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Studies have shown that while most adolescents do not care about the look of braces, adults do. The reasons for this typically have to do with social interactions, both professional and personal. After all, going in for a job interview is stressful enough without worrying whether the boss is looking at your oral hardware or your pretty smile. Interestingly enough, a recent study published by the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics has proven that as adults our worries for our own vanity need not be so extreme.
The study put together photographs of 60 volunteers, including 21 men and 39 women. All of the participants were between the ages of 18 and 47 and had straight teeth with aligned dental arches. Brackets were positioned across their teeth (though not bonded), and the typical stainless steel archwire bent across so that everything was attached like real braces. With these new “braces” on, participants then rated themselves based on their appearance in three photographs: one with metal brackets, one with ceramic brackets, and one without any braces at all. The photographs were then shown to fifteen other adults who rated the 180 photographs on the same scale, with one photograph being shown at a time in random order. This time, however,
not only did the fifteen, non-braces participants rate the faces based on beauty, but they rated them on a scale of intelligence, popularity, friendliness, education, happiness, self-confidence, attractiveness, ridiculousness, extrovertedness and success.
What came next was a surprise. The participants who rated themselves showed a huge difference in their perceptions of their faces with braces or without. They saw themselves as vastly more beautiful without the braces, regardless of the type of bracket. For the outside observer, the perspective of the results were quite different. They showed no significant change in how they rated the faces, regardless of having metal or ceramic braces or no braces at all. In their opinion, if someone’s smile was beautiful without braces, it was just as beautiful with them. The same was true for how they rated all the other categories.
What does this mean for adults considering orthodontic appliances? Each of us is our own worst critic. Your beauty, intelligence, and a number of other features others assume based on your facial features are not limited by braces. So if you’re looking for straighter teeth and a more confident smile, don’t let your fear of other people’s opinions hold you back.
This information is not meant to be used as medical advice. It is provided solely for educational purposes. Our Citrus Heights, CA, orthodontist would be pleased to discuss your circumstances and needs as they relate to the topics in this blog. Please give us a call at 916.966.5517 or click here to schedule your DeLurgio & Blom Orthodontics Smile Assessment today.