Just as the technology behind braces has changed markedly over the past decade or so, so too has the attitude towards orthodontics.
Where once orthodontic treatments like braces may have been considered an option available for just a few, now teeth straightening and bite alignment are available to all. This shift is prompting a rise in the number of people undergoing treatment not just in their teens but at almost any stage of life.
Here’s an insight into the changing attitude to orthodontics and the benefits it offers the community as a whole.
Braces stigma is a thing of the past
A recent survey by Orthodontics Australia revealed just how far we’ve come when it comes to orthodontic treatment like braces.
They found attitudes towards braces have shifted significantly in recent years, with 7 in 10 children reacting with happiness or excitement to the news they need braces.
Not only that, their study revealed 94 per cent of orthodontists have experienced parents bringing their child in for a consultation because the child wants braces and 9 in 10 orthodontists have witnessed a child became visibly upset when told they didn’t need braces.
It’s a far cry from years gone by when braces might have made people the subject of teasing, but ASO spokesperson and practicing specialist orthodontist, Dr David Mastroianni notes it comes as no surprise.
“The industry has observed a shift in attitudes towards braces and orthodontic treatment first hand. We now have children coming in for consultations, not because they’ve been referred by their dentist, but because the child wants braces,” says Dr Mastroianni.
“In fact, it’s not uncommon for children to be upset when told they don’t need braces. Ten years ago this was not the case.”
So, what’s contributing to the shift?
In many ways the parents of today were the first generation to really witness the benefits of braces first-hand en masse. As a result, they are better educated about the positive outcomes in terms of both self-esteem and good dental health.
In the meantime, the greater benefits of having straight teeth and a properly aligned bite are also more widely understood. And that’s prompting more people to consult orthodontists as part of a general approach to overall health and wellbeing.
There’s also a better understanding that orthodontics is not just about braces, but rather about positioning the teeth and jaw to improve all number of issues, including sleep apnoea, breathing difficulties and speech impediments.
New treatment options
The past two decades have also seen some major advancements in the type of treatments used and the options available for people seeking orthodontic treatment.
It’s brought us clear aligners like Invisalign and self-ligating braces like the Damon system.
Invisalign uses a series of custom-fitted clear aligners that are regularly changed to guide teeth into the desired position. It’s considered ideal for people seeking a more discrete orthodontic option.
Meanwhile, Damon Braces offer shorter treatment times, fewer extractions and increased patient comfort.
These options have proved particularly attractive with adults who are coming to understand the role teeth positioning and jaw alignment play in their long-term dental health.
As always, popular cultures both mirrors and influences modern society. Now it’s not unusual to see beaming braces’ smiles on the faces of the latest social media starlet, movie star or music icon.
Think Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Prince Harry, and Khloe Kardashian. That trend has also influenced adult acceptance of braces treatment courtesy of Tom Cruise, Cindy Crawford, and Gwenn Stefani.
For many people, this celebrity influence is enough to give them the go ahead that it’s OK to pay attention to the look and function of their teeth.
Affordability and accessibility
As more people ponder the prospect of braces, either for themselves or for their children, there is a greater anticipation that it will be a general living expense. Where once, braces were considered a luxury item for the children of the wealthy few, they are now thought of as a necessity for general health.
Health insurers have helped fuel this trend by incorporating orthodontic work and braces treatment into some of their extras coverage.
Meanwhile, more and more orthodontists have devised plans to ensure braces treatment is affordable for all. At Norwest Orthodontics for example, we have interest-free payment plans available to help manage the cost.
These start from as little as $10 a day, allowing you to incorporate the cost of treatment into your weekly outlay.
Catering to a need not a want
Braces may be more accepted and more popular than ever before courtesy of a shift in general attitude, but whether or not they are needed is something only a specialist orthodontist can ascertain.
At Norwest Orthodontics we understand teeth are as individual as the people behind them, and there is never a one-size fits all solution when it comes to the optimum smile.
Our role is to recommend the right orthodontic treatment only when we believe it is required. It is then to ensure that solution is suitable, achievable, affordable and the best option for the individual involved.
In the interim we’re delighted to see that people have a better understanding of the important role straight teeth and a properly aligned bite play.
We’ve seen the results in terms of self-esteem, better dental health and smiles that last a lifetime. But that’s not about a fad or increased popularity, it’s part of our overarching philosophy that we treat people, not just teeth.
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.
We also have a suite of treatments available that include discreet, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.