60 per cent of orthodontists report seeing an increase in demand for teeth straightening treatments over the past year, the British Orthodontic Society survey reveals. In particular, 84 per cent of orthodontists have seen an uptick in adult patients (mostly women between 26 and 55 years old) desiring fixed braces or removable aligners. Over 50 per cent of patients want to perfect their smile due to social concerns, while 65 per cent have been attracted by the sheer variety of cosmetic dental treatments now available.
The pressure of video chat
Dentists across the UK are noting an influx of patients desiring treatments to counter 'Zoom smile anxiety'. “The increase in video calling over the last year has meant that people are much more aware of how they look when they talk,” explains Sam Jethwa, director of communications at the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. For example, when Paul Ismail started working from home, he had a sudden realisation after seeing his face during video chat, exclaiming, “Oh my god, is that how I look, is that how I sound, is that how crooked my teeth are at the top?” He eventually began Invisalign treatment to improve his smile. “The fashion now is straighter teeth,” said Ismail. “It’s not necessarily that people have really bad teeth, it’s the influence of America where people want the perfect Hollywood smile.” Even better, since he was working from home, Ismail’s Invisalign treatment went unnoticed.
Rise in braces
Some patients are now opting for braces as they can easily be hidden behind face masks. “I strongly believe that masks have made many patients a lot more open to more overtly obvious dental straightening treatments, such as traditional braces,” said Chaw-Su Kyi. However, DIY braces are also now increasingly popular — which is a concern for 65 per cent of orthodontists due to the inherent health risks. Patients should always seek cosmetic treatment from a qualified dental provider, and avoid DIY treatments. Additionally, oral health is also important for successful orthodontics treatment — although it can be easy to make mistakes. For example, brushing your teeth requires careful attention, as all surfaces of the brackets on braces need cleaning. Every bracket and tooth must be kept clean and healthy to avoid plaque and decay.
When it comes to the most popular types of braces, 80 per cent of orthodontists say patients are opting for fixed, clear braces. Moreover, 30 per cent of orthodontists say lingual braces (fixed behind the teeth) are most desired, while 80 per cent are favouring clear aligners. However, fixed braces — commonly known as train tracks — remain most sought-after for 97 per cent of patients (due to the high number of young people receiving fixed braces on the NHS).
“It is good to see the number of adults interested in orthodontics remains high; we know that treatment can give people the straight and confident smile they have always dreamed about,” noted Peter McCallum, BOS director of external relations. “We want to ensure patients are given the very best advice about orthodontic treatment.” Those hoping for the perfect smile are making their choice at the perfect time, as there are now many orthodontic options available to adults, and treatment no longer carries the stigma it once did.