When I was a kid, it seemed that only a select few were getting braces. These days, almost every young face has a mouthful of gear and adults are often sporting braces too. (Hello, Gen Z.) So what gives? Have things changed that much in the last 30 years?

For one, it is much more “normal” now to do things not simply for functional reasons but for cosmetic ones too. Many adults who have suffered from misshapen teeth can now afford to have them realigned. Some have suggested that the “zoom effect”, as researchers have coined it, has made people more aware of their faces and smiles, thanks to the high number of Zoom meetings that have occurred since the Covid Pandemic. Also, technology in the dental world has advanced so quickly that what was once uncomfortable and noticeable is now streamlined and tailored to the individual.

With options like Invisalign and Ceramic braces, the process is less daunting and brings little attention to the procedure. On the flip side, most dentists suggest kids visit an orthodontist by the age of 7-8. That way, crooked teeth, misaligned jaws, and overcrowding can be taken care of sooner rather than later rather than waiting for permanent teeth to come in. Problems are detected earlier to prevent greater oral health issues down the road. Though a costly investment, braces have a high success rate, so there’s no age limit attached to their effectiveness.

Visiting your dentist regularly allows them to give you helpful feedback in terms of timing and necessity for braces. They can help connect you with a trusted orthodontist and give helpful advice as you navigate oral health with braces attached to the teeth.