Congratulations are in order – if you’re reading this, you’ve likely come to the decision that you want to invest in your smile, and hey, making decisions as an adult is tough, so go you! Unfortunately, usually making one decision really just means your lining up for a bunch more choices that need to be made, and that is definitely true when it comes to adult orthodontics.
However, navigating the world of adult orthodontics doesn’t need to be a pain in the teeth. In fact, with our help, you’ll be able to understand all of your options when it comes to adult orthodontics and ultimately make the right choice for you. Here, we weigh the pros and cons of each of your options to provide you a well-rounded wealth of information to base a decision off of. Let’s get started!
What type of braces is best for adults?
Choosing the best braces for adults comes down to a few factors. When investing a lot of money into something like adult braces, patients want a combination of cost-effectiveness, quick treatment time, and aesthetically pleasing. To nail this tooth holy trinity, you have to know what the full range of options is.
What it boils down to are the four basic types of braces for adults: traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners. While each treatment method is effective, there are some staggering details that set them apart from each other worth weighing out.
Traditional metal braces are probably the first thing you picture when you think of braces. Because of their simple and effective design, they are the most affordable. They are comprised of visible brackets and wires which are routinely tightened by an Orthodontist in order to move teeth slowly over time.
Ceramic braces operate much like traditional braces. The only difference is the “brackets” are ceramic colored and therefore blend into natural teeth color to create a less visible look. Unfortunately, ceramic braces are prone to discoloration and can sometimes have unsightly stains (say goodbye to coffee) It also means that they can end up costing slightly more.
Lingual braces are like traditional ones as well; only they are “flipped.” Instead of going on the front side of teeth, they are behind teeth, and therefore the most expensive. While they are technically invisible, they come in direct contact with the tongue and are not very comfortable. Also, they aren’t as effective and are hard to keep clean.
Clear aligners are the least visible option and are much more self-driven. After initial check-ups and 3D scans to determine treatment, all a patient needs to do is change their trays every two weeks. The aligners will move the teeth a few millimeters every two weeks and will ultimately lead to a straight smile is typically just a few months.
Within the umbrella of clear aligners, there are a variety of ways to go. Choosing a clear aligner provider involves some research. There are two basic categories clear aligner braces fall into. First, there are direct to consumer models that have little dental professional involvement. What will happen is after the initial scans are medical professionals’ step back, and you manage the pre-prescribed treatment on your own.
Then there are brands like Invisalign which have heavy doctor involvement – meaning you’ll make several progress trips to the orthodontist. And then there are brands like Dandy that offer a healthy balance between the two. Medical professionals are consulted from the get-go, and you aren’t required to make several trips to the office. You simply send progress photos to your doctor, and if there are issues, there is the ability to go in and visit them.
Are braces more expensive for adults?
While all of that is important to consider, what concerns consumers most is how much treatment is going to run them. Braces are undoubtedly an expense, but one that is worth it for so many reasons. On average, when it comes down to dollars and cents, adults will pay more than children for braces, and roughly it is around $200 more.
The cost of braces is entirely dependent on what type of braces you choose and your personal treatment plan. Typically, the cheapest adult braces are the traditional kind. You’ll pay slightly more for ceramic and lingual, respectively, and clear aligners can run anywhere from $1,800 to $8,000, depending on what type of provider is chosen and what kind of treatment is needed. Things that and rack up expenses are health issues dentists uncover during initial consultations. But in general, if teeth are healthy, expenses stay fairly capped to that bracket.
Does insurance cover braces for adults?
The good news is, insurance can cover braces for adults — but coverage can be tricky, especially if it is a purely cosmetic decision. How much is dependent on a variety of factors, but in general dental insurance can cover part of your journey to a straighter smile.
One might assume that your coverage choices might be limited to the most economical type of braces (i.e., traditional). However, providers of clear aligners like Dandy and Invisalign work with real dental professionals, which opens up the determination for medical necessity and, therefore, could lead to better insurance coverage. The key is to really make sure that you get a thorough evaluation by a medical professional so that not only does your insurance coverage kick in but that your smile is taken care of far beyond just aesthetics.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to investing in adult orthodontics. Digesting this information is key.
When you look at the options and really take a true look at the pros and cons, there is a way to marry aesthetics, effectiveness, and cost-consciousness. The most important thing to take away from all of this? No matter what the cost or time or aesthetic, you have to do what is right for your own healthy, beautiful smile.