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Wearing braces as an "older person" ...

Ida Claire
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

At a relatively overdue dental exam yesterday, my longtime and trusted dentist told me that she believed I would benefit from braces due to a shift in my teeth over time that's now causing a bite problem and a couple of other issues. It's not something I've been particularly aware of until recently, when I can detect that my lower teeth are more crowded and crooked than before, and I often have a sensation in my jaw -- not pain or aching, but more like a kind of continual pressure. The dentist said yep, my shifting teeth is the cause of those things. She provided a referral to an ortho (he seems pretty impressive -- board-certified with decades of experience and glowing reviews and professional accolades), and I have an appointment to go see him for a consultation in a few weeks. My dentist and I discussed Invisalign, but she believes I would be a better candidate for braces, as they can be tweaked to better adjust each tooth individually. I have three uppers that have actually twisted a bit.

I'm certainly not embarrassed of my smile and I believe my issues are probably mild compared to some of the before/after photos I've seen -- so I wouldn't be pursuing this for "vanity", but because I want my teeth to last me a good long while as I move into my 60s and beyond. I guess if it's something that will enhance my overall dental health, I will likely proceed if the recommendation is to do so by the orthodontist. After reading a good deal online already, I do get a vague sense that "adult orthodontia" is a relatively new and perhaps trendy thing, but that may be because there are a host of boomers and others a bit younger who are aging but still active and looking forward to continued health, who want to do whatever they can to preserve their natural teeth. It wasn't an option for folks just one or two generations ago.

This leads me to ask if anyone here wears or wore braces as an adult, or if you have a spouse or adult family member who has and can speak to the overall experience. Particularly, I'm interested in knowing:

  • Did you do braces or Invisalign?
  • How long did you wear the device(s)?
  • Did you encounter any problems that you wish you'd known about ahead of time?
  • What kind of cost was associated with your treatment? -- I have some insurance coverage, but realize that there will still be fairly significant outlay from my own pocket.
  • ETA: Post-treatment, do you now wear a retainer?

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