Mention braces and orthodontic treatment to most people, and they automatically assume you’re talking about young patients, typically in their teens and preteen years. But statistics show that during the past decade or so, that trend has started to shift, and today, braces are becoming more and more common among adult patients. In fact, a study from the American Academy of Orthodontists (AAO) found the number of adults getting braces increased by about 16% during the two-year period from 2012 to 2014, with nearly 1.5 million adult patients opting to undergo orthodontic care and treatment. The survey, which looked at patients in the U.S. and Canada, estimates about 27% of all orthodontic patients are adults, with more and more adults adding to the ranks every day.
Why choose braces as an adult?
The AAO survey looked at some of the reasons behind the increasing popularity of orthodontic treatment for adults and found there are several main factors driving the trend:
- First is awareness. Many teens have braces because their parents choose it for them; even though the patient may understand the advantages and even appreciate the benefits of having better-looking teeth, adult patients have a better “real-world” understanding of just how important it is to have a smile that looks healthy and attractive, as well as teeth that are easier to care for. In short, adult patients tend to understand that having braces is a great financial investment in self-confidence and personal health, and it can also help in social and work settings, when personal appearance can and does have a bearing on overall success. Plus, having straighter teeth makes it easier to have other restorations like crowns and veneers.
- Adult patients also appreciate the oral health benefits of braces. Sure, braces can give you a great-looking smile, and the power of a beautiful smile and straight, healthy-looking teeth shouldn’t be underestimated. But straight teeth are also easier to care for, which means brushing and flossing can be more effective, and tooth decay, gum disease and other serious oral health issues can be prevented. Over time, the decreased likelihood for major oral health problems can mean major financial savings, a benefit that tends to be appreciated far more among adult patients who have budgets to balance.
- Adult patients are also beginning to see braces as a long-term investment in their overall health and wellness, especially as more and more studies explore the link between gum disease and other major health issues like heart disease. They’re also more likely to understand how braces can help them overcome or avoid issues like grinding, clenching and even temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and the chronic jaw pain and headaches it can cause.
- There are plenty of financial options available today to make the cost of care more affordable, and that’s another reason more adults are opting for braces. Some dental insurance plans may offer partial coverage for treatment, and FSAs and HSAs can add to the savings. Plus, many orthodontists offer financing plans that can make the cost of care suitable for just about any budget.
- There are more options for treatment than there used to be. That means adult patients who don’t want to have a mouth of metal brackets can opt for designs and styles that are less noticeable or even “invisible.” Tooth-colored and clear ceramic braces, lingual braces that adhere to the back surfaces of teeth, and even removable options like Invisalign® offer plenty of choices. Even traditional metal braces are smaller and less obtrusive, and advances in techniques and technology mean treatment times can be much shorter than they used to be.
- And finally, because so many adults are having orthodontic treatment – even well into their 40s and 50s – wearing braces as an adult has become more socially acceptable, which means it’s easier for adults to picture themselves getting the care and treatment they need to improve their smiles, their health and their levels of self-confidence (not to mention their success in professional and social settings).
Could I benefit from adult braces?
Braces can be a great solution for adults whose teeth are crooked, gapped, crowded or otherwise misaligned – in short, they can be ideal for any person whose teeth and jaws are healthy enough to support treatment. The first step in deciding if braces are right for you is to schedule an office visit and consultation so your teeth and bite can be evaluated. Melbourne Orthodontics is a leading provider of adult braces, offering the broadest array of treatment options to help every patient receive the most appropriate care. To schedule your consultation appointment, call us at 321-254-5232 today.