Every time I think I know what’s considered “cool” they go and change it again. I just can’t keep up!
Today’s mind warp is braces, with a new report finding that today’s kids (I’d call them youth but it makes me sound old) are actually asking, begging and pleading with their parents to get braces, despite not needing them to straighten wonky teeth.
Yep, you read that right. What was once the torment of our teenage years is now apparently the epitome of cool and kids are asking their parents to make appointments with orthodontists and dentists for an expert opinion on whether or not they will need to be fitted with a mouth full of metal.
The Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO) recently conducted a study which shows that attitudes towards dental health has changed significantly since I was a whipper snapper.
In fact, seven out of 10 orthodontists have said that children reacted with happiness and excitement when they were told they needed braces and an astounding nine in 10 orthodontists witnessed kids get visibly upset when they were told that they didn’t need braces (damn you straight teeth).
ASO spokesperson and practicing specialist orthodontist, Dr David Mastroianni, says that the finding is not surprising and he believes it’s due to the changing attitudes towards orthodontic treatment in Australia, as well as the modern technologies available to patients.
“The industry has observed a shift in attitudes towards braces and orthodontic treatment first hand. We now have children coming in for consultations, not because they’ve been referred by their dentist, but because the child wants braces,” he says.
“In fact, it’s not uncommon for children to be upset when told that they don’t need braces. Ten years ago that wasn’t the case.”
You’re damn right, David. There were indeed tears in my orthodontic appointment all those years ago and I can tell you now, they weren’t for the same reasons. I guess I was just ahead of my time.
Gone are the days of the boring old colours available to braces wearers. David says that advance technologies in the area mean that treatment options are varied and give patients a lot more choice when it comes to their orthodontic treatment.
"Braces today are small and comfortable, but offer coloured or glow-in-the-dark options. Teens across the country are embracing their orthodontic treatment to personalise their look. It's all about the colour," he says.
For those who don't wish to be quite as "out there" with their braces, there is also the option for invisible tracks which are almost undetectable (and therefore popular with adults requiring orthodontic treatment).
Orthodontists are welcoming the shift in attitudes towards orthodontic treatment but remind parents that it's up to the orthodontist to determine the right treatment on an individual basis, and that all orthodontic treatment should be undertaken by a professional.
Parents are advised to book their children in for a consultation between the ages of seven and 10 years of age and early assessment allows the orthodontist to determine which treatment options are needed.
For us parents this means that we are better able to manage the cost of orthodontic treatment (phew) by knowing what treatment (if any) might be needed down the track.