Adult braces and teeth aligners: is there an age limit?
- Orthodontic treatment is possible at any age with adult braces or teeth aligners.
- Many people think aligners are only for teenage patients, but this is not the case.
- Our teeth tend to naturally move more out of place as we get older in reaction to all forces in our mouth.
- If teeth move out of place, they can be moved into place again as the biology of tooth movement is the same at any age.
How teeth move naturally and with adult braces or aligners
Teeth are surrounded by a gum attachment called the periodontal ligament which is surrounded by bone.
This is like a shock absorber for the teeth and attaches it to the mandible (lower jaw) or maxilla (upper jaw). Any constant force on the tooth for more than 14 hours a day stimulates a biological response around the tooth. The bone in front of the tooth softens and it is laid down behind the tooth, this means the tooth is able to travel and move away from the force. This is the foundation of orthodontics, and how all types of braces work.
Different people’s physiology varies, so some people have teeth that move easier and faster, or slower. But everyone’s teeth can be straightened and aligned.
“My teeth are moving with age!”
Our bodies change over the years – teeth are no exception!
As we age, the forces in our mouth also change. The lips, cheeks and tongue adapt over time and this places different force directions and amounts on teeth and that makes them move. Over time, some natural changes may occur, like gum recession! In addition to this, if there is any gum disease there is a loss of bone support around the teeth, making teeth even more prone to movement.
Interesting fact: There are other facts other than age that can influence your teeth position and shape. If you’re a woman, pregnancy can also cause your teeth to shift positions. That’s right! During pregnancy hormone changes can cause your gums to get inflamed easily. Morning sickness and vomiting acids can cause your teeth to erode. And there’s an increased risk of decay caused by dry mouth.
Is there a minimum age limit for invisible aligners?
Even though there is no official minimum age limit, all companies have their own established limit. Some teeth aligner companies might even offer treatment for children as young as seven years old. We do not really recommend it though. At Straight Teeth Direct, we focus on adult cosmetic orthodontics so one of the eligibility criteria for treatment is to be 18 or over. This is mainly because there is still growth and development occurring before that. This could mean other more comprehensive approaches might be more beneficial. Once child growth has stopped then it is safe to proceed with a cosmetically focused approach.
Adult braces Vs kids braces
What’s the real difference between adult braces and children braces? Regardless if you’re an adult, a child or a teenager, all types of braces and invisible aligners have the same function. They shift your teeth into an optimal desired position.
In some rare cases children have special functional braces designed to guide the jaw to grow in a particular way. This is an exception and a very special type of braces that only work during a growth spurt.
When it comes to age, braces and clear aligners present no actual differences. There are, though, some biological implications that vary with age.
Can you be too old for aligners?
The great thing about teeth straightening with invisible aligners is that it is never too late to get the smile you’ve always wanted! In fact, at Straight Teeth Direct only, we’ve helped hundreds of people over the age of 50.
“Best gift ever!!!
Straight teeth direct have been amazing. The customer service has been second to none. They have delivered on every promise . I have nearly finished my treatment and I am over the moon. I am 50 and didn’t think I would ever have straight teeth.
Thank you straight teeth direct for making this so easy”
In our day and age it’s not just the teens who can get that smile improvement but there are a lot of people assuming that it is impossible to get aligner treatment over a certain age or that it’s pointless!
It is true that as we get older our rate of cellular activity reduces, the mouth is no different. This means we can expect as we get older the teeth may take a little longer to move.
So with aligners some people may benefit from wearing them a little longer than 2 weeks, such as 3 weeks. Teeth will still move into position.
Teeth can move no matter how old we are, orthodontics can be successfully carried out at 90 years old even. Adult braces are a great way to straighten teeth as they are perfectly safe, only moving the teeth gradually and gently to the place needed – typically 0.2mm – 0.3mm at a time.
Even though there is no age cap when it comes to teeth straightening, there is another factor to consider, an adult is more prone to have had previous dental treatments and potential issues than a teenager or a younger adult. For instance, you might have a missing tooth, receding gum lines, or implants. Also, teeth which have been moved by braces before have slightly stiffer bones. That is why it is so important to get properly diagnosed by a trained professional before starting any kind of orthodontic treatment.
Straight Teeth Direct adult braces for (pretty much) all ages
At Straight Teeth Direct the orthodontists working on the platform actually only supervise adult cases of teens over 18 year old with all their permanent teeth and the good news is that there is no age cap. Why would confidence and self esteem stop after you reach a certain age? Everybody deserves a smile they love, and you do too, independently of your age.
Some people contacted us saying their local dentist would not provide or recommend adult braces or aligners because they considered it “not worth it” at their age (after 50).
At Straight Teeth Direct, age is not a restricting factor and our user, Vicky Lou, stated: “I can honestly say, I’m so pleased with Straight Teeth Direct. I was doubtful at first as everything is done online using their app but the whole journey has been fantastic and the customer service is excellent. What I was surprised at is that I didn’t need to have attachments which was great as I’m 46 and didn’t want anyone to know I was having my teeth straightened. My teeth are lovely and straight and I would definitely recommend it.”
Out of hundreds of positive reviews we received on Trustpilot, Johanna’s really caught our eye! After telling her dentist she wanted to straighten her teeth at age 54, he was skeptical (and quite shocked!). After that reaction she decided to consult an orthodontist and here’s what she has to say about it:
“Excellent, don’t hesitate!
I found out about Straight Teeth Direct by chance, while looking for a solution after loosing a tooth. My regular dentist assumed I want to get an implant and was surprised and skeptical about straightening teeth instead at my age (54), but said I should ask an orthodontist. I am so glad I did! The orthodontist and staff at STDirect were very thorough in answering my every question and assured me that my age isn’t a problem. Luckily I trusted them (…)”
Is everyone suitable for at home clear aligners?
First and foremost, you need to have a healthy mouth and teeth! Having had gum disease is not an issue as long as it is stable and treated.
Fillings present no problem, and neither do crowns as long as the crown is securely attached to your teeth. If you have had tooth replacements like implants or bridges then clear aligners may not be suitable for you, as the aligner can’t work on these or grip them like other teeth (if implants/bridges are an issue or not will always depend on the individual situation).
If you have had root canals on your teeth that can be fine too, as long as they are healthy. Again, this is why a dental checkup and x-rays are important to verify your current oral health. Overall it is important at any age to ensure you are dentally healthy, even more at an older age if you have had a lot of dental work done.
To find out for sure if you are eligible you can answer a few questions and send photos of your teeth first. Then our trained dentists will individually assess each case via your free online consultation.
4 reasons why adults are getting straight teeth
Bottom line is: there is not a best age for straightening your teeth with invisible aligners. As long as you can smile it is always time to invest in boosting your confidence!
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