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Is it OK to get braces twice?

Getting braces twice is often necessary for some people to achieve their ideal smile. While orthodontic treatment with braces is usually a one-time event, there are several reasons why someone may need to get braces again later in life.

When are second rounds of braces needed?

Here are some of the most common reasons people may need braces again after already having them once as a teenager:

  • The original treatment did not fully correct the underlying issues. For example, braces may have straightened teeth but did not properly align the bite. Crooked teeth or a bad bite can relapse if not fully fixed.
  • Not wearing retainers as prescribed after the first round of braces. Retainers keep teeth in their new positions. Without continued retainer wear, teeth can shift back towards their original crooked positions.
  • Major oral health changes. Losing teeth, jaw growth, or jaw trauma from accidents can alter alignment later in life, requiring braces again.
  • Extraction of wisdom teeth. This can cause crowding and changes to your bite.

Even if you wore your retainers faithfully after your first orthodontic treatment, shifts in the bones and gums over decades can undo the results. Our mouths change as we age, and a second round of braces in adulthood can address these new issues.

What are the benefits of getting braces again as an adult?

Getting braces again later in life has several benefits:

  • Better oral health: Crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth are harder to keep clean and lead to more decay and gum disease. Straight teeth are easier to brush and floss.
  • Easier eating: Correctly aligned teeth make chewing easier and more effective.
  • Speech improvements: Spacing issues can cause lisping, mumbling, or whistling sounds in speech. Well-aligned teeth improve speech clarity.
  • TMJ relief: Fixing misaligned bites reduces strain on the jaw joints, relieving TMJ pain.
  • Confidence: Straighter teeth give adults a reason to smile proudly.

While braces take commitment, adults who get them again often say the benefits are worth the time and expense.

What are the different types of braces available?

Today’s orthodontic technologies give adults a choice of effective and discreet braces, including:

  • Traditional metal braces: Stainless steel brackets and wires offer comprehensive alignment capabilities at an affordable cost.
  • Clear aligners: Popular options like Invisalign use a series of clear, removable plastic trays to gradually shift teeth. Nearly invisible.
  • Ceramic braces: Brackets match the natural tooth color for a more subtle look than metal.
  • Lingual braces: Brackets attach to the tongue-facing side of teeth so they remain hidden.
  • Self-ligating braces: Use clips instead of elastic bands to hold the archwire in place. May reduce friction and need for adjustments.

An orthodontist will recommend the type most suitable for your situation. Cosmetic preference is also a consideration, as adults often prefer low-profile clear aligners or ceramic braces.

How long will I need to wear braces the second time?

The length of treatment when getting braces again as an adult can vary based on:

  • The severity of the issues needing correction.
  • Your tooth/jaw anatomy.
  • The type of braces used.
  • How well you keep up with orthodontic appointments for adjustments.

Less comprehensive cases may only take 6-12 months of active treatment. More complex spacing or bite issues can require 18-24 months to fully correct as an adult. Clear aligners often have shorter overall treatment times of one year or less.

How much will a second round of braces cost?

Like the first time, braces are an investment. Fees are based on:

  • How long treatment takes.
  • The type of braces used.
  • Where you live.

According to the American Dental Association, the average cost of adult braces in 2022 ranges between $3,000 – $7,000. Clear aligners usually fall at the higher end of that range. Dental insurance may cover a portion of orthodontic treatment if it is medically necessary.

What are the potential risks or complications?

Possible issues to be aware of when getting braces again as an adult include:

  • Tooth decay: More plaque buildup around braces needs diligent hygiene.
  • Gum disease: Inflammation can occur if plaque isn’t removed.
  • Root resorption: Shortening of tooth roots. A rare side effect.
  • Jaw joint pain: Existing TMJ issues may worsen.
  • Relapse: Teeth can shift back after braces without retainers.

Following your orthodontist’s at-home care instructions minimizes these risks. Regular dental cleanings and checkups are also recommended during treatment.

Am I too old for braces a second time?

There is no upper age limit for braces! Even seniors in their 60s, 70s, or beyond can benefit from straightening their teeth. As we age, teeth misalignments leading to problems like painful chewing, TMJ, and loose teeth become more of a concern.

While younger teens’ mouths are still growing and developing, adult treatments focus more on correcting longstanding issues than preventing them. Custom-designed braces and treatment plans address an adult’s unique orthodontic problems.

Should I consider clear aligners instead?

Clear aligners like Invisalign are a popular choice for adults getting braces again. Benefits include:

  • Removable plastic trays for eating, brushing, flossing.
  • Virtually invisible on teeth.
  • May have shorter treatment times.
  • Allows for some limited teeth movement after treatment.

Aligners are better suited for mild to moderate (not severe) crowding and spacing. They cost more than traditional braces. Discuss clear aligner suitability with an orthodontist if interested.

How can I make braces more comfortable?

Braces can cause soreness and irritation, especially at first. Ways to ease discomfort include:

  • Oral pain relievers (acetaminophen, ibuprofen).
  • Orthodontic wax to smooth over rough edges.
  • Saltwater rinses to soothe irritated gums.
  • Soft foods until your mouth adjusts.
  • Over-the-counter topical anesthetics.

Any extreme pain, bleeding, or ulcerations should be reported to your orthodontist promptly.

Do I still need retainers after?

Lifelong retainer wear is mandatory after braces to prevent teeth from shifting back. Options include:

  • Removable retainers: Worn only at night. Easy to take out for cleaning.
  • Bonded retainers: Thin wires permanently glued to the backs of teeth. Less removable, may last longer.

For a second round of braces, most orthodontists recommend full-time clear retainer wear for the first year, then nightly wear thereafter. Skipping retainers guarantees the need for braces again down the road.


Getting braces again as an adult is a big decision requiring time, money, and commitment. But it may be the right choice if you’re unhappy with tooth alignment issues that arose years after your first orthodontic treatment. With newer types of discreet braces available, it’s easier to fix crooked teeth inconspicuously, even later in adulthood. Discuss any concerns with your orthodontist to determine if a second round of braces could benefit your smile and oral health.