Can adults use braces to straighten their teeth?

Braces, also called orthodontics, can improve the appearance of teeth in both children and in adults who have crooked teeth or wide gaps between their teeth. The procedure can take some time -- usually between 18 and 24 months. It can cost about $3,500 to $4,500.

Moving teeth with braces is very time consuming. It requires multiple visits (at least twenty) and, all the while, it can be uncomfortable. Braces are most useful for children to straighten their teeth. Attaching braces can improve the appearance of the face and jaw while a child is growing.

Sometimes, cosmetic dentists recommend braces to adult patients for cosmetic reasons. Dentists report that very few adults are interested. Typically, adults would rather use other cosmetic options that offer faster results (within a couple of weeks, for example). Many of these options also can cost less money.
Stephen P. Simpson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

Absolutely. Adults frequently benefit from orthodontic treatment, beyond the obvious cosmetic improvement in the alignment of the teeth. The condition of the gingival tissues (the "gum tissue"), the ease of hygiene procedures, and the balance of the bite are all areas that can be improved through orthodontic treatment procedures. Adult treatment frequently requires a longer, more judicious treatment plan because of the absence of growth and the presence of imperfections in a mature dentition, but dramatic improvement can still be anticipated and achieved in many patients. 

Healthy teeth can be orthodontically treated at any age. Treatment more commonly begins while a child is growing but that doesn’t mean that adults can’t have braces. Not all of us are born with beautiful smiles, but with a good oral hygiene routine, and a little help from orthodontics, you can have a beautiful and healthy smile at any age.

Dante A. Gonzales, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

Age is usually not the major factor in planning orthodontic treatment, but of more importance is the health of the teeth and gums. Patients of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Braces or Invisalign appliances can be used to align the teeth. There are some limitations to adult orthodontics because they are not growing anymore. Thus, treatments like jaw growth modification cannot be done to help correct the bite. However, alternative methods can be used to help correct the bite and properly align the teeth. Braces can be part of that equation. If you are considering straightening your teeth, a visit to your local orthodontist will provide you with the information you need to know.


Braces are not just for children. Adults of any age can use braces to straighten their teeth. Crowding, spacing, and misalignment can be corrected with braces or other dental appliances. Although the bones in your face are no longer growing as an adult, your healthy teeth and gums can support braces to improve your smile. Talk to an orthodontist, a doctor who specializes in crooked and misaligned teeth, about straightening your teeth.

Continue Learning about Orthodontics

What are space maintainers made of?
A space maintainer, which a device that keeps a space open where a baby tooth has fallen out too soo...
More Answers
What are complications of getting a clear plastic dental retainer?
Dustin S. Burleson, DDSDustin S. Burleson, DDS
In a recent on-line poll of orthodontic offices 64% of the responding specialists reported using cle...
More Answers
What's the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?
Arnold I. Liebman, DDSArnold I. Liebman, DDS
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed additional years of post-graduate training ...
More Answers
How do I know if invisaligns are right for me?
Jonathan B. Levine, DMDJonathan B. Levine, DMD
Invisaligns are right for you if: Your condition involves tipping or rotation of teeth. Think of...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.