Am I Too Old for Invisalign? 4 Common Concerns Explained

Although it’s common to hear that childhood is the best time to invest in Invisalign or other traditional brace options, it’s becoming increasingly popular for adults to seek orthodontic treatment as well. That being said, the topic of adult braces sparks discussion about whether they are worth the wait and leads to concerns about effectiveness, appearance, cost, time commitment, and much more. Below, the top four concerns of adult Invisalign are addressed.

Is it Too Late to Fix My Smile?

The most researched concern in regards to adult orthodontics is whether age affects the effectiveness of Invisalign. Many believe there is an age limit to fixing your smile. This can be a valid concern when considering the health problems of older adults versus children who opt into orthodontic treatment, but for the most part, is not true. In contrast, investing in orthodontic treatments like Invisalign can solve or prevent cosmetic problems and more like malocclusion (bad bite), facial pain, tooth decay, and gum disease. However, there are some key age-related considerations that could factor into treatment the older you become.

  • It’s more common to suffer from gingivitis infections, having insufficient bone between the roots, or marginal bone loss as an adult
  • Some structural change is not possible due to lack of bone growth
  • It may be necessary to see a periodontist in addition to a dentist and orthodontist to monitor concerns like bone loss
  • Tooth realignment may take longer due to the aging of tissue

While your orthodontist will keep these variables in mind, it’s important to remember that you are never too old for treatment. The truth is, the majority of older patients transition through braces just as seamlessly as their younger counterparts and age is rarely a deciding factor!

How Will I Look?

Another large concern for older orthodontic patients is their appearance. Many are conscious that it’s not as common to see adults with braces and shy away from treatment later on in life as a result. Others find the look of traditional brackets clunky and unappealing. With that said, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five patients are over the age of 18, making adult braces much more common than previously thought. Also, choosing Invisalign over traditional options offers solutions to many appearance concerns. Invisalign’s clear plastic aligners allow for discreet orthodontic treatment unlike traditional brackets and typically can go unseen from a talking distance.

In addition, Invisalign trays are removable and can be taken out for up to two hours per day if needed. Learn more about the pros and cons of Invisalign and remember that many others are in the same situation.

Do Braces Cost More the Older You Get?

For various reasons, including lack of dental insurance or access to affordable care, many attribute cost as the reason they weren’t able to get braces at a young age. Understandably, price is even more important for adult patients as they want to make sure it was worth the wait. A common concern patients take into consideration is whether adult treatment plans are more or less affordable than getting treatment as a child. In truth, adult treatment plans are consistently higher, but in most cases only by a small margin. The average difference in cost is only 3.6%, meaning that adults can expect to pay between $156 and $211 more than a child who receives the same treatment. This can be for a variety of reasons like the type of braces being bought, if the time commitment is different, etc.

As far as the difference in price between Invisalign and traditional brackets, it’s a myth that Invisalign costs substantially more. In reality, the average cost of an Invisalign treatment plan is between $3,000 and $8,000, while the average cost of a traditional metal bracket plan is between $3,000 and $6,000. In addition, Invisalign is actually more affordable than other discreet options, such as Lingual braces (that are installed behind the teeth) which cost between $8,000 and $10,000.

Does Age Impact Length of an Invisalign Treatment Plan?

Although every treatment plan is different, there are average time commitments for each type of braces to consider. For traditional braces, it’s most common to see patients from a period of 18 months to 3 years. For Invisalign, because the aligners are meant for more mild cases, that time is only between 6-18 months. Thankfully, most adult cases are within those averages. Situations in which that time may be longer could include some of the health concerns listed above, such as aging of tissue and lack of bone growth.

How To Know If Invisalign is Right For Me

The best way to figure out if Invisalign is the right next step for you is to set up a consultation. By setting up an appointment, you’ll receive professional advice on the best course of action for your personal needs. At Tower Dental Associates, we offer a free consultation for patients without insurance, where eligibility and next steps can be discussed. Check out our other information on Invisalign and contact us to make an appointment!