Getting braces is a big decision. This decision can be made more difficult with stories and myths about braces. At Ehrler Orthodontics, we want to make sure that we debunk these myths by letting you know what is fact and what is simply myth.
Myth No. 1 – Braces have to hurt or feel tight to work
No pain no gain right? Well, not exactly. In the old days, only stiff wires were available. When tied to the dental braces, these stiff wires exerted heavy forces leading to more pain and discomfort for the patient. Now, with new technologies and flexible wires, there is significantly less discomfort associated with tooth movement. These days, you can have straight teeth with minimal discomfort.
Myth No. 2 – The tighter the better
A common comment I get from patients is, “Make it tighter, doc. I want to get my braces off faster!” You may think that tighter adjustments and heavier forces will move your teeth faster. While a certain level of force is necessary to move teeth, a force level that is too high may start to damage the bone and surrounding tissues and actually delay the tooth movement.
Myth No. 3 – Wires need to be changed every visit
Super-elastic wires of the present day can be bent into all different shapes and still spring back into their nice U-shaped form. These are long acting wires and continue to do their work for a long time. When a wire has done it’s job, you orthodontist will shift to the next set of wires which may be thicker in cross section or more rigid.
Myth No. 4 – Having braces will make my teeth weak
Not at all. Science of orthodontics is based on natural tendency of teeth to shift throughout life. With the help of braces, teeth are gently rearranged in better position which enhances esthetics and functional ability of teeth and improves their health, increasing their life.
Myth No. 5 – Once I get my braces off, my teeth will stay straight forever
Once your teeth are straight and your bite right, your braces will be taken off. Yet you need to follow specified protocol of wearing retainers for a few years. Sometimes regardless of wearing retainers for prescribed duration, some relapse can be seen in few patients. Most often, this relapse is very mild and can not be noticed. Patients who have noticeable relapse may have to do selective retreatment with braces.
Myth No. 6 – My wisdom teeth will make my teeth crooked again
There is very little evidence to support the fact that wisdom teeth cause crowding. If this was true, then your teeth would never get crowded after your wisdom teeth were extracted. In fact, people who never developed wisdom teeth or who had their wisdom teeth removed may still see their teeth get crooked over time. Teeth just tend to drift forward over time regardless of whether or not you have wisdom teeth.
Myth No. 7 – Any overjet / overbite is bad
A mild overjet and overbite is perfectly normal and in fact essential for optimum functioning of teeth. A beautifully finished braces treatment will have 1- 2 mms of overjet and overbite. People with zero overbite (whose teeth bite together in the front) actually start wearing down their front teeth over time. So a small overbite actually protects the front teeth from wearing down. Of course, a large overbite can be problematic and needs to be treated with braces.
Myth No. 8 – The date that I am supposed to get my braces off is set in stone
When patients are told before treatment that they will be in dental braces for a certain number of years, it is very easy to focus on that date. Usually, an orthodontist can judge from his or her experience what the typical time frame is to finish treatment. However this depends on many factors. Some factors that would slow down treatment include: broken braces, not brushing well, not coming in for regular appointments, and having dense bone. If you want to get your braces off on time, make sure you co-operate by brushing and flossing well, wearing your elastics, and showing up for your regular appointments.
Myth No. 9 – It is easy to transfer or switch orthodontists
Though it may just look like braces and wires to you, every orthodontist uses slightly different wires, brackets, and appliances. Sometimes, the wires that one orthodontist uses would not even fit in the braces that another orthodontist uses. Each orthodontist also has his or her own technique in treating each case. Sorting out the finances is another difficult part of switching orthodontists because different offices structure their payment plans in different ways. If you switch orthodontists, you probably will end up paying more money than if you had just stayed with one orthodontist.
Myth No. 10 – Braces are for kids only
Today, adults are becoming a larger segment undergoing braces treatment. Although it is best to have braces as a kid, it is never too late to get braces on. With better technology and availability of esthetic / invisible braces, it is relatively easy for an adult to wear braces without any compromises.
Apart from making the teeth look better, braces are used on adults to correct bite problems that affect jaw joints, correct migrated teeth due to loss of teeth or periodontal problems, to prepare sites for implant placement, to correct tilted teeth in long standing extraction spaces to improve the quality of restorations etc.
Myth No. 11 – My family dentist can treat me with braces
Dentistry is specialized. Your family dentist can recommend you to a qualified orthodontist.
If you have questions about braces or if you want a myth debunked contact Ehrler Orthodontics
Ehrler Orthidontics has offices in Fontana, Rialto and Redlands.