Braces for adults may be necessary for any number of reasons. Some adults may want to get straight smiles for the first time, while others’ teeth may have slowly reverted to their original misaligned positions after braces were removed in their teen years. Still others may be seeking relief from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) symptoms. Regardless of the reason, the process of getting braces for adults differs somewhat from orthodontic treatment for younger patients. Most notably, adult patients are more likely to need to have teeth extracted prior to getting braces, although this step is not necessary in all cases.

Because an adult’s jaw growth is complete and can’t be manipulated with appliances as it can in younger patients, severe crowding may need to be addressed by removing some teeth in order to create room for the other teeth to shift into their proper positions. This is more likely to be needed in the case of an adult who is getting braces for the first time.

The first step in any treatment plan for braces for adults is an initial consultation with an orthodontist. After this evaluation, the orthodontist can make numerous recommendations for treatment, including whether extraction is indicated prior to getting braces.

The orthodontist may also recommend different treatment options that will help the patient achieve his or her smile goals. For example, many adult patients are interested in the Invisalign system, which uses clear plastic trays instead of brackets and wires to move the teeth. Invisalign is more convenient and comfortable, and it also doesn’t intrude on the smile’s appearance during treatment, which can be tremendously important for people concerned about maintaining a professional image.

For other patients, traditional braces may be more effective or desired for other reasons, such as cost. Patients have numerous options, so you should learn about all of them before making a decision.

Adult orthodontic patients may need to have teeth extracted, but not all of them will. In order to determine if this will be part of your treatment, schedule an evaluation at our office.