Braces Myths Busted

Each year, millions of teens and adults take the first step toward having straighter teeth, more beautiful smiles and better oral health by choosing to have braces. For most, the decision is simple and straightforward; but for others, the decision may not come as easily, thanks to a few persistent – and completely inaccurate – misconceptions surrounding orthodontic care and treatment. To make the decision process a bit easier, we’ve tackled some of the most common braces myths to clear up any fears or confusion about the devices and orthodontic care in general:

Braces are just for cosmetic improvement of the teeth and smile.

This is one of the most common misconceptions about braces, and while it’s certainly true braces can improve the look of your teeth and your smile, that’s just one of the benefits. By straightening teeth and eliminating gaps and crevices, it’s also much easier to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy, and that means you’re less likely to have cavities, gum disease and tooth loss. Plus, optimizing the positions of the upper and lower jaws can also reduce the risk of developing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD) and the chronic headaches and jaw pain it can cause, and it can prevent uneven tooth wear that can lead to chips, cracks, fractures and decay.

Orthodontic treatment has to hurt in order to be effective.

It’s true you may have some discomfort during treatment – typically after treatment when brackets are tightened or when rubber bands are prescribed. Most of the time, your braces will be so comfortable, you’ll hardly know you’re wearing them. If brackets wind up causing sore spots, we can adjust them so they don’t rub.

Braces can set off metal detectors.

Although braces contain metal, the small amount used in today’s designs aren’t enough to set off any metal detectors, and they won’t interfere with electronics either.

If I kiss someone who also has braces, our appliances can become “locked together.”

This may have been true long ago, but today’s braces use a low-profile design that makes locking almost impossible. That means you can “lock lips” without worrying about your braces becoming intertwined.

You can’t play a musical instrument if you wear braces.

Another common misconception, but the fact is, you can absolutely play a musical instrument – including brass and wind instruments – during orthodontic treatment. Since the braces will feel a little different during play, you’ll probably have a bit of an adjustment period, but nothing a little extra practice can’t solve.

You can’t play sports during orthodontic treatment.

You absolutely can play sports while wearing braces, but you should wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth. In fact, that’s good advice whether you wear braces or not.

The specific removal date for my braces will be determined at the start of treatment.

While it’s possible to provide a general time range for your treatment, there’s no way to positively set the date for taking off your devices when treatment begins. Once you get closer to completing treatment, the date for braces removal will be set.

I’m too old for braces.

Nonsense! As long as your teeth and jaws are healthy and in good shape, you can have orthodontic treatment and enjoy a healthier and more beautiful smile. Braces can also enhance the results of cosmetic dental work like crowns and veneers. An in-depth evaluation prior to treatment will help ensure you’re a good candidate for orthodontic treatment as well as determining the best type of braces for your needs and your budget.

Wearing braces means my teeth will stay straight and perfectly aligned on their own for the rest of my life.

Braces are designed to move your teeth into their proper alignment and spacing, but once that goal is achieved, it’s up to you to help maintain those great-looking results. To keep teeth in their proper positions, stabilize tooth roots and prevent shifting over time, you’ll need to wear a retainer as directed – typically while you sleep. Today’s retainers are made of super-lightweight materials and custom-fitted to your mouth so they’re extremely comfortable.

I’ll have to wear braces for years and years.

Fact is, most orthodontic treatment can be completed in under two years – about 18 months on average.

More questions? We can help! We’re dedicated to helping patients of all ages get the answers they need so they can make informed, educated decisions about their care and their long-term oral health. Call Clark Orthodontics at 850-385-2822 and schedule your consultation and evaluation today.

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