The new world of adult orthodontics
There’s a myth that you can be too old for braces — the reality is that healthy teeth can be moved at any age. In fact, the majority of the clients we treat these days are adults, and there’s an increasing trend for the Baby Boomers to have orthodontic work done.
There’s also a bit of a myth that getting orthodontics as a 50- or 60-year-old may have a negative impact. I think this is owing to the perception that teeth are more brittle or that the jaw has lost bone by that age. That’s not true at all! Provided you have good gum health and there is no periodontal disease, there’s no reason why your teeth can’t be straightened. In fact, the oldest client I have who is straightening her teeth is 67 years of age.
Value of Invisalign
In my view, the fact that so many of our older clients are availing themselves of adult orthodontics is due to the advent of the Invisalign, as well as other more lifestyle-suited dental products and technologies.
That said, I only use Invisalign in my practice. The beauty of Invisalign is that it saves on the embarrassment factor for older people by removing the necessity to wear obvious, traditional metal braces. It’s an issue of aesthetic minimalism. Invisalign also means that we only need to do a little bit to achieve amazing results. Among other things, there’s no need to drill into your teeth. It’s a very conservative way of giving you a great smile.
However, when it comes to personal reasons prompting our clients to explore adult orthodontics, the impetus comes from a myriad of sources. One explanation for doing orthodontic work for adults is that, realistically, we’re living a lot longer now. The average life expectancy has increased, which has meant that I’ve seen clients treating themselves with the gift of straight teeth — for a milestone birthday, for example.
In most cases, it’s going to take 6 to 12 months of treatment in return for many years of an amazing smile. When you look at the time investment versus the pay-off, it’s a good idea.
Affording adult orthodontics
I’ve certainly seen the situation where a client comes from a family that couldn’t afford orthodontic work when they were a kid and they’ve been unhappy with their teeth for their whole life. It’s a joy for them when they can finally get their smile fixed later in life.
I’ve also seen the situation repeatedly where a client has been busy looking after their children and family, and life has realistically been too busy for them to deal with things like straightening their teeth. Once the kids have grown, more time and finances become available to attend to things like adult orthodontics.
Another scenario I’ve witnessed is where seniors have been preparing for a new beginning when they retire. Retirees aren’t just sitting down in rocking chairs anymore — they’re excited about things like starting new businesses or they’re travelling and want to look good in photos. In that case, I’ve had clients prepared to invest the 6 to 12 months towards straightening their teeth in anticipation of the next stage in life.