An invigorating effect – richmondmagazine.com
Alex Thomson feels like he was lucky to straighten his teeth during the pandemic. As a business analyst for Capital One, he works from home, so there is no audience to turn off when he takes out plastic gutters before every meal, and he doesn’t have to go to restaurants. office toilet to brush your teeth after.
“It’s much easier to have orthodontic treatment while working from home and on Zoom,” says Thomson. “When I first received it in January 2020, I was embarrassed and thought people could hear my lisp, but they really can’t. I made video calls instead of meeting in person, so it’s easier to fit in. I think no one can really tell.
Thomson, 32, never had braces as a teenager because they weren’t warranted at the time, but he decided to wear them as an adult to improve his appearance. His wife, Liz, had clear braces when they dated about nine years ago, and his sister, Nicole Laudon, a dental hygienist, had hinted that he should do something about her once crooked teeth. and crowded with a cross bite on the side. .
“It’s more a matter of vanity,” says Thomson, who is almost finished his treatment. “And the pandemic has turned out to be the best time for that. “
Over the past decade, it has become increasingly common to see adults with orthodontics, and the unique lifestyle of the COVID-19 pandemic has made straightening teeth easier for many.
Dr Larry Scarborough, owner and operator of James River Orthodontics, has seen an increase in the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment over the past decade, and that number has increased in recent years. The pandemic also played a role as people stayed at home to comply with safety restrictions.
“People have more time and resources to take care of themselves since they weren’t spending their money traveling or eating out,” says Scarborough.
Thomson orthodontist Dr Sheldon Bates says he has treated more adults in the past year, a phenomenon he attributes to what he calls the “Zoom effect”.
“Everyone works remotely,” he says. “We see pictures of us talking on the computer screen. We see each other more than ever in the course of a day. And people say, “My God, every time I log into Zoom, I can’t help but look at my teeth.” Being at home or being behind a mask has made orthodontics a lot easier. “
There are other factors unique to the pandemic that have contributed to many more adults pursuing orthodontic treatment, including the availability of additional money from stimulus funds or the savings resulting from not going out or not. travel this year that people have spent to improve themselves.
Bates closed his three Bates orthodontics from March 16 to May 1, 2020, but this year, he says, he saw an increase of almost 40% in the number of adult patients compared to 2020.
Adults surpassing adolescents
This is a trend noted by Dr. Richard M. Marcus, an orthodontist with Family dentistry in Virginia. Patient statistics across the practice’s multiple sites confirm this. In one office, adults accounted for 70% of the patient load, far more numerous than minors.
At Virginia Family Dentistry’s Three Chopt Road site, adults make up 60% of patients seeking straighter teeth. The change took decades, but it is particularly evident now. “People invest in themselves,” says Marcus. “People are at home working on Zoom. They see each other and ask, “Do I look like this? I don’t like my teeth and their appearance. “
One of Marcus’ patients, Noel Kelly Norris, has his teeth straightened at the same time his 15-year-old son wears his second braces. Norris, 53, says she delayed straightening her teeth for years. In high school, she realized that her teeth did not look like everyone’s. She felt that a tooth pushed behind others was preventing her from having a pretty smile. “When I went to college and then after, it was always something that bothered me,” she says.
After divorcing about seven years ago, with a son already on braces, she felt it was time for her to start straightening her own teeth. She loved Dr. Marcus, whom her children saw at Virginia Family Dentistry, and she had insurance coverage to pay for half the cost of orthodontics. She felt the cost of $ 2,500 was reasonable and began treatment.
“I attend a lot of meetings and do presentations with leaders of hospitals and practices of large groups,” she says. “I just wanted to feel better about my smile and not be so embarrassed about my teeth when giving presentations and talking, and I just felt like it added to a beautiful smile. I definitely feel more confident knowing that my teeth are almost perfect. It was definitely a confidence booster.
Having orthodontic treatment at the same time as her son brought them together in a somewhat fun way where they both can complain about the discomfort. “I know I can understand,” she said. “I can understand why he needs not to eat certain things or what he’s going through when he says, ‘My jaw hurts. I think it probably gives me a better understanding of what he went through.
Dr Steven Lindauer, President of Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Orthodontics, says studies show that adults who straighten their teeth do so to improve their self-esteem and appearance, and that dental care will improve how others perceive them. Men are the fastest growing industry choosing orthodontics, says Lindauer, and 40% of patients who come to the VCU practice to straighten their teeth are adults. Lindauer attributes this percentage to VCU’s location near downtown businesses and the clinic’s lower treatment cost.
Lindauer, who is also editor-in-chief of the journal The corner orthodontist, attributes the growth in the number of adults seeking orthodontics to the creation of Invisalign and other removable coverings in 1999, as well as other changes in orthodontic treatment that do not make an adult look like a teenager clumsy with a mouth full of metal. “Personally, from an orthodontist’s point of view, I like control and prefer braces, but there isn’t much of a time difference between the two methods,” Lindauer says.
He added that regardless of age, it is crucial that orthodontics be supervised by professionals if you want positive results. He urged people to be careful if they are considering a do-it-yourself treatment that some companies offer in the mail where the teeth are simply scanned.
Adults who pursue orthodontic treatment should be aware that the service is considered optional by many insurers and costs vary. At the VCU Orthodontic Clinic, the service is $ 5,000; in private practices, orthodontics can cost $ 6,000 to $ 9,000, and insurance may only cover $ 1,500 to $ 2,500 of this expense.
Lindauer says the main reasons adults pursue orthodontic treatment are self-improvement, satisfaction or ambition. He cites decades-old studies showing that people with straighter teeth are believed to rank higher in social hierarchies. A more recent study of people working in employment agencies showed that they viewed people with straighter teeth as having better impressions.
“The essence of orthodontic practices is to improve life,” says Lindauer. “Adults are happier when they remove their braces because the treatment is over, but also because it looks better after it is finished.