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A comprehensive guide to adult orthodontics

Explore the benefits of adult orthodontic treatment. Learn how aligning teeth can improve aesthetics and oral function.

Considering orthodontics as an adult? You’re not alone! Orthodontic treatment isn't just for teenagers anymore. A growing number of adults are discovering the benefits of correcting their dental alignment issues. Whether you're a clear aligner enthusiast, an Aspen Dental patient or curious about Motto® clear aligners, this guide is tailored for you. We’ll explore why orthodontic treatment can be a valuable investment in your smile and overall health at any age.

Infographic titled "Conditions that require orthodontic treatment" showing four conditions: crowded teeth, overbite/underbite, gaps between teeth, and misalignment.

Conditions that require orthodontic treatment for adults

More adults than ever are exploring teeth straightening options nowadays. And not just for aesthetic reasons. Misaligned teeth can cause a whole bunch of different health issues. Some of these issues are:

Crowded teeth

A common issue we see is crowded teeth, where lack of space leads to challenges in maintaining oral hygiene, thereby increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Crowded teeth are not merely a cosmetic concern; it's a matter of health. Ensuring your teeth are properly aligned helps both your smile and your overall oral health.

Overbite or underbite

Misalignment, such as an overbite or underbite, can cause uneven wear on your teeth and potentially lead to issues with your jaw joint.

Gaps between teeth

While gaps between teeth may be seen primarily as an aesthetic issue, they can also impact the functionality of your teeth.

General misalignment

Improper alignment can affect chewing and speaking and may lead to greater stress on certain teeth. And if your teeth aren't lined up right, it can make chewing and talking harder, not to mention it puts more pressure on some of your teeth.

Remember, pursuing orthodontic treatment as an adult is not just about obtaining an aesthetically pleasing smile (although, who doesn’t want that also, right?). It's a step towards improving your dental health and, by extension, your quality of life. Our goal is to guide you through this journey, providing clear, accessible information and support every step of the way. Your health, confidence and well-being are at the heart of what we do at Motto®.

Why should you consider adult orthodontics?

Opting for orthodontic treatment as an adult can dramatically improve your oral health and aesthetics. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of periodontal disease and cavities. Additionally, a straight, engaging smile can significantly boost your self-esteem and enhance your social and professional interactions. You’ll feel free and empowered to flash that gorgeous smile of yours with confidence!

Left panel shows a smiling man with glasses on yellow background. Right panel shows a smiling teenager with headphones on a blue background. Text above reads "ADULTS VS TEENS."

Orthodontic treatment for adults versus teens

Adult orthodontics differs from treatment in teens in a few key ways. Firstly, adult bones have stopped growing, complicating some corrections and potentially extending the duration of treatment. Unlike teens, adults are more prone to have a history of dental issues such as tooth decay, fillings or extractions, which can impact the choice of treatment options. Furthermore, adults may also have other dental conditions like gum disease or bone loss, which can affect orthodontic procedures and outcomes.

Lifestyle factors play a significant role as well. Adults are often in professional environments or have social engagements that make them more conscious about the aesthetic aspects of orthodontic treatment. This concern has led to the popularity of less visible treatment options, such as clear aligners and ceramic braces.

Additionally, the commitment to attending regular appointments and adhering to treatment protocols may be challenging due to busy schedules or family responsibilities.

Despite these differences, advancements in orthodontic technology and techniques offer effective and easy solutions for nearly every adult condition. From traditional braces to innovative clear aligners, there are options designed to suit various lifestyles and treatment needs. Adults considering orthodontic treatment should have a thorough discussion with their dentist or orthodontist. Our Aspen Dental professionals can provide personalized advice based on an individual’s unique dental history, current condition and treatment goals.

If you’re considering starting your own smile transformation journey, give our Smile Assessment a try to see if clear aligners are right for you.

A collage shows four types of orthodontic treatments: metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and Motto® clear aligners. Each type is demonstrated on a different person's teeth in individual close-up images.

Types of orthodontic treatments

Traditional metal braces

The most common type, effective for severe issues. 

  • Pros: Highly effective.

  • Cons: Visible, can be uncomfortable.

Ceramic braces

Similar to metal braces but with tooth-colored brackets. 

  • Pros: Less noticeable than metal braces.

  • Cons: More expensive, brackets can stain.

Lingual braces

Placed behind the teeth, invisible from the front.

  • Pros: Invisible from the outside.

  • Cons: Can be more uncomfortable, difficult to clean.

Motto® clear aligners

Clear and removable, easy to pop in and out

  • Pros: Tailored treatment plans, less visible, more comfortable than traditional options and the most cost-effective option.¹

  • Cons: Easy to forget to put back in after eating and brushing.

Considering the variety of options available, Motto® stands out as the best choice for adults seeking orthodontic treatment, blending effectiveness with aesthetics, comfort and cost. It's important to remember to consult with your dentist or orthodontist before choosing an orthodontic treatment that works for you.

¹The average price of Invisalign is about $5,040 and the average cost of braces is about $3000 - 7000.

Social stigmas surrounding adult orthodontics

Despite the significant benefits of orthodontic treatment for adults, including improved dental health and self-confidence, social stigmas still persist. Many adults feel self-conscious about the idea of wearing braces, concerned about the impact on their professional and personal image. However, braces are no longer the only option for achieving a perfect smile.

Motto® clear aligners only at Aspen Dental presents an innovative solution that addresses these concerns head-on. With Motto®'s discreet and effective teeth alignment treatments, adults can now enjoy the benefits of orthodontics without the traditional metal braces. Our state-of-the-art technology ensures a comfortable and virtually invisible treatment experience, making it easier than ever to correct your smile without compromising your lifestyle.

Don't let social stigmas hold you back from achieving the smile you've always wanted. With Motto®, you can embrace orthodontic treatment with confidence and enjoy the lifelong benefits of a healthier, more beautiful smile.

Portrait of Dr. Payam Ataii on the right with his quote on the left stating 'Clear aligners like Motto are the obvious choice for most adults - they can be taken on and off, results are seen quickly in mild to moderate cases and they're nearly invisible.'

Why choose Motto®

Motto® offers a revolutionary approach to orthodontics, blending the latest in dental technology with an unwavering commitment to patient satisfaction. Our unique approach ensures not just transformative dental outcomes, but a smoother, more comfortable journey towards your perfect smile.

So, why Motto®?

"Clear aligners like Motto are the obvious choice for most adults - they can be taken on and off, results are seen quickly in mild to moderate cases, and they're nearly invisible," says Dr. Payam Ataii, Senior Vice President of Orthodontic Support at Aspen Dental. "By being able to take them off, clear aligners can also be beneficial to patients who struggle with inflamed gums. They're able to brush and floss normally and clean their aligners more thoroughly, unlike traditional braces."

Motto® challenges the status quo by combining the effectiveness of traditional orthodontics with the aesthetic and comfort advantages of modern innovations.

Additional benefits and perks of Motto®:


Motto® at Aspen Dental offers tailored treatment plans with clear aligners to meet your unique smile goals.


You’ll achieve faster results with clear aligners, leveraging cutting-edge technology for shorter treatment times.² See improvements and a straighter smile in 6 months or less. 


Motto® clear aligners are more affordable than other brands, making your path to a straighter smile more accessible without compromising quality.³


Enjoy the ease of virtual check-ins through MottoMonitoring™, minimizing office visits while ensuring your treatment is on track.


Exclusively available at Aspen Dental, Motto® clear aligners come with the convenience of all-under-one-roof care, streamlining your treatment process while offering you comprehensive dental care. With over 1,100+ Aspen Dental offices and walk-ins appointments welcomed, getting the straighter smile you’ve always dreamed of is easier than ever.

Health enhancement

Clear aligners make maintaining oral hygiene simpler, leading to better dental health. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, enhancing your overall oral health.

Confidence boost

Experience a significant boost in confidence with a radiant and straight smile, thanks to Motto®. Elevate your self-esteem and lifestyle with every smile.

²Average Motto patient treatment plan lasts 5.4 months. Results may vary. Mean treatment time with traditional braces is 19.9 months. Data on file.

³The average price of Invisalign is about $5,040 and the average cost of braces is about $3000 - 7000.

A woman with curly hair is holding a clear aligner towards the camera, smiling. The background features shelves with jars and containers.

The benefits of orthodontics for adults

Orthodontic treatment is not just for kids or teenagers; it offers a multitude of health and aesthetic benefits for adults as well. One of the primary advantages of undergoing orthodontic treatment in adulthood is the promotion of healthier gums. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of periodontal disease and improving oral hygiene overall.

Misaligned teeth can often lead to common dental problems, such as cavities and tooth wear, due to the difficulty in maintaining proper cleanliness and uneven stress on certain teeth. Orthodontic treatment can decrease the possibility of these issues, contributing to a healthier mouth and stronger teeth.

Beyond the health benefits, the aesthetic and psychological impacts of orthodontic treatment are profound. A straight and properly aligned smile boosts confidence significantly, helping you feel more like yourself in social and professional settings. The psychological uplift from feeling good about one's smile cannot be overstated. Dental health is part of mental health and affects every aspect of life, from personal relationships to professional opportunities. 

Moreover, correcting misalignments can lead to substantial improvements in bite and jaw alignment. This not only contributes to a more symmetrical and appealing appearance but also enhances functional aspects such as eating and speaking. Many adults who undergo orthodontic treatment report a notable improvement in their comfort during meals and clarity in speech, which, in turn, boosts their quality of life.

How much do teeth straightening treatments for adults cost?

The cost of adult orthodontic treatment varies depending on the type and duration of treatment chosen. Traditional braces, clear aligners like Motto®, and lingual braces are among the options, each with different price points. Consultation with an orthodontist can provide you with detailed cost estimates.

How long do teeth straightening treatments for adults take?

Treatment times vary based on the severity of misalignment and the chosen treatment method. Generally, adult orthodontic treatments can take anywhere from six months to a few years. Your orthodontist can give you a better estimate after assessing your individual case.

Is adult orthodontic treatment painful?

While orthodontic treatments involve some discomfort, especially after adjustments, it's generally manageable. Many adult patients find the discomfort minor and well worth the benefits of the treatment.

Can I get teeth straightening solutions if I have dental issues like gum disease or missing teeth? 

Yes, but these issues need to be addressed and stabilized before beginning orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist and dentist will work together to ensure your mouth is healthy enough for braces or aligners.

What is the best teeth straightening solution for adult orthodontics?

The best treatment depends on your unique needs and lifestyle. Clear aligners are popular among adults due to their discreet nature and convenience. However, traditional braces might be more effective for complex issues. Consulting with an orthodontist will help determine the best approach for you.

A woman smiles near an open teeth aligner case with the words "Put your best face forward" written inside the case lid.

Get the smile of your dreams with Motto®

Choosing to pursue orthodontic treatment as an adult can be a life-changing decision. With the advancements in orthodontic technology and the wide range of options available, achieving a healthy, beautiful smile is more accessible than ever. Whether you're considering traditional braces or exploring the convenience of Motto® clear aligners, the first step is to consult with a professional who can guide you through your options and help you understand what to expect throughout your orthodontic journey.

Remember, it's never too late to invest in your smile and oral health, no matter your age. The road to a confident, radiant smile begins with a single step. Pop into your nearest Aspen Dental office today to begin your smile transformation!

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