There’s a lot of useful information out there about braces, but there’s also a lot of false, harmful information that can scare people away. The truth is, there’s nothing scary, intimidating, or unnatural about orthodontic treatment through braces, so we’re here to clear up some rumors you may have heard!
Here are a few rumors about orthodontic treatment that our patients ask us about, and some explanations to try to describe what braces are really like.
- Braces Permanently Straighten Your Teeth
While braces do work to correct everything from tiny to significant imperfections in your smile, they aren’t always a one and done process.
When moved to new places, teeth can sometimes feel compelled to revert back to where they once were. When the braces are bonded to your teeth and keeping them in place, while also guiding them to their new, proper destinations, they have nowhere to go but where the braces are telling them to. When the braces are removed, they’re now free to move back, given the opportunity.
So, this means that the day you get your braces off, your orthodontist will also create a retainer for you. This retainer will be custom made to fit your new smile, and is to be worn as instructed by your orthodontist. Most commonly, you can expect to wear your retainer every night while you sleep, so you’ll barely notice it. This prevents teeth from moving back to their old, potentially crooked and misaligned positions, and preserves your brand new smile for life. If you remember to wear your retainer on a consistent basis, braces really will permanently straighten your teeth.
- Braces Will Hurt The Whole Time
While it’s wildly untrue that braces will hurt throughout your entire treatment, it’s actually untrue that they’ll hurt at all. Braces are never going to cause you pain, and at the most, will be a little uncomfortable.
This discomfort mostly presents itself at the beginning of treatment, while your mouth is adjusting to the newly added pressure. You can anticipate a mild amount of discomfort for up to a few hours or days after you’ve gotten braces, and can easily cope with the use of ibuprofen, using as directed to manage any pain. Your orthodontist will also provide you with wax to use on any wires that may be irritating the inside of your mouth, which is another commonly reported problem during the beginning stages of treatment.
- Braces Are Only For Teenagers
While it is extremely common for teenagers to get braces, people of all ages can pursue orthodontic treatment if they wish. The AAO recommends paying a visit to an orthodontist by the age of seven, and orthodontic treatment can begin at any time an orthodontist deems it to be necessary.
Many adults feel there’s a stigma surrounding having braces later in life, but the number of older adults interested in them just keeps getting higher. It’s estimated that around 1 in 5 orthodontic patients is over the age of eighteen. It’s really never too late to get a healthy smile!
Your orthodontist will be able to diagnose any dental irregularities at any age, and make recommendations based on your needs, preferences, and goals. Everyone deserves to have a smile they feel excited about showing off
- You Can Get Braces From Any Dentist
While some dentists do complete the additional training that allows them to diagnose orthodontic issues and guide patients through treatment, it’s always best to go through a trained and licensed orthodontist.
Orthodontists are specifically trained to straighten the teeth, and guide the movement and development of the jaw and facial muscles. When all of this expertise is combined into one specialty, you’ll know you’re in good hands. Orthodontists have dedicated their life to this specific branch of dentistry, and know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to complete smile transformations.
- There’s An Exact Date I’ll Get My Braces Off
While it would be nice to provide patients with an exact timeline that they can look forward to, this simply isn’t the case. After your orthodontist has diagnosed you and mapped out your full treatment plan, they will do their best to estimate the length of treatment and convey it to you. However, it doesn’t always go as planned.
While orthodontists can somewhat predict your treatment outcome and the date you’ll finish, sometimes your teeth can do unexpected things, and move to unexpected places. Aside from that, your treatment may just require a little more time than your orthodontist originally thought it would.
While waiting to reveal your new smile is difficult, treatment extensions can be seen in a positive light; this means that your treatment is being continued until the end result is absolutely perfect!
- Orthodontic Treatment Takes Several Years to Complete
The average length of orthodontic treatment is actually around eighteen months. Less complicated treatments can take anywhere from a few months to a year, while more difficult cases can often take place over the course of a few years. Your orthodontist will discuss possible timelines with you before you begin treatment, but it’s a good rule of thumb to anticipate being in braces for the next eighteen months or so.
- Braces Are Only For Cosmetic Reasons
Part of orthodontic treatment does have cosmetic benefits, but this often isn’t the main reason patients decide to get braces. Straightening your teeth through orthodontic braces can actually improve the functionality of your bite, along with aligning it.
Straight teeth have many health benefits. Crooked teeth tend to easily trap food, bacteria, and other particles. When your toothbrush is unable to reach these tight, closed off spaces, this debris can often lead to tooth decay. This will involve trips to the dentist, sometimes multiple, and can negatively affect your oral health. Straight teeth are easier to clean and maintain.
Crooked teeth can also, on occasion, make things like eating and speaking uncomfortable. Crowding in the mouth can also cause uneven wear on the teeth, which can potentially lead to headaches and other types of discomfort.
Have you heard a weird rumor about braces? Make sure you always ask your orthodontist any questions you may have so they can be answered in an accurate way, and help increase your knowledge about orthodontic treatment.