Picture a visit to the orthodontist’s office, and you’ll likely envision a teenager being fitted for braces. While adolescents represent the typical orthodontist patient, going to the orthodontist as an adult is completely normal. Those who seek out treatment later in life often express regret that they didn’t do so sooner. Many adults feel surprised to learn that many treatment options won’t disturb their lives or appearance like they thought.
27 percent of all orthodontist patients are adults based in the U.S. and Canada, and research suggests this number will only increase. Between 2012 and 2014, adult visits to the orthodontist jumped by 16 percent representing 1,441,000 new patients over 18. Of these patients, 75 percent cited improvements in their personal and professional lives after treatment, and 92 percent stated they’d recommend treatment to other adults.
Confidence sees you through bright and bitter spots in life, and your smile deserves to shine with the same brilliance as you. Don’t let overcrowding, crooked teeth or awkward bites diminish your dental health and well being.
It’s Not About Perfection — It’s About What You Deserve
No one is born with a perfect smile where every tooth is square and lines up like piano keys. Those impossibly white, square-toothed duck smiles of Hollywood stars shaped by cosmetic procedures present unrealistic standards. Besides, those duck chompers likely glow in the dark.
While that’s a fun superpower to consider, you’re already awesome, though your teeth offer the odd self-esteem or health challenge. Besides challenging your confidence, tooth problems create obstacles to overall health. Overlapping or crowded teeth make flossing feel impossible and increase the likelihood of gum disease, which is linked to heart disease. “Bad bite,” or malocclusion, causes problems with swallowing and chewing, while improper tooth alignment causes difficulty with pronunciation and produces facial pain when eating.
A visit to the orthodontist’s office doesn’t mean giving in to the status quo or letting other people’s opinions make you change your appearance. The choice comes down to making yourself happy and healthy. When weighing the pros and cons of orthodontic treatment, keep these facts in mind:
- Your bones stop growing as an adult, and some structural alterations can’t be completed without surgery. For example, in the case of a prior extraction, shifting teeth across this area presents a challenge. So, a procedure calls for a prosthetic bone to simplify the process.
- The treatment process takes longer for an adult than for a child or teenager — two years on average.
- When undergoing orthodontic treatment, consult with a periodontist and/or your dentist to ensure bone loss as a result of gum disease doesn’t complicate the treatment process.
When you meet someone for the first time, you typically look at their smile. Your body language will be different if you lack confidence and don’t smile. A smile with upturned corners of the lips revealing your teeth expresses how enthusiastic you are to meet someone. You should feel confident about making a good first impression.
You deserve to chew and swallow without difficulty or pain. You deserve to express yourself clearly and with confidence. It’s not too late, and you’re not too old to see the orthodontist.
What You Should Know and Ask About Adult Braces
Choosing from the many types of braces feels overwhelming and intimidating when browsing the options online. Don’t get lost in internet searches with potentially misleading details.
Talk to your dentist and an orthodontist for more accurate information, as different braces work better for different age groups. For example, lingual or ceramic braces tend to work best for adults since they may make you feel less like an awkward teenager. Clear aligners are one of the least noticeable types for adults, but they’re used for those with minor teeth issues. While these options are more expensive than metal braces, they’re as effective and virtually invisible compared with the heavy metal route.
Do your research to prepare for the possibility of adult braces. Seeing an orthodontist doesn’t mean you’re getting braces the same day or even this year. So, yes, you should see an orthodontist this year if curious about how treatment options work for adults.
Your dentist will give you a trusted referral. If your dentist shares space with an orthodontist, congratulate yourself on finding the jackpot of adult braces convenience. The exchange of dental records and patient history simplifies the wait time and treatment process. When you meet with the orthodontist, ask these questions before you commit:
- Will this office accept my insurance?
- What payment plans do you offer?
- Which braces best fit my needs?
- What are the pros and cons of ceramic vs. metal braces? What if I only wear ceramic braces on my upper teeth?
- Will I need rubber bands?
- Do I have to wear a retainer after the braces?
- What experience does your team have?
- How do I take care of my braces?
- How will my hygiene routine change?
- Are there certain foods I can’t eat while I have braces?
- How long is treatment, and will there be any discomfort?
Ask the orthodontist to walk you through the procedure. For example, with metal braces, glued brackets adhere to the surface of your teeth, and wires connect the brackets. The process sounds uncomfortable, but the small amount of pressure is temporary.
Asking the right questions helps you get over squeamishness beforehand, and the more informed you are, the less fearful and self-conscious you’ll feel about getting adult braces. As with seeing a doctor, don’t be afraid to shop around for orthodontists and seek a second opinion.
Feeling metal about getting adult braces yet? You’re not too old. You won’t look as ridiculous as you fear you will.
Plenty of adults decide to seek out orthodontic treatment for a variety of valid reasons. Think of getting braces as an investment in your health and personal well being. Your confidence will increase as a result of getting braces as an adult. All adults fear looking ridiculous, but ignoring your well being is more preposterous. Decide to see an orthodontist this year because you deserve to be your best and most healthy self.