Orthodontics Blog - Dr. Albert Fontaine

Age Is Just A Number: More Adults Improve Their Smiles

DUNEDIN AND SPRING HILL, FLORIDA-Orthodontists want prospective patients to know that braces aren’t just for kids anymore. The Spokesman Review recently announced an intriguing statistic from the American Association of Orthodontists about the increasing rate of adults visiting and seeking treatment from the orthodontist.

“In 2010, the number of adults in braces was up 23 percent from 1989, when the American Association of Orthodontists started tracking patients by age,” according to the Spokesman Review article. “Nearly 1.1 million adults were in treatment in 2010.”

Dr. Albert Fontaine, a Spring Hill orthodontics specialist, has noticed the increase of adult patients in his office.

“Invisalign, clear braces, and other less noticeable orthodontic treatments are more popular among our adult patients and I think they contribute to the growing number of adults undergoing treatment,” says Dr. Fontaine, one of the orthodoontists in Clearwater.

There are certain trends in orthodontics that have led to the increase in adults undergoing orthodontic treatment. Dr. Fontaine gives his top three reasons for this increase and why more adults should take care of their orthodontic issues.

#1. Family Income
The “Great Recession”-beginning in 2007-caused many of us to tighten our belts and take small measures to save money. Unfortunately, one of the measures included many parents choosing to hold off on getting braces for their children due to the expense braces entail.

“Our office noticed a drop in braces patients at the onset of the recession,” says Dr. Fontaine, a Clearwater orthodontist.

How does this correlate to the growing number of adult orthodontic patients? Those teens and young adults who postponed orthodontic treatment are now receiving treatment because they can afford to. Their parents could not afford to begin treatment at the time, but the adult now has an income where they can make orthodontic correction their priority.

#2. More Treatment Options Available
The metal-mouth look isn’t so bad as a teenager, because the majority of their peers have braces too. As adults, patients may not want the traditional fixed metal braces.

“Adults want to look good and many feel that it helps them in the business world to have a great smile. They may not go for braces, but Invisalign gives them the option,” says Dr. Fontaine,
There have been many technological developments in the field of orthodontic treatment. A big development was the Invisalign treatment that debuted in 1998. This treatment corrects minor to moderate orthodontic issues -spacing, crowding, underbite, overbite or crossbite- with an inconspicuous set of clear aligners.

If adult patients require fixed braces for their orthodontic regimen, they can look into clear or ceramic braces. Clear and ceramic braces remain much less noticeable than traditional fixed braces.

“When I sit down with an adult exam patient, we discuss what they want not necessarily what I want,” says Dr. Fontaine. “For example, there are times when I will only place a few brackets for only a few months to align one or two teeth. We don’t have to place full upper and lower braces every time. Limited treatment is an option in many cases, especially for adults.”

#3. More Information About Orthodontic Treatment
“Adults now can expect to keep their teeth longer,” says Dr. Jason B. Cope in an AAO press release. “And many of them recognize the difference a healthy, beautiful smile can make in their dental health, their overall health and their well-being.”

As orthodontists publish more information and data about the benefits of orthodontic treatment, the word gets out to the public. New research can convince doubtful, prospective patients to undergo treatment with the undeniable health benefits orthodontic correction offers.

Dr. Fontaine, a Dunedin adult and children orthodontics specialist, says he thinks this new data for adults seeking orthodontic treatment can help other adults looking into treatment realize they’re not alone. As it becomes more common, adults will become more comfortable receiving treatment. Adults can also take comfort in the new options available for treatment that Dr. Fontaine offers to his patients.

Adults should not fear seeking treatment that can improve their health and confidence. The journey to a brighter, beautiful smile can pave the way to a healthier and better life.

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