How braces and aligners have altered expectations

There has always been an interplay between services and expectations; everybody wants to give the best service they can and with it, expectations always grow. When combined with developing better techniques and understanding the fundamentals, a feedback loop is created. This can be seen throughout almost every industry, and with orthodontic care, it certainly has made itself known.

Orthodontic treatment simply means the moving of teeth. It was first referred to in Greek medical manuals that suggested finger pressure over many hours could change tooth location, which is technically true, but it’s pretty inefficient. This has led to lots of tools and gadgets to apply that pressure constantly.

Celebrity standards setting the curve

In the 60s, The Beatles may have been an icon but not for their teeth. Teeth just were not the priority as the free love countercultures defined celebrity! The change may have been gradual, but as pearly whites that were straight and symmetrical became signs of status, it was celebrities that led the way. By the 90s, it was obvious that you could not get away as a celebrity without near-perfect teeth. Some may have taken it one step too far with phosphorescent standards of boy bands and Simon Cowell.

2020’s standards of dentistry amongst celebrities have levelled off albeit at the very top end of what is possible with a healthy dose of photoshop and video editing to boot. Many of these dental goals have moved down to the rest of society, leading people to wonder what they can do to improve the appearance of their teeth; whitening became part of their normal routines, and more adults considered an orthodontist Liverpool more than ever.

Covert treatment options

One of the biggest factors limiting adult orthodontic care, particularly when focused on static goals, is the appearance of wearing braces. Considered infantile and unflattering, many patients simply do not wish to or cannot afford to go through the process of reducing appearance temporarily to reach and assist goals. The obligations of adult life are simply not as flexible as those of high school or full-time education.

Changes in orthodontic practice

Over the same time period from the 60s to today, there has been a big shift in tools from heavy-handed headgear to lighter and thinner braces, with bulky steel archwires being superseded with thin titanium-nickel alloy. With the length of treatments sinking, orthodontic treatment extending more than 2 years was very rare, but historically it was not unheard of.

NHS treatment: then vs. now

It can be easy to forget that the NHS was founded in the late 1940s, and it took a long time to establish the services that many have come to take for granted today. Dentistry was one of the later services; therefore, it is entirely possible for an adult in the 1960s, depending on their economic background, to be completely denied dental care at the most critical stages of their life.

In the more general improvement and, therefore, higher expectations of tooth alignment, there is an expectation of having access to good quality dental care regardless of economic background throughout childhood.

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