The number of adult patients seeking dental braces has reached a record high, increasing by 14 percent to over 1.2 million annually, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. The article below discusses the new orthodontic advances available for people who want straighter teeth.
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Frank Mott isn’t a vain person, but even he admits that, thanks to his braces, “my teeth are progressing perfectly, just the way I want them.”
Just another middle schooler looking forward to getting his braces off in time for the summer? Hardly. A 54-year-old Pompton Plains resident who works for PSE&G, Mott is just one of the growing numbers of adults who are embracing braces for their aesthetic and health benefits.
Back in the day, braces conjured up images of a mouth full of gray metal, while the teens who wore them were ridiculed.
“You’d opt to get your teeth extracted before getting braces put on,” Mott joked. But thanks to advances in technology, braces have become smaller and more unobtrusive and a new generation of adults is more than willing to take the plunge in the name of perfect pearly whites.
According to Michael Messana, immediate past president of the New Jersey Dental Association in North Brunswick, new orthodontic options available over the past 10 to 15 years have made adults feel that “maybe there’s something for me,” while a 2013 survey by the American Association of Orthodontists confirmed that the number of adult patients seeking orthodontia between 2010 and 2012 increased by 14 percent to over 1.2 million annually, a record high.
“People want a better smile and they also understand the systemic link between a healthy mouth and overall well-being,” said David Caggiano of Caggiano Orthodontics in Parsippany.
“When teeth are straight, they’re easier to keep clean, which helps prevent gingivitis, periodontal disease and other types of inflammation that can increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. In addition,” he said, “by fixing crowding or spacing issues, overbites, or misaligned bites, braces can also help adults eliminate grinding, chipping and other issues causing them to wear their teeth adversely.”
Today’s braces can be white or translucent ceramic glass that blends in with the teeth, so they’re not as noticeable, Caggiano said.
“Standard metal braces are the least expensive and are available in two versions — traditional braces which use clear or colored elastic connectors that hold the wire into the braces, or the more convenient self-ligating kind, which constantly tighten themselves between bimonthly visits,” Caggiano said.
Another common approach is the use of a series of clear or invisible aligners such as those popularized by Invisalign, which patients wear for two weeks at a time, remove when they eat and brush their teeth, and which gently move teeth into their final, pre-determined position.
As a final option, Caggiano said, lingual braces are positioned behind teeth and can be more uncomfortable for patients to get used to as well as more difficult for dentists to maneuver around, but in the end it’s about patient preference.
Worn anywhere from nine months to two years, Caggiano said adult braces require about an hour to install and their price tag ranges from $5,000 to $6,500 for non-lingual types of braces.
“Thirty-five percent of our current patients for braces are adults in their 20s through their 70s,” Caggiano said.
“I put my daughter through braces so that she could have nice teeth, so it seemed hypocritical of me not to correct my own teeth at some point,” said Mott, who will have his braces removed in October. “Having a better smile will give me a lot of self-satisfaction and I feel great for having done it.”
Dr. Darrin J. Hirt is highly trained in all phases of pediatric and adolescent dentistry. He currently practices at Beverly Hills Pediatric Dentistry, where he delivers personalized dental care services in a comfortable and friendly setting. Visit this website to learn more about Dr. Hirt’s practice.