Adults Are Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment in Record Numbers
Braces no longer just for teenagers
Since the specialty’s beginnings, the orthodontist’s waiting room has the bastion of teenagers and their harried parents. This is true no more – Dr. Farhad Moshiri, a Saint Louis orthodontist, reports that almost half (40%) of the patients he sees in his office for treatment are now adults. His numbers are concurrent with the American Association of Orthodontists recently published a study indicating that the number of adults in the United States being treated with braces is breaking records.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment in adults are similar to those in teens; these include improved self-esteem and easier and more frequent smiles. These benefits, in turn, have positive side effects. The study referenced above found that 75% of participating adults reported improvements in career or personal relationships, which they attributed to their improved smile. Among the same participants, 92% said they would recommend orthodontic treatment in adulthood to others.
Orthodontic treatment in adults has its own set of challenges and concerns. The bone is denser, and the ligaments are more mature and less elastic. Some adults have missing teeth or problems in the jaw joint. Gum problems are also common. The orthodontist works in concert with the general dentist and other specialists to address all of the adult patient’s needs.
Braces are still a popular orthodontic treatment with or without some extraction of surplus teeth. However, their appearance has changed drastically. Adult patients now have smaller, more inconspicuous braces available. For those with mild to moderate treatment needs, Invisalign, a system of clear plastic trays that are change every two weeks, is a popular choice.
Most orthodontic offices, including Dr. Moshiri’s, offer financial assistance or payment plans to make the treatment affordable.