Would you get braces -- as an adult?

I am hard-core about my son's doctor appointments, diligent in making sure he's current in his vaccinations, check-ups, and cleanings. Like many other parents, I have a harder time keeping myself up to speed.

Yesterday, I went to the dentist for the first time in over a year. It isn't a horribly long stretch of time in between check-ups, but I knew going in there was some work to be done. I thought I was in for a thorough cleaning, maybe a cavity fill or two. What I found, however, was that my deceptively shiny smile has suffered greatly in the time since I was last in the dentist's chair.

One of the biggest issues inside my mouth is extensive damage from nighttime teeth grinding. Although a doctor suggested a few months ago that headaches and sinus pain I was due to grinding, I had no idea I was creating deep wear spots in each of my teeth or that several had been fractured.

The several-thousand-dollar action plan includes two options -- halt the damage with a night guard or repair it with Invisalign.

While a night guard is an oh-so-sexy option I can wear in the privacy of the dark of my own room, I'd have to wear the Invisalign clear plastic trays all day during my treatment.

Obviously, Invisalign is a much better option than the ceramic and metal braces that were once the only options. Still, the whole idea of having contraptions in my mouth makes the 12-year old kid in me, who somehow survived years of braces/headgear/retainer hell, want to go crying to my mother (who still reminds me she gave up a brand new living room set so we could afford all the orthodontia I required).

If I do choose Invisalign, I will not be alone with a bunch of tweens (who are totally lucky they don't have to string teensy rubber bands through finger-slicey metal brackets). The American Association of Orthodontists reports that one in five orthodontia patients is an adult and several years ago, the Washintonian noted that the number of adults in braces has increased by 37% since the mid-90s.

This, and the fact that a clear covering over my worn-down teeth is not nearly has heinous and obvious as the orthodontia of my pre-adolescence, helps. I just am having a really hard time with the idea of being an adult (back) in braces.

This is far more than cosmetic. It is about bigger, longer-term health issues. I'm not sure yet which option I will choose. But I do know one thing for sure. There is no chance of new living room furniture in my future.

Cosmetic or otherwise, would you get braces as an adult?

If you've had them or wear them now, what's your advice to other adults considering orthodontia options?

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