We often associate braces with teenagers and the image of metal train tracks and bright coloured elastic bands wrapped around for decoration. However, it is not only teenagers who wear braces and it is now becoming more common for adults to get a brace and to be openly seen wearing it during their day-to-day life. This may make many of us think of TV characters like Ugly Betty, however there are a number of celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and Faith Hill, who have challenged this stigma by wearing braces in the public eye. In 2013, Faith Hill was pictured on the red carpet of the Grammy awards wearing train track braces, at the age of forty five, along with her glamorous gown (see image).
In addition to the conventional brace, there are now a variety of different types available to suit the patient’s visual and comfort preferences, whilst meeting the requirement to obtain the optimum treatment result. From those garish metal contraptions, braces have evolved and are now available as more discreet treatments such as the 3m Clarity Ceramic brace which is translucent and therefore, almost unnoticeable to others. Similarly, the Incognito Invisible brace offers a ‘perfect fit’ in terms of how it feels for the patient as well as how it looks visually. There is also the option of removable appliances such as Invisalign and the Inman Aligner. Depending on which type is needed, the patient may be required to wear the appliance while they sleep or possibly throughout the day (removing it when they eat or clean their teeth).
There are a multitude of reasons as to why a person may choose or need to wear braces during their adult life. Many may have put off having a brace when they were younger due to fear or embarrassment but now, as adults, value the importance of their dental health. Alternatively, as we grow older, problems can develop that may require us to get a brace as an adult. This could be to fix a complication before it worsens or to rectify orthodontic work, for example after a person stops wearing their retainer.
Whether the surge in numbers of adults wearing braces has occurred because they are now more socially acceptable, or because more discreet modern treatments are available, it is certain to be a continuing trend in the future.
You may be thinking that with the dramatic rise in adult braces, why do you not know anybody that wears one? Maybe you do. Maybe you just can’t see it. After all, the train track brace isn’t your only option so why would it be theirs?