Am I Too Old for Braces?

Let’s cut right to the chase: No, you’re not too old to get braces. While you may think of braces as traditionally a treatment for teenagers, one in three orthodontic patients nationwide is an adult.

At Millennium Park Orthodontics in Chicago, our ratio is even higher. More than half our patients are adults. We love helping adults get great smiles and the confidence that can come with them.

Why do adults get braces?

Adults come to us for orthodontic treatment for many reasons. Some of our adult patients received orthodontic treatment as kids that they never finished, so now they want to complete the process. Others may have had a full treatment as kids, but their teeth shifted out of alignment over time. 

For adults who have already had treatment, they may just need a new retainer, or they may need light orthodontic work, or they may need a complete treatment again.

However, many adults have never had orthodontic work. We get many of these cases. If you’re one of them, we can give you the great smile you’ve always wanted.

What’s different about adult braces?

In general, orthodontic treatment for adults is the same as for kids. The biggest difference is that adults’ mouths are fully formed, whereas the mouths of children and teens may still be growing. Because of this, treatment for adults may take a bit longer, because their jaws may not be as malleable. 

Adults may also have other factors that could affect their treatment, such as fillings, missing teeth, or other dental issues. They may also deal with medications or habits that could affect treatment, such as clenching, teeth grinding, or smoking.

What kinds of braces are available?

As an adult, you have several options for braces.

Traditional braces

Regular metal braces adjust teeth by way of metal brackets and wires. With regular braces, you come to the office every six weeks or so for adjustments. Treatment times with regular braces can last 18-36 months.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are very similar to metal braces, except the brackets are transparent. And the wires can be metal or tooth-colored. So while treatment times and procedures are similar, ceramic braces are not as noticeable.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces go on the back of your teeth, leaving the front of your teeth free from brackets and wires. These braces can take 18-36 months as well.


Invisalign® is a popular option for adults, because this system uses clear, plastic aligners. After your mouth is scanned, a number of aligner sets are made. Each set in the series is slightly different from the one before it. Every two weeks or so, you switch out one set for another, and by the time you take out your last set, you have the smile you desire. Treatment times usually range from 12-18 months. 

If you’re an adult, it’s not too late to get a great smile. To learn more about your treatment options, book an appointment over the phone with Millennium Park Orthodontics today.

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