American and Canadian adults understand that now more than ever, according to the results of an American Association of Orthodontists survey completed in 2014, which found that the number of adults seeking treatment between 2012 and 2014 increased 16 percent.
That means a record high of more than 1.4 million patients in orthodontic treatment are 18 and older. The AAO estimates that 27 percent of all American and Canadian patients today are adults.
As is often the case, technology gets much of the credit for enticing more adults to take corrective action when it comes to flawed smiles and bad bites. Clear brackets and removable aligners used in Invisalign treatment help adults avoid the stigma of having braces. Specially designed brackets and arch wires that provide more constant, targeted forces and move teeth faster means that adults can finish treatment in record time.
Adults sometimes are concerned about their appearance when it comes to orthodontic treatment because they fear that having braces on their teeth might detract from their professional appearance. There are a couple of ways in which we combat that argument today.
- Numbers change perceptions
Think about how tattoos have evolved. There was a time when those who had tattoos typically were stereotyped into one of three categories: bikers, criminals or military personnel.
In 2014, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that just 21 percent of respondents said someone in their household had a tattoo in 1999. That percentage doubled to 40 percent in 2014.
Tattoos can be seen on people in virtually every walk of life these days. Their increased prevalence seems to have made them more socially acceptable.
The same can be said for braces. There was a time when you simply didn’t see grownups with braces on their teeth. Orthodontic treatment was viewed as a rite of passage for teenagers.
But then came clear and tooth-colored ceramic brackets, smaller bracket that were less noticeable, and Invisalign, which is virtually unnoticeable when worn. Suddenly adults who were self-conscious about their smiles and sought improvement embraced orthodontic treatment. The more adults who undergo orthodontic treatment, the more the treatment is embraced and accepted by others.
- Healthy Teeth, Healthy Life
Numerous studies show a connection between oral health and overall health, and dental professionals have done a good job of sharing that important information with the public in recent years.
Understanding that there are connections between oral health and serious systemic health issues including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis has prompted many people to take a closer look at their oral care regimen and look for areas to improve.
It’s easier to keep your teeth clean when they are properly spaced and aligned. Crooked, crowded teeth provide places for food particles to accumulate and plaque/tartar to form on the teeth. Plaque and tartar can irritate the gums and lead to gum disease. Once you are diagnosed with gum disease, it cannot be cured; only maintained.
All of this means that orthodontic treatment today is about much more than aesthetics. Those who want to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime often turn to orthodontic treatment to help increase their chances.
Please call today if you would like to schedule an appointment.