Separating myth from reality can be especially difficult when it comes to getting, and wearing, braces. We’ve identified the most common bits of misinformation we’ve heard. Let’s tackle some common myths about orthodontics:
Myth #1: An orthodontist and dentist are the same thing
All orthodontists are dentists, but only 6 percent of dentists are orthodontists. Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry, and orthodontists have attended 2-3 years of additional training beyond dental school to be able to straighten and align your teeth and jaw. Only an orthodontist has the training, the experience, and the treatment options to give you your best smile.
Myth #2: Two people kissing with metal braces will get stuck together
You may have heard stories of your Mom and Dad’s braces getting stuck together, and that’s how they fell in love. But braces and stories change over time. Today’s braces—and the brackets and wires used to create them—are too small to turn that story into a reality, unless you try really, really hard.
Myth #3: Orthodontic treatment is only for kids
Anyone from the age of 7 to 107 can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Age is no bar when it comes to gaining a perfect bite and smile. In fact, the AAO reports around 1.5 million adults in the U.S. are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment, and one in every five patients an orthodontist sees is an adult.
Myth #4: Braces will set off metal detectors
You don’t have to worry about getting through airport security or into your favorite sporting event. Metal braces are made of lightweight materials like titanium alloys that will not affect any metal detectors. And don’t forget all of the clear options which are made of invisible plastic or ceramics.
Myth #5: I won’t be able to play sports or musical instruments if I have braces
If you think you can’t play sports or a musical instrument when you have braces, you’ve been reading, or listening, to a lot of fiction. Sports players need to wear a mouth guard during contact sports, and your orthodontic specialist can help you get the right one. And if you could play a musical instrument before you got braces, you’ll still be able to do so once they’re on your teeth. It’ll just take a slight adjustment period.
Myth #6: Braces will limit my food intake
You will be able to eat most of the foods you’ve always enjoyed while wearing orthodontic treatment. However, avoid foods that are hard, sticky or chewy. These types of food tend to get stuck in your orthodontic treatment and may cause damage to your teeth and the brackets.
Myth #7: Metal braces increase the chance of being struck by lightning
If you know someone with braces or have ever thought about getting them, you’ve probably heard that a little extra metal in your mouth makes you a target. The National Weather Service reports that the risk of being struck by lightning in a given year for the average person is 1 in 1,000,000—and that risk isn’t impacted by braces.
Myth #8: Braces will change my smile and make me self-conscious
Braces can be fun! Colors and a little sparkle to your smile can brighten the day of those around you. We suggest that you smile with confidence and rock your smile.
If you still have questions about orthodontic myths or want to discuss treatment for yourself or a loved one, visit your TAO orthodontist.