Wait, Aren’t Braces For Kids?

October 31st, 2013

By Dr. Kathryn Swan

We generally associate braces with middle schoolers and some unlucky high schoolers.  For some of us, braces bring back the past: head gear, retainers, and tiny rubber bands.  Surprisingly within the last decade, orthodontists have shifted their focus to adults.  According to the American Associate of Orthodontists, the number of American adults getting braces has jumped almost 60%, from 1994 to 2010.  After all, what adult doesn’t crave a straight, shiny smile?


The pressure to look and feel good about our adult selves can be intense.  A smile is one of the first things we show people.  Getting braces can help achieve a perfect smile and boost overall confidence.  Trisha was fourteen the first time she got braces.  She broke the cardinal rule of having braces, as many of us braces-wearers did, and did not wear her retainer.  Unfortunately, many retainers are waiting patiently in medicine cabinets across Grand Rapids to correct small imperfections in area smiles.


At 23, Trisha is at it again.  The impact of braces in her adult life is minimal.  She is excited for the chance to smile spontaneously and not think about her crooked smile.  Trisha would often feel self-conscious looking back on photos of herself, and at times, would not smile at all.  Other than sometimes being mistaken for younger than she is, there is no mockery or stigma attached to wearing braces as an adult, as perhaps there was in younger years.  Middle schoolers can be mean about outside appearances; the beauty of adulthood is that we all grow out of this phase (hopefully, and if you haven’t, you should).  Grand Rapids deserves Trisha’s smile, and in a year, they will have it.


Although the cost for braces is quite high, the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics estimates the cost to be between $5,000 and $6,000; most clinics will work with patients to figure out a reasonable payment plan.  Trisha’s braces were insured under her father, but he was laid off and she was left to pay the remaining balance.  She worked out an arrangement to pay $100 a month.  Fairly reasonable for a lifetime with a great smile.


No longer are is the old reference “brace-face” an issue in deciding whether to get braces as an adult.  Adults have the luxury of living their lives as they see fit.  If you desire a straight smile to share with the world, braces may be a good option.  They may be the only option; and they won’t destroy your confidence or your bank account.


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Swan Orthodontics
6677 Crossings Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
(616) 698-2323
(616) 698-2323