Curses to those that are born with perfectly straight teeth! Alright, I take back the curse but I know I’m not alone in my jealousy. In fact, the AAO estimates that 75 percent of Americans suffer from malocclusion (bad bite) and could benefit from orthodontic treatment. This number isn’t limited to young kids and teenagers—a good amount are well over 18.
Who Needs Braces?
A lot of kids go through semi-awkward “adjustments” due to their teeth, at a time when it’s cool to be cool at school. They may not yet see the value in it but their parents do. Their justification is hard to argue. People will remember them more for having great teeth than they will for wearing braces.
So for many teenagers, getting braces is a rite of passage into adulthood. They forgo their normal appearance, opting instead for brackets, rubber bands, and retainers. Free time otherwise spent with friends gets allocated to a dentist’s office. And comfort—forget about comfort. All in the name of straight and great teeth.
Young Or Old
Many parents begin the process of correcting their child’s dental alignment by scheduling a visit to the orthodontist. Although it’s easier to correct alignment at a young age, some kids never get the opportunity to correct their teeth.
What happens to a child that falls through the cracks of dental perfection? They grow up to be adults with dental issues.
Why Get Braces Now?
Years ago, braces were not popular amongst adults. Today, they’re worn by nearly 1 million Americans over the age of 18. There are two distinct reasons why an adult would benefit from getting braces.
Braces are used for a number of reasons: to correct crooked or crowded teeth, to adjust overbites and underbites, and to repair jaw disorders.
Since the body’s functions are interconnected, a seemingly inconsequential alignment problem can lead to a serious complication elsewhere in the body. For example, an improper bite may prevent you from chewing your food properly. Poorly chewed foods travel to the digestive system where it creates gastrointestinal problems. Poor alignment conditions can indirectly lead to headaches, tooth decay, gum disease, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.
Whether it’s crowding, spacing, overjet, a crossbite or an underbite, orthodontic problems can lead to self-esteem issues. People that sport crooked teeth are often afraid to smile.
This doesn’t just affect children—it can make life difficult for adults too. A Kelton Research study found that crooked teeth can have a negative impact on romantic and career success. In this study, participants with crooked teeth were judged as less intelligent and accomplished, simply because of their appearance.
Seems unfair, doesn’t it? It is.
You shouldn’t feel scared when considering braces, no matter your age. Part 2 will go further in depth about the process and how easy it is to finally have straight teeth.