If you are looking into the prospect of getting braces, it’s normal to be a little apprehensive. You’ve likely only heard the worst possible things about the metal apparatuses of old and, like a game of telephone, the legends grow with each report. At Windy City Orthodontics, we believe an informed patient will have the most effective treatment. For years, we’ve crafted beautiful, lasting smiles, boosting the confidence of kiddos and adults in the Chicago area. So, let’s debunk the top ten braces myths and get you on your way to a confident smile!
#1: Braces are only for kids
Metal-clad teeth on teens may be what you think of with orthodontics, but it’s simply not the case. Orthodontic treatments aren’t just for children and teens. Your teeth can be adjusted with braces at any point, provided that you have healthy gums and bone structure, but some issues may be easier to treat when you are younger. Orthodontic treatment is possible and beneficial for all ages with metal and clear braces and Invisalign options. Whether you require a full or limited orthodontic treatment, Dr. Darren Pakravan will ensure that you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.
#2: Braces are just for cosmetics
Though orthodontic treatment is most commonly used for cosmetic reasons, it does much more work under the surface. Many cosmetic concerns can also be functional concerns that affect your speech, chewing, digestion, sleep, and even your breathing. Tooth crowding can make it difficult to floss and clear plaque and debris effectively. A misaligned bite can lead to poor oral health overall. Fortunately for most patients, jaw misalignment or malocclusion can be easily remedied with braces or aligners.
#3: “Ouch!” Braces are painful!
While the initial application of your braces or aligners may cause some discomfort and tight feelings, this quickly dissipates as your teeth learn to adjust to the appliances. There may also be some soreness and irritation after your routine adjustment appointments that you may notice, as well. Overall though, your appliances should not cause any actual lasting pain, and the discomfort you may or may not experience does not affect the efficiency of your treatment.
#4: Metal braces are the only option
Every patient has different needs and smile goals, and there are options and combinations to suit them all. While bracket-and-wire braces are typically the traditional metal, today, the majority of our patients are treated with a customized ceramic option that works just like conventional metal braces but utilizes a transparent or tooth-colored bracket to make them virtually invisible. Here at Windy City Orthodontics, we also offer a clear aligner option called Spark to be used in place or in combination with your standard braces treatment plan.
#5 Braces have to be on for a long time to work
It can take time to adjust your teeth, and if you need more in-depth jaw adjustments, you can expect it to take a little longer. Braces make small changes that allow your mouth to adjust and be manipulated, and at a certain point, we are limited by the ability of the bone of your jaws to remodel around your teeth as they move. Most orthodontic patients tend to spend anywhere from 12 to 36 months in treatment and adjustments, and it can vary depending on your initial malocclusion, oral health, and your goals.
#6: Braces straighten your teeth forever
Though this would be a really nice perk for the experience of braces, it simply is not valid. Research has shown that even people who never had orthodontic treatment experience slow but consistent shifting of their teeth throughout their life. Once you complete your active portion of your orthodontic treatment, your mouth becomes vulnerable as your teeth attempt to shift back into the place they were before braces. To support your braces’ adjustments, you will need to wear a retainer that passively holds the teeth to keep them from moving. This retainer may be a removable device or bonded to the tongue side of your teeth, but you will need to wear it regularly as instructed to ensure that the adjustments made while wearing braces are not compromised.
#7: Constant Wire Changes
Adjustments during your regular follow-up visits should be expected, and there may be reasons for the wire to be exchanged at specific points in your treatment plan, but they likely will not be as frequent as you’d expect. Most of the visits will consist of your doctor making minor adjustments and visually inspecting the movement to ensure you are progressing as you should be.
#8: You are limited in what you can eat with braces
To ensure the best possible outcome from your experience with braces, you should avoid foods that may damage the appliances, or that can be difficult to clean from on and around the braces themselves. Crunchy foods like raw apples and carrots, nuts, and popcorn, and sticky foods like candies with caramel and taffy can cause your appliances to break and even cause damage to your teeth, tongue, and gums. Most other foods will not pose a problem in eating or proper oral care. And it’s good to remember that this is a quick process.
#9: You can’t play particular sports or instruments
You should always protect your teeth and mouth when playing sports or instruments, especially when you have braces. While having traditional braces will not keep you from playing football, it is advised that you wear a protective mouthguard to be safe from the impact that could damage your braces themselves but could also cause your braces to cut the insides of your mouth. And don’t give up those brass and woodwind instruments just yet. The discomfort and added devices in your mouth may require adjustment while playing for a week or two, but it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying making music.
#10: What about rust, metal detectors, and lightning?
The possibility of your braces rusting or causing you to be struck by lightning is a scary thought but simply isn’t founded in facts. This treatment uses small amounts of materials like titanium and stainless steel, which are anti-corrosive and not vast enough to act as a lightning rod or set off metal detectors.
Trust the Facts with Windy City Orthodontics
The prospect of braces doesn’t have to be scary, and we hope to bust some of these silly myths. Traditional braces have been around for a long time, and they’re probably the most recognizable symbol of orthodontics. We encourage you to reach out for your FREE consultation with our expert team at Windy City Orthodontics to get started on your personalized journey to a healthy and happy smile.