[DentalFilter] Teeth straightening in late twenties
November 17, 2005 6:09 AM   Subscribe

Hi, I have a slight overbite and a gap in my front teeth and am planning to get it remedied.

I'm 29 and wanted to hear from others who might have undergone something similar later in life. I was tending towards the ' Invisalign' brand of braces. Are they worth it? Any other alternatives? How long and how expensive would an average treatment me. Any hints etc. would be welcome.
posted by sk381 to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I'm recently had an office visit with an orthodontist about what sounds like an identical situation. I'm 25 and went in interested in Invisalign to correct mainly the gap between my two frontmost top teeth.

I learned that Invisalign is only for side-to-side teeth moving, whereas traditional braces correct both side-to-side and overbite issues (which I didn't even know I had...apparently I have a "50% overbite").

However, I was happy to learn that the "real" braces I saw in this particular doctor's office were MUCH improved over the braces I remember as an elementary school kid 15 years ago. No big metal wires, rubber bands holding things together, etc. The only metal part, in fact, were a couple very thin horizontal wires that do the actual work. The hardware affixed to the teeth is available in clear and teeth-colored varieties, which were way more convincing than they sound.

For what it's worth, they were very hard to notice on the receptionist when I was standing more than a foot or two away from the her. It wasn't until after the consultation, where the doctor told me that she was currently "braced", that I even noticed.

So yeah, at least check them out. They don't seem that bad.
posted by porntips guzzardo at 6:30 AM on November 17, 2005

Oh, and as for treatment time, the guy I went to said 1 to 1.5 years. I was expecting 2 or 3. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by this.
posted by porntips guzzardo at 6:32 AM on November 17, 2005

A friend of mine got braces when she was 28. We all thought she was a little weird for doing it, but she *really* wanted them, and she seemed so much happier and more confident when they came off. I stopped noticing them after a few weeks. Then again, I can't say what anybody's first impressions were of her, but she didn't care at all about that (as well she shouldn't have), she had her eyes on the prize.
posted by pazazygeek at 7:14 AM on November 17, 2005

When I was in my late twenties I wore those braces that go on the inside of your teeth so no one can see them. It was just on my bottom teeth and although it was really awful at first, I got used to them.

I stupidly didn't wear the retainer afterwards and my teeth are no longer really straight but they're not bad. If it's something that's bothering you, I say go ahead and do it. Years later when the braces are long gone you'll be glad you did.
posted by gfrobe at 7:26 AM on November 17, 2005

I did braces as an adult and my own experience matches those of everyone who has responded so far. Cost and duration vary according to what needs fixing, but in my case it was about $5000 for 18 months. It was definitely worth it.

Also, in terms of the cost, if your workplace offers a medical savings account, or flexible spending account, this is the perfect use for it. Even if your dental insurance covers braces (rarely), the flex account can defray a great deal of the expenses with pre-tax income. It can make a huge difference.
posted by Verdant at 7:48 AM on November 17, 2005

A friend of ours in her early-thirties had braces. Unfortunately, they ended up "killing" some of her teeth. Of course, this could be an anomaly.
posted by Elpoca at 8:37 AM on November 17, 2005

I'm in my mid 30s and have been in braces for a little over 2 years (almost done, knock wood). This is my second go-around (had them for 2 years when I was 12-14), and I can say that they are, indeed, vastly improved over the medieval torture devices I had in my mouth 20 years ago.

Invisalign wasn't an option for me for various reasons (my entire bite was off significantly -- so much so that I actually had to have surgery as well). So I went with ceramic (clear) braces, and many people have told me that they didn't even realize I was wearing braces in the first place until they looked very closely. The main "cosmetic" issues I had (a big upper gap between a front and a lateral, slight overbite, and a lot of lower crowding) were noticeably improved within the first 6 months; in fact, the lower crowding began to improve within the first couple of weeks.

For some patients, lingual braces are also an option -- they're regular metal brackets, but completely invisible because they're affixed to the back of the teeth. I think these are only an option for certain types of correction, and it would stand to reason that it would certainly affect your speech for awhile more than the other types of braces, but it would be worth asking about.

As for price, my insurance paid for a portion of it, but the overall cost still came to about $5000, which my orthodontist broke into monthly payments over 2 years. I'm sure setting up a payment plan is common practice. And yes, definitely use your flexible spending account at work if you have one! I've seen a big tax savings over the past few years once I started using mine.

One last tip: having braces as an adult can be tough on your gums. Commit to brushing a lot, get a waterpik, and use this to floss. I also see my dentist every 4 months (instead of every 6) for cleaning, just to be on the safe side.

Feel free to email me with any questions. Also take a look at Archwired, which is a site all about getting braces as an adult. Good luck! Sometimes it can be a pain having braces at this age, but I'm
so glad I did it.
posted by scody at 8:56 AM on November 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

I started wearing metal braces 18 months ago (1'm 31) but they made my teeth too mobile so the orthodontist switched me to invisaligns. I like the invisaligns because you dont really see them, you take them out to eat so you dont have annoying bits of food stuck between metal wires, and on the whole is more convenient (specially when kissing!) However, they hurt quite a bit anytime you change the aligners, and takes quite a bit of dedication to wear them all the time. But seeing that it's only about 500 dollars more than the traditional braces, i'm glad i made the switch, and should have gone with invisaligns right from the start!
posted by ramix at 10:32 AM on November 17, 2005

My brother did braces as an adult *twice*. The first time his orthodontist told him to avoid bonding at such a young age and just keep wearing his retainer, which didn't work. His teeth moved apart almost immediately, though they didn't look like lonely gum tombstones anymore, it was still not the perfect smile he coveted. 4 years later he was having invisaligns put in and he got his teeth bonded afterwards. Now he's a happy duckling, but can't use any of the cheap retail whitening solutions because of the bonds. He personally spent about 5 grand, and my parents spent 3-4.

Invisaligns and regular braces both made him talk funny, like he had saliva in the pockets of his mouth behind his bottom teeth. The metal braces had him constantly after the wires with this weird waxy stuff, but he seemed to be in less discomfort with Invisaligns.
posted by xyzzy at 11:37 AM on November 17, 2005

I just spoke with my dentist about the Invisaligns on Tuesday. He told me that a small percentage of people are viable candidates for them, so I would recommend going to an orthodontist that offers both so you can a little less biased opinion.
posted by blackkar at 12:05 PM on November 17, 2005

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