People typically think of braces as something that kids need. While the majority of our patients are tweens and teens, an increasing number of adults are inquiring about orthodontic treatment for themselves. Some adults may believe that braces are out of reach or that they’ve “missed their window.” Here we discuss why more and more adults are making appointments with their orthodontist. So why do adults get braces? There are several common reasons that emerge among adult patients.
Cosmetic concerns are common reasons for adults to get braces. Interestingly, we have noticed a spike in adult orthodontics coinciding with the introduction of camera phones. Now that everyone carries a camera in their pocket or purse, we are becoming more conscious of our appearance. “Patients are much more aware of what their teeth look like in photographs,” Dr. Piper said. As our culture continues to generate “selfies” and profile pictures, we expect to see more adults in our chairs.
Orthodontic procedures that may have once seemed unattainable to adults are now coming within their reach. With increasing access to information via the internet, adults can educate themselves and even watch videos of other adults getting braces. Also, when parents bring in their children for treatment they often decide to pursue treatment for themselves. After her kids’ teeth are finished, mom decides it’s her turn.
Malocclusions present from childhood often grow worse over time and can become uncomfortable or painful to deal with. Lifelong crooked teeth become more crowded and difficult to floss which makes gums vulnerable to periodontal disease or cavities between the teeth. Sometimes a patient’s bite is so poor that gum tissue becomes compromised. Spaces also expand with age.
Success and Perceived Intelligence
For better or worse, people with a winning smile continue to maintain a competitive edge. Men and women both want to appear professional, but problems with their teeth can hinder their confidence. Some studies suggest that people perceive a link between straight teeth and intelligence; people with bad teeth are sometimes perceived as less intelligent or successful which also contributes to some forms of discrimination.
Adults of any age should not be intimidated to make an appointment for a consultation, especially if you are leaning toward aligners. We urge you to see an orthodontist and avoid ordering anything off the internet. You need a specialist to examine and diagnose your situation before investing time and money in a solution that may or may not be successful. Plus it is critical to be under the doctor’s care to ensure that the braces are doing their job.