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Open wide! More senior citizens opt for braces

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Sybil Brown, 75, of Seattle, wears ceramic braces on her top teeth and standard metal braces on her bottom teeth. (Shannon Prophet/Courtesy of Dr. Don Joondeph)

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This side-by-side comparison of braces old and new illustrates the technological advances of the first 100 years of orthodontics. At left is a set of full-banded braces, circa 1929, fashioned from gold (on the top teeth) and metal. Today, brackets can be translucent, with heat-activated nickel-titanium wires developed through NASA, as shown at right. (Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists)

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A patient shows off a pair of ceramic braces. (Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists)

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This image shows fully banded braces, circa 1970, with each tooth encircled by a metal band. Today, orthodontists bond brackets directly onto the teeth. ****Please note small file size: 1600 pixels by 1200 pixels.**** (Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists)

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A patient shows off silver brackets with green rubber bands for St. Patricks Day. (Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists)

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A patient has gold braces. ***Please note small file size: 1272 pixels by 708 pixels*** (Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists)

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A 66-year-old patient wears translucent brackets. (Michael B. Rogers, D.D.S., P.C./Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists)

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Braces used to be worn in high schools, not at bingo nights. Not anymore. Grandmas now say no to dentures, yes to the orthodontist’s chair.


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