Why Adult Orthodontics Is At an All-Time High
Orthodontic treatment has long been seen as a staple of being a child and teenager. Almost 1 in 4 children require braces and similar orthodontic appliances, and the number continues to increase every year. However, high quality orthodontic treatment is no longer solely for children any longer.
As technology continues to advance and orthodontic treatment becomes more affordable, more individuals are choosing to invest in adult orthodontics. Adult orthodontics are appliances made for individuals who are over 18, and they are excellent at addressing long-standing issues like overbites, underbites, and crooked teeth.
In fact, 1 out of every 3 patients in the average orthodontist’s office are over the age of 18.
But why are adult orthodontics at an all-time high?
One of the simplest reasons for an increase in older patients is the number of adult braces options currently available. In the past, braces were uncomfortable, time-consuming, and involved a lot of metal, wires, and similar hardware. Unlucky individuals even had to wear headgear to push their teeth back into alignment.
In the present, adults can choose from traditional braces, which have improved significantly, or invisible braces.
Invisible braces are extremely popular among adults because they consist of clear plastic aligners that are difficult to detect when placed over the teeth. This helps older patients avoid some of the stigmas and stereotypes associated with braces such as naivety and inexperience.
Invisible braces are also more comfortable since there are no wire tightening appointments and no metal that cuts up the mouth.
If an adult opts for traditional braces, they can still be involved in their treatment and choose appliances which suit their personality, area of work, comfort, and timeframe for treatment. Even palate expanders have become more minimalist and effective without requiring constant care.
Finally, there are still more options. Depending on an individual’s orthodontist, they will have access to tooth-colored braces and even braces which are hidden behind the teeth. Accelerated orthodontics are also available. This type of treatment speeds up the process of realigning the jaws and teeth so adults don’t have to spend 3 years wearing traditional braces.
They Reduce Oral Health Problems
The main reason why dental experts recommend you fix the alignment of your teeth and jaws is to improve overall oral health and wellness. While crooked teeth can be irritating and an overbite might affect your self-confidence, such misalignments cause numerous other issues as well.
For example, individuals with any type of misalignment are more at risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, cracked or chipped teeth, jawbone thinning, and gum weakness. Some of these problems are caused by the uneven pressure placed upon the jaws and teeth, while others focus on the physical discomfort and inconvenience of crooked teeth.
Misalignments are often not just a result of teeth not fitting properly. For many patients, the root of the issue is hidden underneath the flesh of the skull. The jawbones are designed to hold teeth in place and facilitate regular activities like biting, eating, and chewing. When these bones are misaligned, pressure is unevenly placed on the bones and joints. This can result in cracking, discomfort, chronic pain, and even disorders that affect the temporomandibular joints. In serious cases, patients can even lose their teeth.
There are also more common issues related to the general alignment of the teeth. Individuals who have teeth that overlap or are at angles which stretch the gums are more prone to decay and gum disease because it is difficult to remove plaque and food particles. Even flossing often is not enough.
Many adults realize investing in one’s health is important. For this reason, more and more people over the age of 18 are choosing to wear adult orthodontics to ensure they can keep their natural smiles for as long as possible.
They Boost Self-Confidence
Besides the practical concerns, one of the most common reasons why adults choose to get orthodontic treatment is because they want to change their appearance and boost their self-confidence.
Although it is natural to have misaligned teeth, they are not considered conventionally attractive. Studies have shown individuals with crooked smiles, overbites, and underbites are less likely to be social, smile in public, or take pictures. They also expressed lower self-confidence than their counterparts with straight teeth.
Wearing braces, a palate expander, and similar orthodontic appliances allow adults to take control over their appearance and change an aspect of themselves with which they are uncomfortable.
Many adults could not afford orthodontic treatment as children and teenagers, so it makes sense they would like to make a change as adults. Many orthodontists even admit they love working with older patients because the patients are ecstatic to receive treatment.
They Are More Affordable
Finally, orthodontic treatment has steadily become more affordable for many families across the country. The majority of dental offices now allow patients to pay installments throughout the duration of treatment, allowing more adults to invest in their health. It can be difficult to muster up $6,000 for a single payment, but it is simple to pay $160 a month.
Some of this affordability also has to do with the appliances themselves. While there are expensive options available, the versatility of modern orthodontic treatment means patients can choose what type of braces they want to wear. Someone who would like to spend less money can pick a traditional option like metal braces, while someone with a greater budget might choose invisible ones.
Braces and other forms of orthodontic treatment are not just for children or teenagers any longer. As of 2020, at least 1 out of every 3 patients are over the age of 18, and the number is expected to increase. This sudden surge of older patients is because orthodontic care is now more accessible to adults. There are more options to choose from, payment plans make treatment more affordable, and adults realize the seriousness of allowing their dental health to go unchecked.