Beautiful, straight teeth make a smile even more radiant – and a sympathetic smile is a real trump card, both professionally and privately. But what should you do if your teeth are naturally deformed or develop over time? Are braces also the solution for crooked teeth for adults?
- Adults and even seniors can still have misaligned teeth corrected with braces.
- Usually, however, treatment takes a little longer in adults than in children.
- Statutory health insurance companies usually only cover the costs for braces treatment up to the age of 18. Therefore, good dental insurance for orthodontics can be worthwhile for adults.
When are braces useful for adults?
Just like in children, braces can correct misaligned teeth and, to a lesser extent, jaw anomalies in adults without costly surgery – and achieve better dental health and a balanced load on the jaw through ideal tooth position.
Braces for adults: reasons for treatment
Adults who opt for braces usually choose this orthodontic measure for aesthetic reasons: beautiful teeth are important for radiance and self-confidence. The front incisors are therefore often brought into an ideal position. But also, for example, incorrect loading of the jaw – often with toothache or headache as a result – is a common reason for orthodontic corrections in adults.
Tooth misalignments in adulthood can be congenital or acquired early, but they can also only appear over time. Common reasons for later changes within the dentition that need to be corrected are:
- Displacement of the teeth due to erupting wisdom teeth
- Tooth loss that tilts neighboring teeth into the resulting gap or causes them to grow crooked
- Tooth changes due to incorrect loading, such as teeth grinding
- Teeth wandering due to inflammation of the tooth bed / periodontitis
Up to what age can teeth be corrected with braces?
It is a widespread misconception that tooth correction with braces for adults is associated with higher risks or not possible at all. Although the orthodontic measure in adults may have to be tailored to increasing damage such as missing teeth, dentures, periodontitis or abraded teeth , there is no longer an age limit for braces . Even seniors can have their misaligned teeth corrected with braces. As a rule, however, treatment takes a little longer in adults. Adult patients should expect two to four years with braces, because unlike in children, the teeth in adults are hardly corrected by the growth of teeth and jaws, but purely by mechanical pressure.
In the case of fixed braces, these must be readjusted by the treating orthodontist about every four weeks.
What types of braces are suitable for adults?
There are different treatment approaches to correct misaligned teeth. Two basic approaches can be distinguished:
- The braces as a permanently installed device that remains in the mouth during the treatment time and is readjusted.
- Removable splints, such as the aligners from Invisalign, which can be taken out of the mouth before eating or during oral hygiene and then reinserted afterwards.
Since adult braces patients usually want their braces to be as invisible as possible, there are now particularly inconspicuous treatment systems for them.
Tooth corrections on a small to medium scale
For small to medium-sized tooth corrections, both Invisalign treatment with removable aligners and braces with fixed brackets can be used. Aligners are transparent and extremely thin plastic tooth splints that bring the teeth into the desired position. After the dental impression has been taken, new aligners are manufactured every few weeks with the help of special 3D software. An aligner treatment usually takes nine to 18 months, depending on the misaligned teeth and the patient. During this period, the rails are replaced by new ones three to nine times.
More extensive tooth corrections
Extensive tooth corrections can be carried out most successfully with fixed braces , since the forces can be better dosed and only directed to individual teeth or groups of teeth. For older patients, this method also has the advantage that it is easier to react to severe bone loss, which can occur with increasing age.
With classic braces, small metallic plates, the brackets, are glued to the outside of the tooth and fixed together with wire. Brackets adapted to the tooth color, for example, ensure a more discreet appearance of the braces in adults. The so-called lingual technique is even more discreet: Here the brackets are attached to the inside of the teeth . Such internal braces cannot be seen from the outside, but the formation of S-sounds, in which the tongue touches the incisors from behind, can be impaired, especially at the beginning of the treatment.
Transparent plastic aligners, like the classic fixed braces, usually do not interfere with speaking.
Cost of braces treatment for adults
Individual tooth corrections can be had for as little as 500 euros. However, the cost of full braces for self-payers is usually between 2,500 and around 8,000 euros. Classic braces with brackets on the outside of the teeth are the cheapest. In the midfield are plastic aligners with costs of around 3,500 to 6,000 euros. In the case of lingual braces, the costs can well go up to 8,000 euros and more.
What costs does the insurance cover for braces treatment?
As a rule, the health insurance company only covers the costs for braces treatment to a certain extent up to the age of 18.
Braces for adults are only financially supported by the statutory health insurance in extreme cases and after approval of the cost estimate in a standard version. Exceptions apply to:
- severe congenital jaw abnormalities
- Jaw misalignments due to injuries
- bone-related malocclusions
Statutory health insurance does not pay for all other braces treatments for adults.
Dental insurance is worthwhile
Since the statutory health insurances usually do not cover the costs of braces for adults, additional dental insurance for orthodontics, which covers the majority of the costs, can really be worthwhile here. However, if you are interested, you should carefully compare the insurance company’s tariff conditions.
What is important are the specified waiting times, i.e. the period of time that must pass between the conclusion of the contract and the right to service. Waiting times of around eight months are often common. It is essential to check whether the supplementary dental insurance only pays for orthodontic treatments for which no previous illnesses existed at the start of the insurance. Because for orthodontic treatments of adults, a previous illness can almost always be proven.