Alternatives to Adult Braces: 3 Ways to Straighten Your Teeth

Published on September 20, 2017 | News

When you think of braces, you probably recall having them as a teenager. Even if you didn’t have them yourself, you most likely had a friend or two who did.

But orthodontics aren’t just for kids — in 2014 alone, 1.5 million orthodontics patients in North America were over the age of 18.

From cosmetic reasons to better oral health, there are many reasons why adults need orthodontic tooth-straightening. And now that it’s 2017, there are many alternatives to classic metal braces for adults to straighten their teeth.

Here’s why adults need braces, and the pros and cons of alternative options to metal braces.

Reasons Why Adults Need Braces

Fix crooked or crowded teeth: Some adults never had braces when they were younger, so they need to fix issues that have weren’t addressed when they were younger. But there’s more to it than just wanting a straight smile.

Studies have found that people with straight, bright smiles are considered more attractive, and physically attractive people make more money.

Even if you did have braces as a child, teeth can shift — especially if you’re not a stickler about using your retainer. And if you have a severe case of gum disease, your teeth may become loose and move around slightly.

Braces aren’t just to fix crooked teeth: Some adults need braces to do more than fix misplaced teeth.

  • Overbite/underbite/crossbite/openbite
  • Incorrect jaw position
  • Jaw joint disorders
  • Headaches and earaches that are linked to the mouth or jaw
  • Speaking problems
  • Difficulty biting or chewing

Alternative Options for Adult Braces

Today, there are more options than just traditional metal braces. Each has its own set of pros and cons.


Your orthodontist fits your mouth to create plastic trays that fit over your teeth. Each tray is molded differently, so you progress through the trays as your teeth become straighter.

  • Pros: not noticeable; removable, so you can take it out to eat, brush, floss, etc. as needed; removability also means there are no restrictions on what you can eat
  • Cons: more easily misplaced because they’re removable; they won’t work for all cases; typically more expensive; may take longer than other types of braces

Lingual braces

Lingual, or concealed, braces are the same as metal braces, except the brackets are attached behind your teeth.

  • Pros: not visible from the outside
  • Cons: not as effective; cost more than regular braces; may irritate tongue; can cause speech problems


Retainers are removable, custom-fit devices made of plastic and metal. If you only need to close gaps between teeth or move a single tooth, retainers can be an effective solution.

  • Pros: removable for eating
  • Cons: can’t address all crooked teeth issues

Learn more about the benefits of Invisalign and find out if it’s right for you >

Brought to you by Access Dental. Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. You should always consult a licensed professional when making decisions concerning dental care. #2017-45782 (exp. 9/19)

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