At 38, I am considering getting orthodontic braces.
Are there advantages for a person my age to get them? Orthodontic braces have many advantages at any age. The advantages depend on the reasons you are getting them. If you have crowded teeth that need straightening, the advantages are twofold. Not only would your smile improve, but it would also be easier to keep your teeth clean. Orthodontic braces would eliminate spaces where debris can hide. Studies have shown straightening your teeth dramatically decreases the amount of bacteria in your mouth.
If you have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems, straightening your teeth could resolve them. Symptoms of headaches, muscle pain and stress in the joint area could be relieved. Correcting the bite and allowing the teeth to fit better can take away the neuromuscular response that triggers grinding and/or clenching.
If you have any spectrum of sleep disordered breathing or sleep apnea, orthodontics can help relieve this. When orthodontic treatment is used to expand the upper and lower arches, it makes room for the tongue. This also pulls on the muscles in a way that opens up the airway, allowing air to move more freely.
It is best for your dentist to do an evaluation and determine any factors you are trying to correct to know how orthodontics would benefit you in more ways than just aesthetically.