Am I too Old for Braces?

For a long time, braces were considered a teenage rite of passage. Plus, when you think about the braces of even a few decades ago, bulky, shiny metal brackets are probably what come to mind. It’s no wonder that our adult patients often ask us, “Am I too old for braces?” The answer is, absolutely not! 

Today’s braces, even metal braces, are smaller, more streamlined and much more attractive than they were in the past. And, there are options for every smile, including discreet clear braces and Invisalign®. If you’ve been considering getting braces as an adult, there has never been a better time. 

How old is too old for braces?


Adult orthodontics has become increasingly popular. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. And, at Gardner Orthodontics, nearly half of our patients are adults! In fact, many are in their 50s, 60s and 70s. So, how old is too old for braces? The truth is, you’re never too old for braces and orthodontic treatment can improve your oral health and quality of life at any age. 

As long as your teeth and gums are healthy, we can shift them into place using braces or Invisalign whether you’re 16 or 60. Even if you do have oral health concerns, such as tooth decay or gum disease, Dr. Gardner, Dr. La Rochelle and Dr. Tang can coordinate with your dentist or any specialists to help you get to a place where orthodontic treatment will be successful. 

Why are so many people choosing adult orthodontics?


There are a lot of reasons why adults might seek out orthodontic treatment, including:

  1. Receiving a referral from another dental practitioner. Some of our adult braces and Invisalign patients were referred to us by their general dentist who believed orthodontic treatment was necessary to improve their oral health. We also get a lot of referrals from prosthodontists and oral surgeons, as it’s common for adult patients to need orthodontic treatment before getting a dental implant. This is because the remaining teeth can drift into the space left behind by the missing tooth. Braces or clear aligners are then needed to move the teeth back into position to make room for the implant and permanent crown.
  2. Tooth relapse after orthodontic treatment in the past. Whether your teeth shifted, your bite changed after dental work or you forgot to wear your retainer, there are a variety of options when it comes to treating orthodontic relapse. Depending on the severity of your case and your cosmetic goals, these could include a new retainer, a touch-up with limited orthodontic treatment or comprehensive braces or Invisalign treatment.
  3. Getting braces or Invisalign for the first time. It’s not uncommon for people to get braces for the first time as an adult. Maybe you never had the opportunity in your younger years or you didn’t need treatment at the time, but your bite changed with age. Now, as an adult, you’re in a position to get braces or Invisalign and enjoy the cosmetic, oral health and functional benefits of treatment. 


What are the benefits of braces for adults?


There are some serious benefits of braces for adults. Braces and Invisalign can:

  • Create facial symmetry and improve your appearance. At Gardner Orthodontics, we create truly custom smiles for our patients. Our board-certified orthodontists use computerized treatment planning with cutting-edge software to design a smile that complements your lips and unique facial features. Treatment can make your face more symmetrical and help you look your absolute best. 
  • Make your smile look younger. Adult Invisalign and braces treatment can improve the appearance of your teeth and the relationship of your teeth to your lips. By moving the teeth into their ideal places, we’re able to widen your smile, and make your teeth more visible when you smile. Not only that, but having straight, white teeth creates the impression of vitality and good health. 
  • Reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Straight teeth are easier to properly brush and floss, allowing you to remove more plaque. This will reduce your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease and improve your overall oral health. 
  • Help alleviate bite-related TMJ pain and symptoms. For some patients, when your bite is incorrect, the jaw joints have to compensate for the uneven bite force. When your teeth and bite are aligned, your bite forces will be evenly distributed. This will boost the function of your smile and allow your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) to function normally in a neutral position. 
  • Prevent uneven or excessive wear of the enamel.  Crowded or misaligned teeth can lead to an uneven distribution of your bite forces, causing some teeth to wear down faster than others. Aligning teeth into place prevents the teeth from wearing down prematurely. It also corrects excessively protruding teeth, keeping them out of harm’s way so you can avoid a dental injury. 
  • Ward off bone loss and tooth loss. Evenly spaced teeth maintain healthy jaw bones, which prevents the bone from resorbing. This inhibits bone loss and, in turn, tooth loss. 
  • Help you chew and speak properly. When the teeth are where they’re supposed to be, you’ll be able to chew properly and speak more clearly. 
  • Boost your confidence. Having a beautiful smile you love will give you a huge boost of confidence and self-esteem. 

What types of orthodontic problems can be treated?


Adult braces or Invisalign treatment can fix:

  • Crowded, crooked teeth
  • Spacing and gaps between the teeth
  • Excessive overbite (deep bite)
  • Excessive overjet (upper teeth too far forward)
  • Underbite 
  • Crossbite
  • Open bite
  • And more!

What are the orthodontic options for adults?


Whether you just want a minor touch-up or you need comprehensive treatment, at Gardner Orthodontics, we have a variety of orthodontic options for adults, such as:

Conventional Metal Braces

Conventional metal braces are still the most commonly used type of braces worldwide and for good reason: they’re incredibly effective! Metal braces are made of medical-grade stainless steel and consist of brackets and thin, lightweight archwires that are secured in place with tiny elastics or metal ties. Today’s braces are smaller and more comfortable than past versions. 

Conventional Clear Braces

Not into the idea of wearing metal braces as an adult? No problem! Our clear braces also use a system of brackets, wires and elastics, but the ceramic material blends in with your smile. Clear braces are much less noticeable than metal ones.

Self-Ligating Metal Braces

Self-ligating braces feature cutting-edge brackets that are smaller than conventional brackets. They don’t use elastics or metal ties. Instead, the brackets have a slide mechanism that holds the archwires in place.

Self-Ligating Clear Braces

Self-ligating clear braces function in the same way as self-ligating metal braces. They don’t use ties or elastics. With clear ceramic brackets, they’re also more discreet. Self-ligating clear braces are the most popular option among our Richmond adult braces patients. 


If you want to straighten your teeth without braces, you’re in the right place. At Gardner Orthodontics, we’re a Diamond Plus Invisalign Provider, which means we’re among the top 1% of providers nationally and internationally. We have the expertise and case experience to treat adults with Invisalign regardless of how complex their orthodontic concerns are. 

Invisalign involves a series of custom, clear, removable aligners designed exclusively for you by Dr. Gardner, Dr. La Rochelle and Dr. Tang. When comparing Invisalign vs. braces, one of the biggest advantages of Invisalign for adults is that the aligners are virtually invisible. No one will be able to tell you’re in treatment. Additionally, because the aligners are removable, there are no food restrictions and you can continue to brush and floss as you normally would, helping you to maintain your oral health. 

How much do braces and Invisalign cost for adults?

You might be surprised at how affordable braces and Invisalign can be. Your exact braces or Invisalign cost will depend on the severity of your case. When you come in for a complimentary consultation, your Richmond orthodontist will perform an exam and evaluate your diagnostic records. Once they have a diagnosis and personalized treatment plan, they’ll inform you how much your braces or Invisalign will cost. 

At Gardner Orthodontics, we accept most insurance plans and offer flexible financing options, including in-office, no-interest financing. Plus, our cost is all-inclusive, which means it includes your entire treatment, retainers at the end and one year of retainer checks!

Will adult braces or Invisalign treatment fit my lifestyle?


Yes! The team at Gardner Orthodontics is dedicated to making orthodontic treatment fit even the busiest lifestyle. We have two convenient locations in Richmond, flexible scheduling, on-time appointments and high-tech processes.

We even allow our Invisalign patients to check in with us online, so they don’t have to make any unnecessary trips to our office. Virtual care is one of the many ways we strive to maximize convenience for our patients.

Thanks to our extensive, precise digital treatment planning, we map out when and where each individual tooth in your mouth will move, which eliminates unwanted tooth movement and helps you finish treatment faster. 

The Bottom Line

  • How old is too old for braces? We can help you get a healthy, beautiful smile with braces or Invisalign at any age! At Gardner Orthodontics, we have a lot of patients between the ages of 50 and 70. 
  • Adult orthodontics can produce fantastic results. As long as your teeth and gums are healthy, your teeth will move into place whether you’re 16 or 60. 
  • There are a number of important benefits of orthodontic treatment. Getting braces or Invisalign as an adult will improve your oral health, esthetics, and function of your smile.
  • We have a range of orthodontic options for adults, including discreet clear braces and Invisalign. Our practice is also dedicated to making your smile journey convenient, so that it fits your busy lifestyle. 

Ready to find out more about adult orthodontics in Richmond?

Schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation at Gardner Orthodontics today!

Gardner & La Rochelle Orthodontics in Richmond, VA