Mareike D. (27) likes to smile a lot - but she prefers to keep her mouth closed. The 1.56-meter-tall woman from Hamburg is dissatisfied with her teeth and is thinking about having them straightened with Invisalign braces. "Not only am I small, my jaw is too. As a result, my teeth grow slightly on top of each other, especially the incisors," explains the 27-year-old.
Small jaw - big problems?
This is not only a visual problem, but now also a medical one: "The further the teeth grow on top of each other, the more difficult it is to brush the spaces between them - in the long term this can even increase the risk of root problems or brittle teeth." That's why Mareike's dentist advised her to think about braces.
But what are the medical benefits of braces? The Federal Ministry of Health tried to answer this question and commissioned a study. In 2018, its authors came to the conclusion that a final assessment is currently not possible, as stated in a report from the Federal Ministry of Health: "Although a large number of studies and documents could be found in the research, the material is used to answer the but only partially suitable. "
More and more adults are having their teeth straightened
The improved quality of life could explain why more and more adults are deciding to have their teeth corrected with braces after all. "About 40 percent of our patients are adults with crooked teeth," says Prof. Dr. Bärbel Kahl-Nieke, medical director of the Center for Dentistry.
"Treatment in adults is lifelong, there are no age limits. The most important factor here is that there must be enough bone and that there is no gingivitis", says - Prof. Kahl-Nieke
Misalignments do not only develop in childhood
Tooth misalignments do not always occur in childhood, but can also arise later. The reasons for this include:
- Erupting wisdom teeth that displace existing teeth
- Teeth that "tip" or grow into a gap, for example due to premature tooth loss
- So-called tooth migration, for example due to teeth grinding ("bruxism") or an inflammation of the tooth bed ("periodontitis")
- When teeth are nested, dirt is difficult to remove, which increases the likelihood of diseases such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, or inflammation of the lining of the mouth.
For Mareike, the question of braces actually arose in her childhood. But at the time she didn't get any because the overgrowth of her teeth was judged to be a purely aesthetic problem.
"Today I think you could have said on the dental side back then that the small jaw could also be a health problem in adulthood," says the Hamburg native.
Braces in adults are expensive
Mareike already knows which braces would be suitable for her: "For me, only transparent braces are suitable because I have soft enamel and a firm bracket would damage my teeth too much." What has so far prevented them from really tackling the "Braces" project is a point that worries many adults: the high costs. Statutory health insurances only pay for braces up to the age of 18; adults usually have to pay for their braces themselves, as long as there is no serious jaw anomaly. "The price range is very large, depending on the braces chosen, which means that between 5,000 and 10,000 euros can be charged for two jaws," says Prof. Kahl-Nieke.
Is a beautiful smile worth it at all?
Mareike already prefers to think of a possible future in which her teeth have already been corrected. And she imagines how that could affect her life. "I think straight and beautiful teeth also have something to do with self-confidence. Then at least I would smile more in pictures." It remains to be seen whether this smile is worth up to 10,000 euros to her.