Why are more over 25s getting braces?
Usually associated with our teenage years, braces are something that many adults have experienced, but few have fond memories of. The idea of a mouth filled with metal ‘train tracks’ put many off of undergoing dental realignment when they were younger, and who could blame them?
But in recent years, appearances have become more important than ever before; the rise of social media, online dating and ‘selfie culture’ have made us all more aware of our looks and how we come across in photographs. And with this trend, comes a huge increase in adults now opting to have braces fitted in their mid-twenties and beyond, in a bid to achieve that perfect smile.
At New Town Dental Care in Edinburgh, we are now seeing more adult patients than ever before, with many patients seeking sophisticated dental alignment procedures to perfect and straighten their smiles in a discreet way.
Around 50% of our patients are over the age of 25, a figure which is increasing year-on-year. More and more adult patients are coming in to see us to correct the appearance of their teeth and work towards a straighter and more even smile.
But why the sudden increase? The trend for perfectly white, straight teeth isn’t going anywhere, but many believe that it’s the popularity of perfect smiles with celebrities and social media influencers that’s made it more popular with the general public too.
We are surrounded by images of celebrities with perfect teeth, and in some cases, we’ve seen images of celebrities actually wearing braces in order to get them. This, along with the speed and effectiveness of treatments now, has made it much more accessible for the public to undergo these procedures too, to get the same look and feel confident in their appearance, in real life or on social media.
Over the years, celebrities including Tom Cruise, Khloe Kardashian and Gwen Stefani have all famously sported braces in various guises – from Stefani’s train tracks to Tom Cruise’s infamous wire brace, whilst Khloe Kardashian opted for a discreet clear retainer to improve her smile. But the reassurance that even celebrities aren’t born perfect, and choose to undergo whatever treatment is necessary in order to look their best, can be empowering and reassuring for adults worrying that they don’t look or feel their best when they smile.
Research taken from dentists nationwide found that around 10% of adult patients across the UK are aged between 18-25, whilst a huge 66% are between 26-40. 22% are 41-55, and 2% are 56 or older. Each age bracket has its own particular and most popular reason for seeking braces or smile correction – from the pressures of relationships and dating, to the prevalence of Instagram and social media.
When it comes to our younger adult patients, they often cite Instagram and reality TV as the reason why they’re keen to undergo smile correction treatments. Many of our younger patients tell us that they don’t like the way they look in photos, and reference ‘looking good in selfies’ as one of their main reasons for wanting a brace or aligner fitted. Along with this, they have the added pressures of setting off for university or stepping out into the world of work for the first time and wanting to give off the best impression of themselves right at the very beginning.
But it’s relationships that make up the biggest reason for requesting dental alignment. With the 26-40-year-olds, many of them tell us that it’s an upcoming wedding that’s finally encouraged them to take the leap and correct any issues with their teeth or smile. We often see patients who tell us that they’ve never really liked their smile, and now they have the added pressure of wedding photographs on the horizon, they’ve decided that there’s no better time to fix any of those long-standing issues so that they can feel confident in how they look. Interestingly, with our older adult patients, it’s actually the divorcees who we see the most; older adults embarking on second marriages or heading out into the dating world again suddenly decide that they want and deserve to look their best, so they come to us to get that perfect smile in place.
Orthodontic relapse is also a large contributor to adult patients visiting the dentist for corrective procedures. Relapse occurs when patients who previously wore traditional ‘train track’ braces, or even other aligners, didn’t undertake the correct aftercare and find that their teeth have shifted back to their original position, so a second course of realignment is required.
Around 40-90% of patients can experience orthodontic relapse if they don’t continue to wear retainers after the initial course is finished, so at New Town Dental Care we insist that patients take the aftercare seriously. When you’re told to wear a retainer, the only option is to wear it. Otherwise, all of the hard work, time and money spent on the initial procedure can go to waste. In most cases, you’ll only need to wear retainers overnight to ensure that teeth remain in their new position, but this should be a priority for anyone undergoing dental realignment.
When it comes to what kind of realignment is the most popular, there’s one clear front-runner. Invisible alignment treatments, such as Invisalign, are proving the most popular options, particularly with the over-25s who have more disposable income. As it’s such a discreet way to correct your smile, it’s incredibly popular with young professionals who want to look their best at all times, but’s it’s also one of the more expensive options, making it often out of reach for younger patients.