University of Iowa Health Science Relations and
Samir Bishara, B.D.S., DDS, MS
Professor of Orthodontics
First Published: 2000
Last Revised: December 2004
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
If you are self-conscious about your smile, but never had the
opportunity to have your teeth straightened by an orthodontist--take
There's still hope for a beautiful smile no matter what your age,
says a professor at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.
"You are never too old to wear braces," says Dr. Samir Bishara, a
UI professor of orthodontics. As long as your facial bones, gums and teeth
still are healthy, braces can be beneficial at almost any age, he
Although braces are considered a "rite of passage" for teenagers,
more than 20 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults,
according to the American Association of Orthodontists.
In addition to the younger age groups, Bishara treats adults who range in age from 20 to 60-plus years. He says most people wear braces to improve the appearance and function of their teeth.
Some adults postpone orthodontic treatment for many years, for a variety of reasons, including cost or perceived embarrassment of wearing braces, he says.
Crowded teeth and teeth that are misaligned can be improved by
wearing braces, Bishara says. Braces also may act as a "stepping
stone" for other dental work such as bridge work or implants. Orthodontic appliances can move the upper and lower teeth farther apart or closer
together. Orthodontic treatment usually requires from six months to two years, or more, depending on the type of treatment, Bishara says.
In some cases, where the jawbones are misaligned, oral surgery may
be necessary in addition to orthodontic work.
People who wish to learn more about orthodontics should visit
their local dentists.