If getting braces is in your future, we understand that you may feel a little nervous. You’ve likely heard only the worst possible things about them and, like a game of telephone, the legends grow with each report. Well, at McMurphy Orthodontics we want to get some facts straight where the top myths about braces are concerned.
#1: “Ouch!” Braces are painful!
While the initial application of your braces may cause some discomfort and irritation, this will go away pretty quickly as your teeth adjust to the metal appliances. There may also be some soreness and irritation during your routine adjustment appointments. Overall, your braces should not cause any actual lasting pain and the discomfort you may or may not experience does not affect the efficiency of your braces.
#2: Metal braces are the only option
Every patient has different needs and goals for their smiles. Thankfully there are options and combinations to suit them all. While bracket-and-wire braces are typically the traditional metal, there is also a clear, ceramic option, as well. Here at Murphy Orthodontics, we also offer a clear aligner option to be used in place or in combination with your standard braces treatment plan.
#3: You can’t play certain sports or instruments
You should always protect your teeth and mouth when playing sports or instruments but it’s critical when you have braces. While having traditional braces will not keep you from playing football, you should wear a protective mouthguard just to be safe from any impact that could damage your braces and cause cuts on the inside of your mouth. And don’t give up those brass and woodwind instruments just yet. The discomfort and added instruments in your mouth may require a bit of adjustment while playing but it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying making music.
#4: 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 realistic. This treatment is designed using small amounts of materials like titanium and stainless steel which are anti-corrosive and not vast enough to act as a lightning rod or to set off metal detectors.
#5: Braces are only for kids
Metal-clad teeth on teens may be what you think of with orthodontics but it’s no longer the case. More adults than ever are seeking orthodontic treatment. Your teeth are capable of being adjusted with braces at any age but there are some issues that may be easier to treat when you are younger. With the options of ceramic braces and clear aligners, orthodontic treatment is possible and beneficial for all ages.
#6: Braces are just for cosmetics
Braces are most commonly used for cosmetic reasons, but they actually do 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. Crowded teeth can be difficult to properly floss and clear plaque and debris and can lead to poor oral health overall. Even jaw misalignment can be remedied with braces.
#7 Braces have to be on for a long time to work
It can take time to adjust your teeth and if you are needing 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 doing this too quickly would be very painful and could cause damage to your teeth. Most patients at McMurphy Orthodontics tend to spend anywhere from 12 to 36 months in treatment and adjustments and it can vary depending on your oral health and your goals.
#8: 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 certain 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 be sure you are progressing as you should be.
#9: You are extremely 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. Foods that are crunchy like raw apples and carrots, nuts, and popcorn, and foods that are sticky 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 temporary process.
#10: Braces straighten your teeth forever
Though this would be a really nice perk for the experience of braces, it simply is not true. Once you are finished with your braces portion of your orthodontic treatment, your mouth becomes vulnerable as your teeth attempt to shift back into the place they were before braces. To allow your jaw time to grow and support the adjustments that were made, you will need to wear a retainer that keeps pressure on the teeth to keep them from moving. This will be a removable device but you will need to wear it regularly as instructed to ensure that the adjustments made during wearing braces are not compromised.
Trust the Experts at McMurphy Orthodontics
The prospect of braces doesn’t have to be scary and we hope that busting some of these myths will encourage you to reach out for your FREE consultation with Dr. McMurphy and our expert team to get started on your personalized journey to a healthy and happy smile.