A referral to an orthodontist for braces doesn’t mean years of pain and a broken budget. Instead, it means you’re on your way to having a healthy mouth and a smile that will give you self-confidence for a lifetime.
Millions of people get braces every year, but there are many myths about orthodontics, including the process and the choices you have. This article will expose the five most common orthodontics myths so you have the facts you need about treatment.
Myth # 1:
Orthodontic Treatment Is Just For Kids
People of all ages benefit from orthodontic treatment. Age is not a concern when working towards a healthy, beautiful smile. In fact, a recent study conducted by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), reports that adult patients now outweigh teens or children in treatment.
For children, braces generally happen between 7 to 14 years old. Younger children are now being seen more frequently, though, in what is termed “phase 1 orthodontic treatment” to make adjustments as early as possible. The bones of young people, including the jawbone, have not finished growing, so it makes sense to begin orthodontic treatment then.
However, there is no age limit for adults also being fitted for braces. More and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment to improve their smile as well as to correct other problems like misaligned teeth and bite problems. Treatment may take longer than younger patients, but the results are the same.
Myth # 2:
After Treatment Ends, Teeth No Longer Shift
Orthodontic care, including braces, is not a permanent solution. Once the active treatment plan is completed and the braces come off or you’ve worn your last set of clear aligners for the prescribed, the work isn’t done. Next comes the retainer, either a fixed one or a removable one.
The fixed retainer is bonded to your teeth and remains in your mouth until removed by the orthodontist. The removable retainer is taken out by the wearer according to a schedule provided by the orthodontist. Immediately after the braces are removed, the retainer is used most of the day for several weeks and then worn less and less until you will only wear it at night several times a week. This is the only way to keep your teeth in their new alignment.
If you choose not to wear the retainer as instructed, you will find that your teeth will begin to move back to their former positions. Then, all your hard work and money spent wearing braces will be lost.
Myth # 3:
Braces Are Painful
We can’t tell you that you will never experience any discomfort with braces, but we can tell you the process should not be painful. If it is, contact your orthodontist and ask for help. They can advise you on how to handle the pain or they may ask that you return to their office so they can assess and make adjustments as needed. Over-the-counter painkillers are usually all that is necessary for a day or so after your braces are put on and when they are tightened.
The main periods of discomfort will be the initial adjustment period and each time the braces are tightened or the clear aligners are replaced. Keep in mind, too, that orthodontic technology is constantly working to make braces more comfortable and effective than ever.
So, if you experience discomfort, know that it will probably be short-lived and the end result will be worth it! Check out our article on tips that will help make your first week in braces go as smoothly as possible.
Myth # 4:
Treatment Always Takes a Long Time
Simple cases may only take a few months to treat, while more extensive work will take longer. Orthodontic treatment requires an individualized plan because the teeth are moved into their new positions slowly and carefully. However, you will know the anticipated end date of your treatment throughout the whole process. As long as you follow your orthodontist’s instructions carefully, you can go ahead and make plans for a “Braces are off!” party with assurance.
Most people wear braces for an average of 18-24 months. However, Invisalign clear aligners can help reduce the treatment time for some orthodontic issues. And remember: Treatment for teens and younger children may take less time than treatment for adults. The jaw bones of younger patients aren’t fully developed yet, so their teeth move easier than those of adults.
You may have heard of some at-home programs for teeth straightening or DIY teeth aligners that don’t require regular office visits with an accredited orthodontist. It is very important for you to know that although this type of treatment might be faster, it could also have negative effects on jaw structure, speech, chewing, swallowing, or breathing. The promises of faster results are not worth the possible pitfalls.
Myth # 5:
Braces Are Very Expensive
Many times, all patients see when they consider orthodontics are dollar signs. Every patient’s treatment plan is indeed unique, with each having a customized treatment plan. Fees will also reflect the expertise and training of each provider, but the benefits of placing your care in the hands of experts will be worth it. This is a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life.
Look for an orthodontist endorsed by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). If your orthodontist has such an endorsement, this means they adhere to the highest standards in orthodontic care. Most of these providers offer free consultations and flexible payment plans.
If you have dental insurance, call the company before beginning treatment to confirm coverage. This can help make treatment more affordable, even if only a portion of the treatment is paid for by your insurance. Many orthodontic practices also provide financing options and payment plans. Ask the office manager for more information.
Competent, Professional Orthodontic Care You Can Trust
Orthodontics is a proven way to achieve a straight, healthy smile, but also surrounded by myths and misconceptions. This article has offered some facts to set the record straight on some of the most common orthodontics myths, so you can feel comfortable about seeking the treatment you need.
All of us here at White Plains Orthodontics are eager to be part of your orthodontic team! We are the trusted local provider of orthodontic treatment in White Plains, NY, offering a wide range of orthodontic services including traditional and ceramic braces as well as Invisalign.
Our orthodontists and support staff are highly trained and experienced so you can be confident that you are in good hands. We are also always ready to answer your questions before, during, and after treatment.