It seems to be a common misconception that braces are all about vanity. Specifically, you sacrifice some of your dignity in middle and high school (what with the metal studs glued to your teeth) and then you gain it all back thanks to a perfect smile which will (hopefully) last the rest of your lifetime. However, neither of these facts is completely true.
Ending Bad Trends
Teeth tend to drift around in your mouth as the years go by, and modern dentists know enough about this process to be able to predict where your teeth will be in three or four decades based on where they are right now. For instance, a person with a crossbite has teeth which don’t line up perfectly from top to bottom, and this misalignment will usually increase as the years go by. That puts extra stress on the edges of each tooth.
Braces can rid you of unsightly gaps between your front teeth, but they also provide the more practical effect of keeping your teeth tight and together. This reduces the wear and tear your teeth experience throughout years of chewing food, and the fact that they make your smile perfect is practically a side benefit.
Beginning New Methods
The classic steel-stud braces are still around and in use, but thanks to recent innovations, correcting your teeth no longer has to be such an unsightly endeavor. Modern dentists can produce precision correctors using clear plastic which gradually shifts the patient’s teeth while remaining low-profile. As a bonus, since you need to take the correctors out to eat anyways, there’s no need to cut things like popcorn and gum out of your diet.
It’s also worth pointing out that, while the traditional age to get braces is just as soon as you get enough adult teeth, usually sometime in the early teens, it’s rarely too late to correct something like an overbite or underbite. You may not think it’s worth the embarrassment of going to work with a “metal mouth,” but thanks to modern innovations your braces can remain a confidential fact shared only by you and your orthodontist.