In a new study by the British Orthodontic Society (BOS), researchers found that an increasing number of adults are seeking orthodontic treatment.
The BOS asked high street practices all over the country, and 78% of those who responded reported an increase in requests for treatment. But why is this?
What Is Orthodontics?
An orthodontic dentist specializes in straightening crooked teeth. They do this by fitting appliances such as braces which apply gentle pressure to correct the position of the teeth.
While crooked teeth can have a massive impact on your confidence and appearance, they can also affect your bite and overall health. Not correcting these problems can make damage to your teeth more likely or even strain your jaw muscles.
Not correcting these problems can make damage to your teeth more likely or even strain your jaw muscles.
Why Have Orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment is incredibly easy to access, and the whole process from your initial consultation to having your braces fitted is becoming even quicker.
Cost of Orthodontics
While orthodontic treatment can be free or at a reduced price on the NHS, if you have what the NHS classes as “minor cosmetic problems”, you won’t be eligible. While private treatment is more costly, you have a wider variety of options (for example, invisible braces) and many practices offer finance plans that help you pay over a number of months.
For many, though, the price is well worth paying for straight teeth, and with that can come increased confidence and better job and relationship prospects.
In a paper for the American Journal of Orthodontics, researchers assessed the reasons why patients opted for treatment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the primary reasons were to improve the smile and appearance of the face. A much lower percentage of respondents (just 19-20%) opted for treatment to close spaces and improve their bite.
A much lower percentage of respondents (just 19-20%) opted for treatment to close spaces and improve their bite.
It doesn’t come as a shock that more people are getting dental treatment to improve their physical appearance. First impressions continue to be an important factor in how we judge others, and crooked teeth can have a negative impact.
More important than other people’s perception of ourselves, however, is our own confidence and self-esteem. This is an important factor, and we must not neglect the positive mental effect straight teeth can have on our overall health.
Rise in New Materials
With the development of new technology and materials, it’s become increasingly easier to have braces fitted. When patients were asked why they hadn’t had orthodontic treatment previously, 15% cited that it was because invisible braces were not an option.
Many people don’t like wearing braces as it makes them feel even more insecure about their appearance. But with new advancements in the materials used to make braces, they can be practically invisible, so that no one need know about your treatment.
Invisible braces are made of plastic and sit on the teeth. An x-ray of your teeth is taken, and aligners, or molds, are made, tailored to the shape of your mouth and teeth. They are easily removable for eating and brushing your teeth, making them more practical for day-to-day life than traditional fixed braces.
There’s also the perception that orthodontic treatment takes a significant time before you see results. The continuous pressure applied by braces mean that your teeth are constantly moving into a better position, but how long you’ll need to wear them will depend on how severely crooked your teeth are.
However, an increasing number of women are having orthodontic treatment before their wedding day to get a perfect smile, and there are treatments, such as six-month smiles, which guarantee straighter teeth in a shorter time period.
With the wider range of options available in orthodontics, it’s no surprise that more people are seeking treatment. With cost-effective payment plans and increased health and wellbeing, it’s easy to understand why a healthy straight smile is worth paying for.