Annie Arment had been working from her parents’ Quincy, Ill., home for months when she decided to plunge back into another adolescent experience: getting a mouthful of metal.
The 26-year-old accountant had spent her teen years wearing varying combinations of braces and retainers only to have her teeth go slightly crooked again in young adulthood. Staring at herself on daily Zoom calls throughout the pandemic routinely reminded her of every wayward incisor. But it has been the prospect of returning to semi-normal public life that pushed her to book an appointment with her childhood orthodontist.
Calculating she would have just several more months of remote work before seeing her Chicago colleagues and friends in the flesh again, Ms. Arment opted in January for a heavy-duty wire retainer instead of a lengthier course of Invisalign, a leading brand of clear, removable teeth aligners.
It’s “the one I knew I’d be able to get done,” she says. Meanwhile, “I feel like when I was in grade school and high school, so that’s ‘fun.’ ”
Both a pandemic—and its possible end—are ripe conditions for driving scores of adults back into the orthodontist’s chair, it turns out. For many people working remotely, video meetings have become opportunities to parse their cosmetic shortcomings on screen, real or perceived. And having to wear a mask in many public places can render even full-on braces a secret.