In years gone by, braces were associated with teenagers and youngsters battling orthodontic imperfections, but today, the story is very different. While braces remain a very effective treatment for children with issues that affect tooth alignment, more and more adults are opting to have orthodontic treatment.
According to the British Orthodontic Society, three quarters of members have experienced an increase in the demand for adult orthodontics, with many practices deciding to invest in state of the art equipment to provide their clients with the latest treatments on the market. Barclays Bank has almost doubled the amount of money lent to dentists in the last two years.
Experts believe that the soaring popularity of adult braces is due to a combination of factors, including a positive shift in attitude towards adult treatment, the development and availability of new, discreet, rapid treatments, and the rise of the selfie and social media. The images that we tend to see of smiles in the media and social feeds depict flawless teeth, and dentists are seeing more patients who come in with an idea of what they want their smile to look like based on celebrity looks and photographs from social platforms or magazines. Celebrity endorsements have also made braces a bit cooler than they used to be, with famous faces like Fearne Cotton and Miley Cyrus among those to take the plunge and undergo treatment during their adult years.
Lucy Setter was 27 when she decided to have braces. Having had two children, Lucy decided that she wanted to focus on herself a bit more. She had been to see an orthodontist at the age of 14, but was scared to have braces and decided against treatment. She then went for a consultation at the age of 19, but again put treatment off, as braces are only available free of charge on the NHS for children. Later in life, Lucy wanted to feel more confident, and she found a dentist that offered a payment plan. Now, having had braces and two more children, Lucy said she finally feels confident when she smiles, and this has filtered into every aspect of her life.