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More Baby Boomers Getting Braces

Aug 17, 2007
Adult orthodontia is big business. More 40-something year old parents have finally gotten all their children out of braces and now it's their turn. Some middle-agers are just now becoming metal mouths because they are at a point in their life when they can finally afford it. Still others opt for the wires because after starting over after a divorce they are finally ready to get that gorgeous straight smile!

If you're considering taking the plunge yourself, here are a few bits of information you should know before making a decision. There are basically three types of braces moms and dads are opting for: standard metal, clear brackets and invisible. The standard ones are the most cost effective and you can even change the color of your rubber bands like all the hip, cool kids are doing. Clear brackets are a bit larger in size than the metal ones. Depending on your bite you may not have enough room to get the clear ones on your lower teeth, at least not initially. The wires are still metal and you can see the braces on your teeth, they're just not as noticeable. Drawbacks are they are slightly more expensive than the metal brackets and when it comes time to take them off, it's takes a bit more effort and is consequently a little more uncomfortable. Lastly there are the invisible braces which go behind your teeth, not on the front like most. It takes a while longer to correct your smile and is the most expensive type.

Speaking of expensive, you should on plan on spending about $4,000 for your braces. Clearly you will find some orthodontists who will do it for less, and some for more. It really depends also on the length and severity of treatment. If you have orthodontia insurance coverage, some plans cover up to 50% of the total costs. Most orthodontists will allow you to make monthly payments. You'll be required to put a down payment on your new beautiful smile.

One thing you may not hear during your initial consultation, yet other adults who have gone before you will testify to is that when you initially get your braces put on your teeth - it hurts! It hurts a lot and for along time! With children they tell them it may be a little uncomfortable for two or three days and to take Ibuprophin as needed for pain. That's not the case with adults, although they may give you the same instructions. Think about it. Children who get braces have their permanent teeth for generally three months or three years. Those big teeth haven't become too accustomed to hanging out in their current location.

Adults, on the other hand, have had those permanent teeth affixed in their mouth for 20-35 years prior to getting braces. They don't move as easily or as willingly. One mother shared that she was glad she had left over heavy duty pain meds from her c-section five years prior. She lamented that she felt like an elephant was sitting on her head for 10-days straight. Further, she continued she'd rather go through another 52 hours of labor than to get braces put on again.

This is not to frighten you. It does get much easier and you even forget you have them on. When you get adjustments every eight weeks or so, you're normally a little tender for 24-36 hours, and aspirin does help. The severe pain is just initially when you first get them on. Ask for pain meds. Do not let them tell you to take a few Tylenol and you'll be fine in three days. You're in for a rude awakening if you believe that.

But in no time at all, average 18-24 months you will have a Hollywood smile and it will have all been worth it! Open wide - who's next?
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