. I probably should put more effort into cleaning more often with the tiny little brush but I’m lazy, that’s my only downside to this whole process. Even getting them on took only about an hour and my monthly visits take about 20 minutes so the time commitment is minimal. So I’m glad I did it.

Well—-now I can’t wait to discuss this gum receding issue with the dentist, orthodontist and oral surgeon next time I see them!!! Especially since I’m still clenching!! The gum graft I had done was a long uncomfortable recovery, I don’t want more and the main reason I did this was to avoid more grafts. And I won’t be lazy with the tiny little brush anymore!!! 😂🤪🤣

Update 2:
I just remembered—My mother in law just got hers off just before I got mine and only regretted not having them earlier, she’s 70. She did it for the same reasons I did. She lives three hours always with completely different doctors so now I’m just don’t know what to think LOL but I see ortho this week and surgeon the I can’t wait to hear what they say!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i think it's great if you have it covered!

in fact, i even inquired about it a year or so ago (we have okay dental insurance.) but my dentist, who did recommend that i go to an ortho for a second opinion, thinks i would need more intensive work than i'm willing to do.

one of my brothers did Invisalign. he looked fine before, but it did make his Ultrabrite smile even more even and pretty. took about 2 years to complete, though.

my compromise was to have some of the gaps lessened by adding filling material, and it has made my smile less wonky.

i think that if it's not a ginormous PITA and you've got coverage, why not? a terrific smile is your best accessory.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My granddaughter has an underbite. Dentist recommended braces. Parents couldn't afford them. I didn't know this until she was 14 or 15. I asked if she could still get braces. They said no, her jaw was set. She cant't bite down on foods such as apples, sandwiches, hard cookies. I wish I'd paid more attention.

A friend had obvious buck teeth. She got braces in her 30's or 50's. No more buck teeth. She'd do it again.

You mentioned getting braces for reasons other than cosmetics. Without knowing those, I wouldn't know what to decide. Would braces improve your health/life?

Personally I would not be willing to travel 2 hours to get braces if I had to travel more than a couple of times.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Peoria on

Depending on what your problems are w/your teeth, you may be a candidate for Smile Direct Club...they DO work! It's all done by mail and I highly recommend them! Here's a link:

They'll let you know if they can help you or not and if they cannot help you, they can help find an orthodontist in your area that may be able to help you. Also, check out the many videos on YouTube of those who've used Smile Direct Club & see for yourself. Also, Groupon usually has a discount for their initial setup service so definitely check that out!

Braces are gonna hurt no matter what age you are but it's worth the trouble! True, it's said to be easier when your a child/adolescent but many adults get braces so go for it!! Hope this helps! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have had braces twice in my adult life. The first time I had permanent retainers after treatment and about 20-years later, the lower retainer broke. We had moved to another state. I didn't know anyone who had braces and my dentist recommended an Orthodontist more than 25+ miles away.

About a year later, I saw a man who had worked at the apartment complex we had lived in; he was picking his daughter up from her martial arts school. She has braces on. He said his daughter's Orthodontist was about 5 miles from where we lived. I went through about a year and a half of braces on the lower teeth only. This time I opted for the removable retainer. (Remembering to wear at night can be a hassle.)

The best thing I can tell you to do is, when treatment starts, whether the doctor (he/she) puts spacers between the teeth, adjust the wires etc, as soon as you can, rinse with salty water. My first Orthodontist kept salt in the office for me, as I would go to work afterwards. Salty water will cut down on the pain you will have from the movement of the teeth or the braces moving against the tissue in your mouth. I only experienced pain once and that was the very first day when I didn't know what to expect. :) Plus the salty water helps to gum tissue to settle faster.

You need a healthy mouth and if braces will improve your smile, close spaces etc, I say, "Do it. It will be well worth it".

1 mom found this helpful
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