Not Just a Kid Thing
While most of us are used to seeing a teenager with braces or an orthodontic appliance in his or her mouth, these days a growing number of adults are jumping on the orthodontic bandwagon too, making up 20 percent of orthodontic patients.
Years ago, if an orthodontic problem wasn't treated during the adolescent years, it seemed like it wasn't fixed at all. Adults just learned to live with crooked teeth or an embarrassing overbite. Not so nowadays. According to the Massachusetts Dental Society, more and more adults are going for orthodontic treatment.
According to many orthodontists, the proportion of adults seeking orthodontic treatment has increased by as much as 30 percent in the last couple of years, probably due, in part, to a strong economy and orthodontic insurance being part of many dental insurance coverage plans.
Even more encouraging is that many of today's braces are less visible than the traditional "metal mouth" look from years past. Many of the brackets and wires used previously are now smaller and either clear or tooth-colored to be less conspicuous. According to some orthodontists, the biggest rise in adult orthodontic treatment came with the advent of "clear" braces, which today are made of ceramic and are truly hard to notice.
Besides giving someone a more-improved smile, orthodontic treatment can also improve general dental health. It's more difficult to keep teeth and gums clean when teeth are crowded or crooked, increasing the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease. In addition, a bad overbite or underbite may cause extra stress on the chewing muscles, causing pain or problems with jaw joints.