The stigma of being “too old” for braces has, over the last few years, dwindled quite significantly. While it’s still relatively common to feel some apprehension at the idea of going in for a treatment that has, traditionally, been relegated to the teenage years, a lot of recent developments have made more adults realize that it is never too late to get a beautiful and healthy smile.
In fact, there’s an estimated 1.2 million American adults who are receiving some kind of orthodontic treatment, which works out to about 20% of the total orthodontia patients. This shows some steady growth since 1989, when there was around 875,000 orthodontia patients.
Why It Matters
The simple fact is that straight teeth are easier to care for and clean. When your teeth are nice and straight, you can get at the food and other debris that may be hiding away in your teeth and gums. Straight teeth can also help align your bite, so you aren’t wearing your teeth down unevenly (which can lead to future health problems and various painful situations).
What we’re trying to say is that it’s important to understand that straightening your teeth is about more than just improving your appearance. It is every bit as much about improving your health, too.
The Tech Has Changed the Demographic
Modern technology has made braces more appealing to many adults. Invisalign invisible braces, of course, are a simple solution that most people won’t even notice you’re wearing. They’re comfortable and effective, and many people have heard about them. However, even traditional metal braces
Even traditional metal braces aren’t the same massive, unwieldy headgear that has made life difficult for teenagers all across the country. Invisalign braces, of course, are a simple solution that allow you to get straighter teeth without much in the way of intrusion into your daily life. Even if you have to go with more traditional braces, the latest technology has created appliances that are more comfortable and more effective than they were a short time ago.
Why are Braces Becoming More Common Among Adults?
More Affordable – Many parents look at the cost of braces for their kids as just part of growing up. It may not be a bill they’re looking forward to, but it is inevitable. However, spending that kind of money on their own teeth is not something they would even consider.
Those costs have changed as technology evolved, and, in many cases, insurance coverage for orthodontic work is possible. (Don’t make any assumptions, though. Insurance companies may have some very strict requirements in this area, so be sure to talk to us about it.)
More Comfortable – Even metal braces use lighter, more flexible wires that are custom designed to fit the mouth. These wires also have a “shape memory” so they don’t require as many adjustments. Of course, Invisalign doesn’t have any wires at all, and since they can be removed when eating or cleaning your teeth, they’re very comfortable.
More Discreet – Invisalign aligners are very hard to notice, even if someone knows you’re going through the treatment. Metal and ceramic braces also aren’t as big and obtrusive as they once were.
Is There a Difference in How the Treatments Work for the Young and the Old?
There are some things that we have to consider with adult orthodontia. Often, when treating younger patients, their jaws are still growing, and we can take advantage of that fact to get some great results. In adults, the facial structure is set, and that may require some extra work to get the same results.
Adults are also more prone to gum disease than teens, and there’s always a chance that there is some other dental work in place, whether it’s implants or crowns or even fillings. We’ll have to work around these issues to get the teeth properly aligned, and if there are problems in the gums and jawbone, we’ll have to clear that up before starting the actual procedure.
Appearance Now vs. Appearance Later
Yes. If you get braces, you will have to go through a period of time where it is clear that you do, in fact have braces. (Unless you’ve gone the Invisalign route, then it will be a little more difficult to tell.) There will be people who ask you about it. There will be people surprised to see it. And there will be people who tell you they couldn’t imagine getting braces “this late in life.”
But on the other hand, there will be people who say: “If you can do it, so can I.”
In the end, adult braces will have an effect on your current appearance. But more importantly, it will have an effect on your long term appearance and dental health. That’s when you just might inspire others to start considering their own dental situation.