Nowadays, more adults than ever are seeking orthodontic treatment. In fact, according to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), 25% of orthodontic patients are adults. The AAO also found that between the years 2010 and 2012, the rate of adults with braces increased by 14%.
Why the sudden increase in adults with braces? The AAO president, DeWayne McCamish, attributes this spike in adult braces as being due to more people being concerned about their appearance and keeping their teeth. In most cases, braces are just as effective in adults as they are in children and teens, so getting braces as an adult offers both the aesthetic and functional benefits of a straight smile.
If you have been debating over whether or not to get adult braces, you may be wondering if it is actually worth it. Simply stated, YES! Adult braces are definitely worth it and here are five reasons to get braces as an adult:
Makes Teeth Fit Better
By aligning your teeth, adult braces allow your top and bottom teeth to meet correctly. When teeth are overcrowded or crooked, they are often tilted and are unable to properly meet with the opposing teeth. This can cause reduced chewing or biting function, tooth pain from too much force being exerted on a specific tooth, and premature enamel wear. Additionally in some cases, the teeth can become chipped or cracked as a result of meeting at an odd angle. Dental braces make your teeth fit together properly so that there is a decreased risk for damage and increased chewing function.
Aligns Your Bite
Adult braces are also able to align your bite. Malocclusion, or an imperfect bite, is one common reason many adults seek orthodontic treatment. Different types of malocclusion that adult braces can correct include: underbites, overbites, crossbites, and open bites. If not correct, malocclusion can cause a range of dental problems. The most popular problem is temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), which is a painful degenerative condition affecting the jaw joint. Depending on the severity, malocclusion can also hinder speech, chewing, and biting functions. By properly aligning your bite, dental braces maintain natural function and decrease the amount of stress being exerted on your jaw joint.
Reduces the Risk of Tooth Decay
Teeth that are properly aligned are simply easier to keep clean than teeth that are not. This is because the entire surface of the tooth can be cleaned with proper brushing and flossing techniques. In cases where the teeth are crooked or overlapping, there may be places that are frequently missed while brushing and flossing. Unfortunately, these places become an ideal habitat for the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Your Teeth Have Shifted
In some cases, adults get braces as adult because their teeth have shifted from the last orthodontic treatment. Teeth can shift for a number of reasons, but one common reason is due to irregular retainer wear. Teeth that have shifted since an earlier orthodontic treatment are likely to continue to shift. For this reason, it is advised to correct shifting teeth sooner rather than later.
Adult Braces are Affordable
Nowadays, there are many adult orthodontic options available for a variety of different budgets. Additionally, many dental insurance plans provide some level of coverage for adult braces. Most orthodontic offices will also provide payment plans to accommodate your financial needs.
Having braces as an adult is not what it once was and more adults than ever are seeking adult orthodontic treatment to align their teeth and bite. Adult braces are an affordable option that helps to maintain your dental health, reduce the risk of damage or future dental issues, and makes your smile look great. At the end of the day, getting braces as an adult is more than worth it.
Dr Sepi is a board-certified orthodontist and a member of the American Association of Orthodontics, Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontics, World Federation of Orthodontics, and Washington State Dental Association. She has published over 15 scientific papers in some of the world’s most prestigious orthodontic journals. She is also an editorial board member of the Journal of World Federation of Orthodontics and is a peer reviewer at the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.