Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered if it’s too late to correct your smile?
Maybe you had braces as a teenager, but your teeth have shifted over the years.
You’re not alone.
Many adults are choosing to get braces for the second time, seeking orthodontic treatment to achieve the smile they’ve always wanted. In fact, a 2019 survey by the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) revealed that 80% of orthodontists reported an increase in adult private patients, with 75% of those patients aged between 26 and 55.
Similarly, the AAO also found that approximately 27% of all orthodontic patients in the United States are adults, highlighting the growing acceptance of orthodontic treatment among older individuals.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons people get braces again, the differences between first and second-time treatments, and everything you need to know before embarking on your quest for a straighter smile.
- Common Reasons for Needing Braces Again
- Differences Between First and Second-Time Orthodontic Treatment
- Types of Braces for Second-Time Treatment
- Preparing for Your Second Braces Journey
- Tips for a Successful Second Orthodontic Treatment
- Common Questions and Concerns for Second-Time Braces Wearers
- The Benefits of Having Braces a Second Time
Common Reasons for Needing Braces Again
There are several reasons why people might need braces for a second time:
- Inadequate retention after initial treatment: If you didn’t wear your retainer as prescribed or lost it, your teeth may have shifted back to their original positions.
- Tooth movement due to aging or dental issues: As we age, our teeth can move or shift due to changes in our facial structure, gum recession, or even tooth loss.
- Orthodontic relapse: In some cases, teeth may revert to their previous positions despite proper retention, necessitating additional treatment.
- Aesthetic or functional concerns: Some adults may be unhappy with the results of their initial treatment or have developed new dental problems that require braces.
Differences Between First and Second-Time Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic technology has almost certainly advanced significantly since your first experience with braces. Now more discreet and efficient options, such as clear aligners and lingual braces, are available. This means that you’ve likely have more choice than you did first time around, choosing a treatment type that best fits in with your lifestyle.
And while the length of treatment will vary from person to person, adults often find that their second treatment takes less time due to improved technology and more focused goals.
That said, adults may experience more discomfort during their second treatment due to less flexibility in their jaw and facial bones. However, modern orthodontic techniques can help minimize pain.
Let’s not also forget that, as an adult, you will likely need to cover the cost of treatment yourself, which can be more expensive than when you were a teenager with parental support. However, many orthodontists offer payment plans and financing options to help make this easier.
Types of Braces for Second-Time Treatment
As an adult seeking orthodontic treatment for the second time, you have various options to choose from based on your needs, preferences, and budget.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the different types of braces available:
Traditional metal braces
These are the most common type of braces and consist of metal brackets attached to your teeth and connected by wires.
Over time, these wires are tightened and adjusted to gradually move your teeth into the desired position.
Although metal braces are the most visible option, they have evolved to become smaller and more comfortable than they were in the past.
Additionally, they are often the most affordable choice and can effectively treat a wide range of orthodontic issues.
Ceramic braces function similarly to traditional metal braces but utilize tooth-colored or clear brackets and sometimes even tooth-colored wires.
This makes them less noticeable than metal braces, which is a significant advantage for adults who may be self-conscious about their appearance.
However, ceramic braces can be more expensive than metal braces and may require more frequent adjustments, as the ceramic material is more fragile.
Lingual braces are an innovative option that involves attaching brackets and wires to the back of your teeth, making them virtually invisible from the front.
This discreet treatment is ideal for adults who want to maintain a professional appearance or prefer not to have visible braces.
However, lingual braces can be more difficult to clean and may take longer to adjust to, as they can initially cause discomfort to your tongue.
Additionally, they are often the most expensive option due to the customized design and specialized treatment process.
Clear aligners (Invisalign)
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are a popular choice for adults seeking a discreet and removable orthodontic solution and consist of a series of custom-made, transparent plastic trays that fit snugly over your teeth.
Each set of aligners is designed to gradually shift your teeth into the desired position. The appeal to many adults is that they can be removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing, making them more convenient and easier to maintain than traditional braces.
However, they may not be suitable for all orthodontic issues, and treatment success heavily relies on the patient’s commitment to wearing the aligners for the recommended 20-22 hours per day. Clear aligners can also be more expensive than traditional braces, but many patients find the advantages worth the cost.
Each of these orthodontic options has its own set of advantages and drawbacks, so it’s essential to consult with an orthodontist to determine the best choice for your specific needs and goals.
Preparing for Your Second Braces Journey
Embarking on your second orthodontic journey can be both exciting and daunting. To ensure a smooth and successful experience, preparing yourself mentally, emotionally, and financially is essential.
Here are some steps to help you get ready:
Book a consultation with an orthodontist
The first step in your second orthodontic journey is to schedule a consultation with an experienced orthodontist.
You’ll discuss your goals, concerns, and expectations during this appointment.
The orthodontist will examine your teeth and jaw, take X-rays and impressions if necessary, and recommend the most suitable treatment options. This is your opportunity to ask any questions and address any concerns you may have before committing to treatment.
Set realistic expectations
It’s important to understand that orthodontic treatment as an adult may be different from when you were younger.
Your jaw and facial bones are no longer growing, which can impact the treatment process and the results you can achieve.
Be prepared for possible challenges, such as increased discomfort or a longer treatment time, and understand that patience and commitment are crucial for success.
Keep an open line of communication with your orthodontist to ensure your expectations align with what is realistically achievable.
Plan for financial and time commitments
Orthodontic treatment can be a significant investment in terms of both time and money. Before starting treatment, consider the cost of braces or aligners and any additional fees for X-rays, retainers, or follow-up appointments.
Many orthodontists offer payment plans and financing options to help make treatment more affordable.
In addition to financial planning, consider the time commitment involved in attending regular appointments and adjusting to new oral care routines. Make sure you’re ready to prioritize your orthodontic treatment amid your other responsibilities.
Communicating with family and employers
Undergoing orthodontic treatment as an adult can impact both your personal and professional life.
Talk to your family members about your decision, as you may need their support and understanding during the treatment process.
This may include help with childcare during appointments or encouragement when you’re feeling frustrated or self-conscious.
Similarly, inform your employer about your orthodontic treatment, as you may need to take time off work for appointments or adjustments.
Being open about your treatment can help you build a support system and create a positive environment for your second braces journey.
Tips for a Successful Second Orthodontic Treatment
Embarking on a second orthodontic treatment can feel like a fresh start, but it’s important to remember the lessons learned from your previous experience to ensure success this time around.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your second orthodontic journey:
Prioritizing oral hygiene
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is crucial during orthodontic treatment, as braces or aligners can trap food particles and increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and use an interdental brush or water flosser to clean around brackets and wires.
If you’re using clear aligners, clean them regularly to prevent staining and odor.
Staying consistent with orthodontist appointments
Regular check-ups with your orthodontist are essential for monitoring your progress and making any necessary adjustments. Skipping or postponing appointments can prolong your treatment time and negatively impact the results.
Make sure to prioritize appointments and plan your schedule accordingly.
Wearing retainers as prescribed
One of the most common reasons people need braces for the second time is because of not wearing their retainers as directed after the initial treatment.
To prevent orthodontic relapse, it’s crucial to wear your retainers as prescribed by your orthodontist.
This may involve wearing them full-time for several months and then transitioning to nighttime wear only.
Remember, retainers are a lifelong commitment to maintaining your newly aligned smile.
Embracing a positive attitude
Having a positive mindset can significantly impact your orthodontic treatment experience.
Focus on the long-term benefits of having a healthy and beautiful smile, and remind yourself that any discomfort or inconvenience is temporary. Don’t hesitate to share your concerns or frustrations with your orthodontist, as they can offer advice and support to help you stay motivated throughout your treatment.
Following your orthodontist’s instructions
To ensure the success of your second orthodontic treatment, following your orthodontist’s recommendations regarding oral care, dietary restrictions, and appliance usage is essential. This may include avoiding certain foods that can damage your braces, wearing rubber bands or headgear as directed, or using special cleaning tools for proper oral hygiene.
Seeking support from others
Connecting with other adults undergoing orthodontic treatment can provide valuable support and encouragement.
Look for online forums, support groups, or social media communities where you can share your experiences, ask questions, and learn from others who are also going through a second orthodontic journey.
Being patient and committed
Orthodontic treatment can be lengthy, but the results are well worth the wait.
Stay committed to your treatment plan and trust the process. Keep in mind that every adjustment and appointment brings you one step closer to your desired smile.
Following these tips and staying dedicated to your treatment can ensure a successful second orthodontic experience and achieve the healthy, beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.
Common Questions and Concerns for Second-Time Braces Wearers
Embarking on a second round of orthodontic treatment may raise several questions and concerns.
Here, we address some of the most common issues to help you feel confident and informed as you start your journey.
Will my second orthodontic treatment take longer than the first?
The duration of your second orthodontic treatment depends on several factors, such as the complexity of your case, the type of braces or aligners you choose, and your commitment to following your orthodontist’s instructions.
In some instances, second-time treatments may be shorter due to advancements in technology and more targeted goals, but your orthodontist will be able to provide a more accurate estimate during your consultation.
Is it too late to get braces as an adult?
It’s never too late to improve your smile!
Adult orthodontic treatment has become increasingly popular in recent years, and many options are specifically designed to cater to adults’ unique needs and preferences.
While treatment may differ from when you were younger, most adults can achieve excellent results with braces or aligners.
Can I switch from braces to clear aligners or vice versa?
In some cases, it may be possible to switch from braces to clear aligners or vice versa during your treatment or complete what is known as a hybrid treatment. However, this decision should be made in consultation with your orthodontist, who will assess your progress and determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
Will my insurance cover the cost of my second orthodontic treatment?
Insurance coverage for adult orthodontic treatment varies depending on your policy.
Some plans may cover a portion of the cost, while others may not provide any coverage at all. Reviewing your insurance policy and discussing your options with your orthodontist is essential to determine your financial responsibility.
What if I’m unhappy with the results of my second orthodontic treatment?
If you’re unsatisfied with the outcome of your second orthodontic treatment, discussing your concerns with your orthodontist is crucial. They can evaluate your situation, determine if additional adjustments or treatments are necessary, and work with you to achieve the best possible results.
How can I prevent the need for a third orthodontic treatment?
Following your orthodontist’s instructions regarding retention and oral care is essential to maintain the results of your second orthodontic treatment and avoid further intervention. This includes wearing your retainer as prescribed, maintaining good oral hygiene, and attending regular dental check-ups to monitor your teeth and gums.
Addressing these common questions and concerns can make you feel more confident and knowledgeable as you embark on your second orthodontic journey. Open communication with your orthodontist is key to a successful treatment experience and achieving the smile you’ve always wanted.
The Benefits of Having Braces a Second Time
Deciding to undergo orthodontic treatment for the second time may be challenging, but the benefits can significantly outweigh the challenges.
Here are some of the advantages of doing so:
Improved oral health
Properly aligned teeth are aesthetically pleasing and contribute to better oral health. Straight teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, correcting bite issues can prevent excessive wear on your teeth and reduce the likelihood of TMJ disorders, headaches, and jaw pain.
A beautiful, well-aligned smile can boost your self-esteem and confidence in social and professional settings. Investing in your smile is an investment in your overall well-being, as it can positively impact various aspects of your life, including relationships and career opportunities.
Misaligned teeth or a problematic bite can cause discomfort, such as jaw pain, difficulty chewing, or even speech issues. Correcting these problems through orthodontic treatment can improve your overall comfort and quality of life.
By committing to a second orthodontic treatment and following your orthodontist’s recommendations for retention, you can achieve long-lasting results that maintain your healthy, beautiful smile for years to come.
Advanced treatment options
Orthodontic technology has advanced significantly in recent years, providing more efficient, comfortable, and discreet treatment options. As an adult seeking treatment for the second time, you can benefit from these advancements, which may lead to a more pleasant and efficient treatment experience compared to your first orthodontic journey.
Personalized treatment plans
Orthodontists understand that every patient’s needs and goals are unique, especially for adults seeking treatment for the second time. By working closely with your orthodontist, you can develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific concerns and helps you achieve the results you desire.
Prevention of future dental issues
Addressing orthodontic concerns now can prevent more significant dental problems from developing in the future. Timely intervention can save you time, money, and discomfort associated with more extensive dental procedures that may become necessary if orthodontic issues are left untreated.
By pursuing orthodontic treatment again, you can enjoy numerous benefits that positively impact your oral health, confidence, and overall quality of life.
With the support of your orthodontist and a commitment to following their recommendations, you can achieve the beautiful, healthy smile you’ve always wanted.
Getting braces for the second time can be a life-changing decision that leads to improved oral health, increased self-confidence, and enhanced quality of life.
As an adult, it’s essential to consider your options, set realistic expectations, and prepare yourself for the financial and time commitments involved. With advancements in technology and a range of treatment options available, you can find a solution that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
By prioritizing oral hygiene, staying consistent with orthodontist appointments, wearing retainers as prescribed, and maintaining a positive attitude, you can ensure a successful second orthodontic treatment experience. Additionally, seeking support from others and staying patient and committed to your treatment plan will help you navigate any challenges that may arise along the way.