Are you ever too old for braces? The simple answer is no, although if that was the end of it, this would be a very short article. Braces are traditionally applied during childhood (typically between the ages of 8 and 14), when a person's baby teeth have fallen out and the majority of adult teeth have grown. Teeth that are crooked or misaligned often require a corrective treatment (such as braces) for aesthetic reasons, and also because it can be difficult to effectively clean them, which can lead to dental problems in later life. This corrective treatment does not always occur. Sometimes it might be due to the cost of braces, and also because the misalignment will not really affect a person's ability to clean their teeth. If you opted not to get braces while you were younger, there's no reason why you can't correct your teeth at any age. While braces can be effective during adulthood, not everyone wants to wear traditional braces for an extended period of time. So what are some of the other options available to you?
The process behind an accelerated orthodontic treatment might not sound pleasant, but it's highly effective in achieving the desired result within a relatively short time frame. Minor oral surgery is performed to induce osteopenia, which is a weakening of the bone. Essentially, the teeth are slightly loosened. You won't really notice this effect, and it's not the same feeling as when baby teeth become loose. Some mild dietary changes are needed, such as not eating hard foods in the early stages of the process. Braces are still required, but you will only be wearing them for as little as 6 to 9 months, since the teeth move into the desired position far quicker than they would have otherwise done. You can also opt for braces that are tooth-coloured, making them less obvious.
Invisalign pioneered the treatment of invisible teeth alignment, and it's by the far the most popular choice. It's a gradual and non-invasive treatment that involves an impression being taken of your teeth. A series of slightly different transparent coverings are then produced, which need to be changed every two weeks. The coverings gradually move your teeth into the desired position without the need for braces. As the name suggests, the coverings are practically invisible, and you can remove them when you need to eat or sleep. These types of treatments usually take from 1 to 2 years.
Veneers are typically used to correct an individual tooth, but can be equally effective for multiple teeth. A veneer is a wafer-thin ceramic alloy that is placed over a tooth that might be misshapen, decayed, or discoloured. For crooked teeth, your dentist will shave a small amount of the surface area off the teeth to be corrected, and veneers are then applied to give your teeth the desired uniformity and placement. It's quick and easy for the patient, and yet is perhaps the most expensive option due to the work involved, both in the creation of the veneers and the dentist's efforts when it comes to their application.
So while teeth can be straightened at any age, it's important to remember that braces are not the only option.