Is it Ever Too Late to Straighten Your Teeth?

For most people, wearing dental braces is a something you do in your teenage years; for many of us the treatment may not have been offered or we were too ‘cool’ to have braces all those years ago.

Braces being a “teenage” thing is now a subject of the past, as an overwhelming number of adults make the move to seek help from the orthodontist for misaligned or crooked teeth. We explore if there is an age limit to orthodontic treatment – and what it’s like to wear braces as an adult.

Too Old For the Orthodontist?

Definitely not! The oldest patient currently undergoing treatment at a West London orthodontist clinic is 76 years old. They have demonstrated incredible progress with their orthodontic, Invisalign treatment.

In fact, the number of adult patients seeking treatment is on the increase.

The most important factor is the health of the teeth and gums. All patients planning to undergo orthodontic treatment must have healthy teeth and gums, before starting their brace treatment. This means no active gum disease and no active tooth decay, alongside being able to maintain excellent oral hygiene.

As long as the teeth and gums are healthy, age is not a barrier for orthodontic brace treatment.

Braces for Adults

Generally, brace treatment to straighten teeth in adults does not vary too much from orthodontic treatment for children. All the brace options are available; however, not all may be suitable, as this depends on the current condition of your teeth and ‘bite’. Many adults favour discrete braces. Although, if moving teeth is required, then it is essential you are assessed accordingly by a specialist.

Understanding Orthodontic Treatment for Adults

The main difference is the fact we do not have the growth and development of the jaws and teeth. This may result in different treatment options, and treatment time may be longer, especially if it is necessary to remove teeth.

Orthodontists often see adults who may have had brace treatment as a child and the teeth have relapsed over time. This is often due to not having retainers fitted and therefore the teeth have moved back over the years. Treating relapsed cases is quite complex as they may have had previous extractions, arch narrowing, ‘bite’ problems, and you can only work with ‘what’s left in the mouth’.

With some adults, they may have missing teeth, or orthodontic treatment is needed to move the teeth into the right position to allow implants or bridges to be fitted. To allow implants or bridges to be placed, the teeth and their roots must be straight with adequate space to fit an implant or bridge.

If you are planning on having an implant or a bridge, it is important that you are assessed by the orthodontist, implantologist and dentist to ensure that your treatment is planned and your whole dental team is working together to achieve the same goal. If you are considering changing your existing bridge, again it is important to have an orthodontic assessment if recommended by your dentist – as the teeth can be moved and the new bridge fitted to your new smile.

Improving “Overbites” and “Underbites”

Adults often seek orthodontic treatment who have had previous gum disease (periodontal disease) and the gums have receded. Often with gum problems, there is associated gum recession and ‘drifting’ of the teeth which can result in gaps between the teeth or the teeth moving forwards (sticking out). Orthodontic treatment with Invisalign or fixed braces can move the teeth and straighten them to improve the appearance and often the ‘bite’.

As long as the orthodontic treatment is carried out carefully with gentle pressure, there is little increased risk to the gums. During treatment, it is important to maintain your regular “cleaning” visits with your dentist or hygienist. If there is active dental decay or active gum disease, this must first be treated by your dentist. Once the teeth are healthy and stable, brace treatment can be carried out.

With proper brace treatment to get the teeth straightened effectively, adults can have an amazing smile without having to resort to veneers, which can be more destructive to the enamel.

Dr Kyi has considerable experience in all brace and teeth straightening options from working in multiple world class London hospitals. Additionally, she has vast experience handling complex cases and in working with patients, who having been declined treatment elsewhere, after being simply told to ‘accept the teeth’. 

Dr Kyi is also a top Platinum provider of Invisalign which is a removable brace system allowing you to enjoy all your healthy foods and maintain excellent oral hygiene – the bonus point is that it is virtually invisible. Dr Kyi has vast experience with complex cases and with patients, who have been declined treatment elsewhere, after being informed to ‘accept the teeth’. 

Find out more at and email us at or call on 020 8222 8760 for enquiries. 

Follow @WeLCOMeOrthodontics on Facebook and Dr Chaw-Su Kyi on Instagram @drchawsukyi to learn how the clinic has helped create smiling faces all across the UK. 

See Also:

Tips for Healthy Teeth 

Safeguarding Oral Health

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