Braces can improve your smile and overall dental health, and they aren't just for kids. Though getting braces as an adult involves some different and additional consideration, just about anyone can get braces no matter how old they are. Here's what to expect when you feel like getting started.

Get Outstanding Dental Work Finished First

Your braces may be with you for several months or longer, and they can get in the way of taking care of other dental issues, so it's highly recommended that you take care of any outstanding problems before getting braces. Depending on what you need, many orthodontists won't put on braces until the issues are addressed. This can include a routine cleaning or tartar removal, and can extend into taking care of periodontitis or getting fillings or crowns.

During your consultation, your orthodontist will be able to tell you if you also need any teeth pulled before you begin. With teeth being moved around, it's important to make sure they all have room to move where they need to be, so this may be necessary before you begin as well.

See What Types Are Available

There are several different types of braces, but which one you'll want depends on several factors. Here are the most common types of braces.

  • Standard metal brackets are fastened to the outside of your teeth and use metal wires to slowly push your teeth into the shape they're supposed to be in. These are generally the least costly, but are easily visible.
  • Ceramic braces work like metal brackets, but are made of a clear material that make them less conspicuous. These tend to cost more because of the difference in material.
  • Lingual braces are placed on the back side of your teeth rather than the front, making them almost invisible. If you're worried about the visibility of braces at work, this may be an option for you. However, they do affect your speech more than standard braces.
  • Aligners are clear removable casts that you put in your mouth for the majority of each day, slowly switching to different casts as your teeth move. The flexibility of these aligners are appealing, but they are also more expensive.

Expect Longer Treatment Times

Getting braces as a child is often faster because a child's mouth is still growing and teeth are still shifting. With adults, however, your teeth have been in place for some time, and getting them to move takes more effort. On average, you can expect to wear your braces from around a year and a half to three years, though every case differs.