Updated: Jul 25
Braces are a big first step on your orthodontic journey. Before you begin your process toward your ideal smile, it’s important to have the right information. There are a lot of myths surrounding braces and the orthodontic treatment process. Let’s take a look at some of the most common braces myths you need to know.
Myth 1: Braces are only for kids and teens
When we think of braces, the image that comes to mind is often a young or teenage patient. However, you’re never too old to build a more ideal smile! Your teeth are capable of being adjusted with braces (or aligners) at any point, even though some issues may be easier to treat when you are younger. With metal/clear braces and Invisalign options, orthodontic treatment is possible and beneficial for everyone of all ages.
Myth 2: Braces are painful
While the initial application of your braces may cause some discomfort and tight feelings, this quickly goes away as your teeth learn to adjust to the new appliances. There may also be some irritation and soreness during your routine adjustment appointments. Overall though, your braces should not cause any actual lasting pain.
Myth 3: Braces are only for cosmetics
While braces do straighten your teeth, which can create a smile that helps you feel more confident, there are other more functional benefits to braces. Imperfect teeth can affect your speech, chewing, digestion, sleep, and even your breathing. Tooth crowding can make it difficult to properly floss and clear plaque and debris. A misaligned bite can lead to poor oral health overall. Luckily, for most patients, jaw misalignment or malocclusion can be easily remedied with braces.
Myth 4: Braces have to be on for a long time to work
Creating the ideal bite and smile does take time, especially if you need more in-depth jaw adjustments. Braces and aligners make small, incremental changes to the position of your teeth that give your mouth the ability to adjust. Moving teeth too quickly could be uncomfortable and could cause issues with your jaws and teeth. Most orthodontic patients tend to spend anywhere from twelve to thirty-six months in active treatment, depending on your oral health and your goals. Less complicated issues can be treated in less time.
Myth 5: You can’t play sports or instruments
Getting braces does not mean giving up what you love to do! While you should always protect your teeth and mouth when playing sports or instruments, especially when you have braces, you don’t have to give your favorite activities to protect your smile. One way you can protect your teeth while playing sports is to wear a protective mouthguard to be safe from the impact that could damage your braces. We can give you braces-friendly mouthguards to protect your teeth during sports. For musical instruments, the added devices in your mouth may require a bit of adjustment while playing, but it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying making music.
Myth 6: Braces straighten your teeth forever
Your orthodontic work will likely continue even after you get your braces removed. Once your braces are off, you will move on to the retention portion of your orthodontic treatment. Your teeth will attempt to shift back into the place they were before braces. Your may jaw need time to grow and support the adjustments that were made. Due to this, you will need to wear a retainer to minimize any movement (relapse) of your newly straightened smile. This will be a removable device, but you will need to wear it regularly as instructed to ensure that the adjustments made while wearing braces are not compromised.
Myth 7: Metal braces are the only option for straightening your teeth
Not everyone wants metal brackets and wires. Advancements in orthodontic technology have provided more options for people seeking to straighten their teeth. While bracket-and-wire braces are the commonly used option, there is also a clear, ceramic option. At our orthodontic offices, we also offer a clear aligner option called Invisalign to be used in place or in combination with your standard braces treatment plan.
Myth 8: Braces will severely limit what you can eat
To get the best result from your orthodontic experience, it’s good to avoid certain food that may damage your braces, or can make cleaning your braces tricky. Foods that are crunchy such as raw apples and carrots, nuts, and popcorn, and sticky foods such as candies with caramel and taffy can cause your appliances to break or become loosened. This can be uncomfortable and can slow your treatment progress. Don’t worry, however, as most other foods will not pose a problem to your braces or proper oral care.
Myth 9: Constant Wire Changes
Follow-up visits are a part of the orthodontic process, and our team wants to collaborate with you to help you reach your goal. Adjustments will be expected and there may be reasons for the wire to be exchanged at certain points in your treatment plan. But they will not be as frequent as you may expect! Average visit intervals in our office generally range from 6-10 weeks.