Teeth straightening for psycho-social reasons?

shutterstock_46032463Over 85% of people have their teeth straightened for psycho-social reasons

A survey of orthodontic specialists and their clinical staff has revealed what motivates people to have their teeth straightened [1]. The results, which are released today, show that the majority of people are driven to have tooth straightening to address psycho-social issues such as greater confidence. Career prospects were another key motivation, as was an impending landmark event primarily a wedding, whilst others seek treatment to improve their personal relationships or their dating prospects.

The orthodontic professionals questioned for the survey were all members of The Invisible Orthodontic Group – a large independent network of 20 specialist practices in the UK. They cited that the key reason the vast majority of their patients – over 85% – were seeking tooth straightening to tackle psycho-social issues. Of these 42% wanted to improve their confidence and overcome their shyness. Almost 50% hoped to be able to smile more in photographs and 9% wanted to smile without a hand in front of their mouths.  A smaller, but distressing 3% cited that their treatment was to tackle issues relating to bullying and teasing.

Career prospects were another motivating factor driving adults to seek orthodontic treatment.  For people seeking treatment for this reason, 41% were looking to be taken more seriously in a professional working environment, whist 36% wanted to perform better in the boardroom or during corporate presentations.   A fifth of people hoped that a corrected smile would help them to get a new job.

Personal reasons

Compelling personal reasons were another prime reason for seeking orthodontic treatment.  For people seeking treatment for this reason, a significant 73% hoped to improve their chances of appealing to a significant other, whilst a poignant 22% hoped that they could attract a new partner after divorce or a relationship split.  In a nod to the increasing significance of social media 8% hoped to improve their chances of attracting a date via sites such as Tinder, where they are judged purely by their appearance.

Of those listing a landmark occasion as the impetus to seek treatment 100% were driven to improve their smile by an impending wedding.

By developing a deeper understanding of the motivations driving adults to seek straightening, the orthodontists can develop treatment plans which address peoples’ fears, desires, time targets and potential stumbling blocks, and offer treatment suggestions to address them.  As the name suggests The Invisible Orthodontic Group, which conducted the research, specialises in offering discrete and virtually invisible orthodontic treatment options such as Invisalign or lingual braces (on the inside of the teeth) so that it is also possible to have treatment without anyone knowing.

TIO is a network of Specialist Orthodontists, meaning they have done an additional three years of university study after qualifying a general dentist to become experts in moving teeth and creating beautiful smiles. To find the locations of all the members of the Invisible Orthodontist network visit www.theinvisibleorthodontist.co.uk


1. Survey conducted by The Invisible Orthodontic Group amongst all its member practices during July 2015

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