When it Comes to Teeth Straightening, How Old is Too Old?

It’s best to start evaluating the need for braces for kids when they are seven years old, according to Mayo Clinic. But what if you didn’t think about undergoing teeth straightening until much later in life? We asked the experts if teeth straightening is safe even if you are over 50 years old.

Is Teeth Straightening After 50 Healthy?

The desire to have a healthy smile and mouth doesn’t go away with age, but seeking treatment to straighten your teeth may cause worry if you are older than 50.

“Teeth straightening is perfectly safe to undergo at any age, from adolescence to geriatrics. Close monitoring is important at any age when orthodontic treatment is being undertaken due to the complex nature of such treatment; it is, however, very safe in a controlled environment,” Olivia Gibson, DDS, a dental surgeon at The Dental People, tells ishonest Connect to Care.

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Regardless of your age, the health of your teeth and mouth is an important factor while evaluating your potential for teeth-straightening procedures. “Some older patients, or even [those] under 50s for that matter, may not be suited to the treatment due to problems such as tooth decay and gum disease,” Gibson says.

One way to straighten teeth is by using clear dental aligners—a series of removable custom-fitted mouthpieces that gradually shift your teeth into place. If you're an adult, your age alone should not be a factor in whether you can or cannot use aligners.

“There are no specific cut-off ages for dental aligners. Case selection is likely to be down to the discretion of the dental professional carrying out the treatment, and indeed their professional experience. Some professionals may not treat children under 18 years of age, but an upper age limit would be unusual unless other health issues were present,” Gibson says.

Tooth and gum health are a couple of factors dental professionals will use when determining your eligibility for teeth straightening.

“Active disease processes like tooth decay and gum disease need to be addressed before any appliance is applied to the teeth," Tiffanie Garrison-Jeter, DMD at Definition Dental Studio, tells ishonest Connect to Care. "Teeth straightening can make undiagnosed dental cavities and gum disease worse, [creating] the potential for tooth loss.”

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“Periodontitis is where you have bone loss around the teeth. If the bone loss continues to a severe state, tooth loss happens. A high percentage of the older population has periodontitis, so it is a concern for orthodontic treatment for the over 50 population,” Garrison-Jeter says.

Harvard Medical School shares other factors to consider when seeking teeth- straightening treatment as an older adult, such as:

  • Because adults' bones have finished growing, you may require surgery for some structural issues.
  • Teeth-straightening may take longer in older patients.
  • You may need to see another dental professional, like a periodontist, to ensure your gums stay healthy throughout treatment.

Start your journey to a more confident smile today!

Straightening your teeth can be easy and affordable. Find out how to get started today. ishonest Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.

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