Orthodontic treatment is no longer limited to children and teenagers. Advancements in orthodontics and a growing emphasis on oral health and aesthetics now allow adults of all ages to seek orthodontic work to improve their smiles. However, age can play a role in the treatment process and outcomes. In this article, we will explore the impact of age on getting orthodontic work and what you can expect at different stages of life.

Children and teens

Orthodontic treatment during childhood and adolescence is commonly recommended because the jaw is still growing, making it easier to guide teeth into the necessary positions. Early intervention can help correct crowded teeth, bite issues and misalignments. By addressing these problems earlier, orthodontists have a higher chance of preventing potential issues from getting worse in adulthood. 

Children and adolescents also tend to be more compliant with treatment, making it easier to achieve desired results. Adults don’t necessarily have their parents haranguing them to keep their oral health in check. 

Young adults

If a child doesn’t receive orthodontic care, young adulthood is your next best option for fixing any issues that may impact your oral health. Young adults can still benefit from orthodontic work, often just as much. In fact, many people in their late teens and early twenties choose this time to pursue orthodontic treatment. 

The jaw is more mature at this age but is still adaptable enough to allow substantial tooth movement. Options such as braces, invisible aligners or lingual braces can effectively correct alignment issues and improve the smile’s overall appearance.


According to the American Association of Orthodontists, 1 in 3 orthodontic patients is an adult. More and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment to address long-standing alignment issues or to improve their smile aesthetics. 

Age is not necessarily a barrier to orthodontic work. However, adults may have additional considerations, such as existing dental work, gum disease or bone density problems. An orthodontist or dentist can conduct a thorough evaluation to help determine the most suitable treatment options. 

Depending on their needs and preferences, adults may choose between traditional braces, clear aligners or other orthodontic appliances.

Older adults

Many older adults avoid orthodontic care because they think the problems are too severe or don’t feel they have enough time left to truly enjoy the results. Orthodontic treatment for older adults can be successful, although certain factors should be considered. Bone density decreases with age, which means the treatment process may take longer than for younger patients. Older adults may also have a higher risk of periodontal disease or other oral health issues that must be addressed before orthodontic treatment begins. 

In some cases, a multidisciplinary approach involving collaboration between orthodontists and other dental specialists may be necessary to achieve the desired outcome. Ultimately, orthodontic care for older adults may end up being a long process – but it will improve overall oral health, and it’s never too late for that.

Bottom line

Notably, age is only one factor to consider when determining eligibility for orthodontic treatment. Each person’s oral health, tooth alignment and treatment goals are unique, and a comprehensive evaluation by an orthodontist is necessary to determine the best course of action. Whether your parents are making you get braces, you’re now able to afford how much aligners cost or you’re finally making an orthodontic care decision in your retirement, there is usually a solution that will work for you.