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More adults now getting braces

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 05:00 24/01/2014
Peter Folwer
CREATING SMILES: Wish For A Smile Trust chairman Peter Fowler with a young patient. The trust is looking for more children to help.

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A growing number of adults are now seeking orthodontic treatment claiming you are never too old for the perfect smile.

New Zealand Association of Orthodontists president Peter Barwick says young professionals are getting braces as a "lifestyle investment" much like a gym membership.

"We're seeing patients who would have liked to have had braces when they were young, but family circumstances didn't allow it. Now with careers and incomes of their own many patients are seeing the very real benefits of orthodontic care in their early 20s and through to their 30s."

Gone are the days of mouths full of metal train tracks, Mr Barwick says.

Less intrusive treatments like "invisible aligners", or braces on the back of teeth, are widely available meaning adults can have the work without anyone knowing.

Orthodontic treatment typically ranges from three to 24 months.

One dental chain, Lumino The Dentists, says about 25 per cent of braces patients are adults.

The results of braces are not just superficial, Mr Barwick says.

A proper bite and correctly aligned teeth improves oral health by making teeth easier to clean and reducing the risk of tooth decay, tooth wear and gum disease, he says.

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- North Shore Times

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