Myleene Klass famously showed hers off to This Morning viewers, Karen Millen has used them and Kate Middleton reportedly wore them before her wedding but it seems it’s not just celebrities who are opting for the latest in teeth straightening technology.
Wetherby orthodontist Megan Hatfield has seen demand for lingual brace treatment – which involves fitting braces to the backs of the teeth rather than the front so they can’t be seen – soar since Klass first went public.
Megan says the braces are increasingly being requested by self-conscious adult patients and now make up 20 per cent of her work with over 18s.
Megan, of Wetherby Orthodontics said:
There’s a perception that braces are something teenagers wear so when older patients come in wanting to correct irregularities in the alignment of their teeth they’re reluctant to have traditional braces.
Often they’re from a lost generation that never had access to orthodontic care as children, unlike today’s youngsters who are encouraged to have the treatment while they’re still at school.
I have treated actresses and those who are in the public eye but most are just ordinary people who have made the decision to do something about their teeth and are willing to pay a bit more for discreet treatment.
Megan says she’s seen a huge surge in demand from patients in their 40s, 50s and even 60s and has now treated more than 20 patients using lingual braces like the ones worn by Myleene Klass.
Lingual braces costs between £5,000 and £9,000, roughly twice the price of traditional metal braces. Regular visits over one or two years are usually needed to complete the course.
Angela Day decided to undergo treatment ahead of her eldest son’s wedding.
Angela Day said:
I was unaware that the over fifties could still have their teeth straightened but when I decided to go for braces I didn’t want anything that could be seen.
I have a good social life and like most women I have days when my hair goes flat and I feel fat in anything I try on so metal braces on my teeth would have been enough to make me housebound.
But it’s not just women who feel self-conscious about their appearance. Angela’s 27-year-old son also had treatment with lingual braces as did student Michael Perkins, who says he chose them because although he was conscious of his teeth he was even more concerned about people seeing him with chunky metal braces.
About half the patients who come through Megan’s door are adults and about a quarter of her adult patients are men ranging from their early 20s to their 40s and 50s.
Generally, though, there’s still a reluctance amongst adults to take that first step and seek advice so Megan recently developed an iphone app that allows people to take a photo of their teeth and send it to her for an opinion. It’s an innovation that has attracted attention from the United States as well as from other dental experts in the UK.
The Send A Smile app makes it easier for people to make tentative enquiries and from my point of view it means I can see the problem rather than having it explained to me over the phone.
Anything that helps people overcome their fears and seek treatment for problems that have probably been bothering them for a long time has to be a good thing.