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What to Know About Adult Braces: The Pros and Cons

  • Adults have to wear braces longer than children: up to 3 years
  • There are many options for braces now, ranging from traditional metal to invisible, ceramic and lingual
  • Insurance sometimes covers braces, which can cost up to $6,000
Posted by May 30, 2018

When you’re figuring out what to know about adult braces, there’s a lot to consider. Having straighter teeth can make a significant difference in a person’s life. But there are also costs in terms of time, money and comfort. But for many adults—one million, in fact—getting braces is a necessary part of life. As an employer, you’ll want to know all the facts about how adult braces work so you can be the best resource possible for your employees. You may even want to consider offering benefits to help offset some of the costs of this important investment.

Why Should an Adult Consider Braces?

Braces aren’t just for adults who never wore them as a teen. Sometimes adults find that the work they had done on their teeth when they were younger isn’t permanent, and now they need braces all over again. This may happen because a person didn’t realize they needed to keep wearing a retainer or it might just happen naturally over the years. Others may have their wisdom teeth come in later in life or need a tooth pulled, causing their teeth to shift. There’s really no age limit to braces. In fact, some dentists have reported treating patients up to the age of 80.

Braces Are Different for Adults

Wearing braces is a little different for adults. Since their teeth are no longer growing, they may need to wear braces longer than teens: from 18 months to three years. They may also need to wear a retainer permanently in order to keep the teeth from shifting back. If your employees are considering braces, have them consult a dentist. They may be referred to an orthodontist depending on the extent of the treatment.

What Type of Braces Can You Choose From?

Nowadays, adults aren’t limited to metal braces, which sometimes feel very conspicuous. Some choose clear aligners that are hard to see and are removable. But despite being removable, you really should wear them 22 hours a day for the best results. These are more expensive than traditional braces, but many adults prefer them. Another option is lingual braces, which are fitted on the back of your teeth instead of the front. Ceramic braces are another option, but these can break easier and may be less comfortable. There are even devices and surgeries that can speed up the treatment process.

How Can Employers Help?

Braces typically cost $5,000 to $6,000 before insurance. Many dental insurance providers will cover at least part of this cost. As an employer, you can offer to pay part or all of your employees’ dental premiums; just ask your insurance broker first if the insurance covers braces. Remember, adult braces don’t just help with a cosmetic problem. Overlapping or crowded teeth can increase chances of tooth decay and gum disease and even cause chewing and swallowing problems, which can lead to bigger issues down the line.

Even if covering dental premiums isn’t in your budget, there are still many things you can do to help employees who get adult braces. For example, you can give your staff time off for appointments to get the braces on and to have adjustments whenever needed. You can also offer snacks in the break room that are “braces friendly.” People wearing braces often need to avoid hard foods, like carrots and nuts, and may also avoid stickier foods like taffy and gum.

When finding out what to know about adult braces, there’s one main thing to keep in mind: be supportive. Braces can be expensive and a big commitment. Show your employees that you’re committed to their health by finding ways to encourage them during this time.

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