LAKEVILLE, PRIOR LAKE AND MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Researchers have studied the changing age demographic of orthodontic patients for years.
Anecdotally, we’ve seen in our reception area what a number of studies shows: more families are seeking orthodontic treatment than ever.
From 1982 to 2008, the number of children and adults who underwent orthodontic treatment in the United States increased by 99 percent, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. The number of adults seeking treatment increased by 24 percent between 1989 and 2008.
What a difference a couple of years make. The AAO conducted another study in 2011, which showed the number of people who get braces had increased by 103 percent since the 1980s, and adult patient numbers had risen by 25 percent.
More people age 30 and older are getting braces today than ever before, according to information posted on archwired.com.
Dr. Trudy Bonvino also sees another trend: multiple members of a family are getting braces.
“We’re not just talking about several siblings in one family,” says Dr. Bonvino, who specializes in adult and children’s orthodontics. “We see parents and children getting braces at the same time, or one after the other.”
It is the opinion of the orthodontist in Minneapolis and Prior Lake that a number of factors are responsible for the shift.
Aesthetics & Technology
The types of braces offered today are vastly different than braces in use 40 years ago. While traditional metal brackets still are available, they come in smaller sizes. There are ceramic braces and even tooth-colored archwires that blend in and are barely noticeable. Lingual braces are placed on the backs of teeth, which means others won’t see your orthodontic appliances.
And then there’s Invisalign.
“That is the treatment adults ask for by name,” says Dr. Bonvino, a Lakeville and Shakopee Invisalign provider. “People like the notion of being able to remove the aligners to eat, and of wearing something that isn’t noticeable.”
Technology also has attracted more adults to treatment, because we are able to move teeth faster and more precisely with newer appliances.
More people understand the benefits of oral health and its connection to overall health. There is a great deal of research that shows poor oral health can lead to systemic problems, including heart issues.
“It is easier to keep aligned teeth clean than crowded, crooked teeth,” Dr. Bonvino says.
Teeth that are kept free of plaque and tartar buildup create a healthier mouth.
People also understand more about the self-esteem benefits of orthodontic treatment these days. Children can be incredibly self-conscious of their overjet, overbite or underbite.
“We see children come out of their shells after orthodontic treatment,” Dr. Bonvino says. “The same is true for adults. Some don’t smile with their lips open, but orthodontic treatment changes that.”
Competitive job market
When it comes to reasons adults decide to seek treatment, we find that many of them opt for it because they’re desirous of making certain nonsurgical improvements that will improve their appearance and perhaps give them an edge in the job market.
Tough economic times and high unemployment rates seem to have been a catalyst in urging people to look at the bigger picture in terms of what might give them the competitive edge when seeking employment.
Insurance coverage has evolved over the past couple of decades, and now many families have some orthodontic coverage included in their dental insurance plans.
“Every little bit helps, so many families with dental insurance pursue treatment, even if their insurance doesn’t cover 100 percent of the cost,” Dr. Bonvino says.
Regardless of the reason, Dr. Bonvino is happy to evaluate patients who are interested in seeing how orthodontic treatment can improve their smiles. Consultations at Cosmopolitan Orthodontics are complimentary and include a full set of digital X-rays, photographs and a treatment plan.
Call us today for an evaluation if you want to feel more secure and more confident, or if you’ve never received a compliment on your teeth but would like to. It’s time you had something to smile about.