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Adults are seeking orthodontic treatment in record numbers

Attendees mingle during the 2105 AAO Annual Session, held in San Francisco. (Photo: Sierra Rendon, DTA)

Fri. 29 April 2016


It’s never too late for a healthy, beautiful smile. A new study shows that adults are seeking orthodontic treatment in record numbers. From 2012 to 2014, adults seeking treatment from orthodontists in the United States and Canada increased 16 percent, resulting in a record high of 1,441,000 patients ages 18 and older, according to the American Association of Orthodontists’ “Economics of Orthodontics” survey of 2014.

The study was conducted for the AAO by the independent research firm Loyalty Research Center.

The AAO estimates that 27 percent of all U.S. and Canadian orthodontic patients are adults.

“When we speak to many of our adult patients about their experience with orthodontics, their only regret is not starting treatment sooner,” said Morris N. Poole, DDS, president of the AAO.

“Thanks to innovative technology and techniques, many adults are pleasantly surprised when they learn about today’s treatment options, which can be almost imperceptible. It’s a common misconception that orthodontic care is just for adolescents. We have data showing that adults report improvements in their professional and personal lives after completing orthodontic treatment.”

Poole credits the growing number of adults in treatment to the widespread understanding that a healthy, beautiful smile lends itself to social and professional success.

“Many adults opt for treatment because of the dual benefits of an improved smile and oral health,” he said. “Orthodontics imparts life-long benefits and boosts confidence in many areas of life, from giving a presentation at work to feeling more comfortable in a one-on-one conversation.”

The affordability of treatment, Poole said, is an added benefit. Most orthodontists offer a variety of payment options. They can include interest-free in-house financing, payment plans with or without down payments, payment in full at the beginning of treatment with a discount or bank or other financing.

No referral is necessary to see an orthodontist. Further savings include complimentary or low- cost initial consultations. Dental insurance can offset a portion of the fee for treatment. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) can be used for orthodontic treatment, as well.

“Orthodontists work with patients to help them fit orthodontic treatment into their budgets,” Poole said.

Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, and patients of all ages seek out orthodontists for their expertise in straightening teeth and aligning the bite.

“Despite the recession and difficult economic times in recent years, orthodontic treatment is at an all-time high,” Poole said. “A healthy, beautiful smile is an investment for a lifetime — no matter what age the treatment begins!”

About the study

In a 2013 study conducted for the AAO by Impulse Research Corp. among individuals who, as adults, had orthodontic treatment provided by orthodontists, respondents reported that orthodontic treatment contributed to improvements in their professional and personal lives.

Seventy-five percent of adults surveyed reported improvements in career or personal relationships and attributed this to the improved post-orthodontic treatment smile. Citing newfound self-confidence, 92 percent of survey respondents said they would recommend orthodontic treatment to other adults.

(Source: American Association of Orthodontists)


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