More adults are opting for braces and other orthodontic treatments, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.
Most are after a better smile, some are addressing bite/alignment issues that have been bugging them for years, and others are trying to correct brand-new problems that cropped up later in life.
Orthodontists aim for discretion when recommending treatments, especially with adults. This demographic favors Invisalign, back-of-the-mouth lingual systems and porcelain braces, which are costlier than traditional braces, but blend in with your teeth a lot better.
The approach to straighter teeth is the same, regardless of age, but dentists want adults to be aware of ortho complications. Adults usually have had more dental work done than teens, including crowns, fillings, root canals and other complicated procedures. This can make it tougher to manipulate teeth with braces.
Plus, adults’ mouths are no longer growing, which means oral surgery might need to go along with the braces.
The Tooth Brigade
According to Dr. Gerald Nelson, a dental professor at the University of California, adults have teeth that are healthier, and “they’re interested in having their teeth last the rest of their life.” Orthodontics don’t guarantee that anyone will keep their teeth longer, but the more attractive your teeth are, the more likely you are to be proud and take care of them. Straight teeth are a big motivator.
The American Association of Orthodontists reports that in 2012, 1.2 million U.S. adults got orthodontics, which is a spike of 39 percent, compared to 1996. In comparison, 4.65 million teens got orthodontics, which is up 32 percent from 1996.
If you’re an adult considering orthodontics, remember that it can be more complicated and perhaps take longer than if you were a teenager. You also might need oral surgery. It might not be possible to fix the same issues in an adult compared to a teen, since your face is no longer growing.
You’re also more vulnerable to gum disease, which needs to be addressed before orthodontics can be started. Ask your orthodontist about Invisalign, which might be possible for straightforward ortho problems.
Pay It Forward
Finally, orthodontics can cost more for an adult than a teen, since, once again, it’s more complicated. However, your dental insurance may cover a portion of the procedure, so always check with your insurance company before starting treatment. Your orthodontist also may offer payment plans or financing.
You’ll certainly be in good company if you get orthodontics as an adult, especially considering that adult teeth today are less straight than our ancestors’ from hundreds of years ago — researchers say diet plays a big role, since we chew less.
Choose an orthodontist who has experience working with teens and adults alike, and who’s on board with your goals. In Utah, call Johnson Elite Orthodontics, your leading braces and Invisalign experts, for a consultation.