You may have had braces as a kid but your teeth have become misaligned in the years since. Maybe you’ve never had braces, at all. Now that you’re an adult, do you have no choice but to live with misalignments and other orthodontic problems?

The answer is no! An estimated 25% of today’s orthodontic patients are adults because it’s never too late to invest in straighter, healthier teeth. 

If you’re considering getting adult braces, you probably have a lot of questions. We’re here to help by covering everything you need to know in this complete guide to braces for adults.

Ready to dive in? Read on to have all of your questions answered about braces for adults.

How Do You Know if You Need Adult Braces?

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you need adult braces, this one is for you. Let’s take a look at the two biggest signs that you would benefit from a smile makeover in your adult years.

You Don’t Feel Confident About Your Smile

Do you find yourself hiding your smile behind your hand or keeping your mouth shut when asked to smile for pictures? Do you avoid looking at your teeth or feel a sense of discomfort when you do?

Everyone deserves to feel good about their smile. Smiling has a ton of benefits, from lifting your mood to making those around you feel more relaxed in your presence. If misalignments, gaps, and other orthodontic issues are preventing you from smiling proudly, it’s time to consider braces for adults.

Your Misaligned Teeth are Causing Health Problems

Patients often assume that braces are purely cosmetic. The truth is that misaligned teeth, especially if the misalignment is growing more pronounced over the years, can cause health problems, too. 

For example, severe misalignments can cause pain or difficulty when chewing and speaking. Even minor misalignments can make it more difficult to keep your teeth clean, which can lead to rapid or serious disease or decay. Many patients who grind their teeth or suffer from jaw disorders like TMJ report an improvement in symptoms after getting orthodontic treatment. 

What Types of Braces are Available for Adults?

Braces aren’t quite what they used to be! Let’s talk about the different types of braces that you can choose from as an adult orthodontic patient.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces are still in full swing these days. The most traditional type of braces includes metal bars and brackets. The good news is that thanks to SureSmile technology, even traditional braces are more effective and can create straighter teeth at a faster rate.

What if you’re interested in traditional braces but want something more discrete? You can now opt for clear braces, which are harder to spot when you’re smiling or talking. 


A very popular choice these days is the clear plastic aligner. These aligners are reminiscent of temporary retainers in that they fit directly over your teeth and you can pop them in or take them out as needed. Because there are no brackets or bars involved, aligners are the most discrete orthodontic option. 

For long-term orthodontic adjustments, we often recommend Invisalign. If you only need minor adjustments, we recommend TDR aligners, our in-house solution for minor tooth movement. 

Braces and Aligners in Combination

Not all patients qualify for Invisalign and other aligners right away. The good news is that you can do a combination of both traditional braces and aligners.

How does this work? We fit our patients with braces to take care of immediate problems, removing the braces after a short period of time. Then, the patient finishes their orthodontic treatment by wearing a series of aligners.

What Should You Expect While Wearing Braces?

If you’ve never had braces before, you might wonder what to expect from the process. We’re here to provide insight and tips that will make your experience with braces go smoothly.

How to Clean Your Teeth With Braces

Daily oral care with braces isn’t much different from daily oral care without braces. Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes at a time. If you have traditional braces, get a water pick or floss threader to remove buildup from between your teeth. If you’re wearing aligners, we encourage you to brush after every meal before putting your aligners back on.

Dos and Don’ts of Braces for Adults

If you have traditional braces, you will need to avoid certain foods during your treatment. That includes sticky foods, like gummy candy, as well as very crunchy foods, like hard pretzels. You may also want to avoid food that will get caught in your braces, like corn.

If you have aligners, make sure to avoid eating and drinking anything other than water with your aligners in. Food and beverages can damage or stain your aligners. 

How Long Will You Need to Wear Braces?

Thanks to SureSmile technology, you can complete treatment with traditional braces in as little as nine months. However, the duration of your orthodontic treatment, whether you’re using traditional braces or aligners, will vary based on your specific needs. Most adults complete orthodontic treatment in well under two years.

How Can You Pay for Braces for Adults?

Unfortunately, dental insurance often will not cover braces for adults. However, there are some exceptions when orthodontic treatment is needed to address health problems, rather than purely cosmetic problems.

The good news is that at TDR Orthodontics, we offer a no-interest monthly payment plan. That means that you can pay off the cost of braces over time without having to take out a loan or accrue interest on a credit card.

Come to TDR Orthodontics for Your Orthodontic Needs

If you’re interested in braces for adults after reading this guide, don’t stop here. TDR Orthodontics provides orthodontic care for the whole family, including the adults.

In fact, we offer a free exam for new patients. Schedule yours today so that we can get started on your smile makeover.