Busting common myths about orthodontics
Wearing braces or orthodontic appliances is very common these days. We all know someone, whether a friend or a family member, who has had them. But even though it’s a widespread practice that’s well- known to all, there’s still some false information going around about it. In this article, we’re going to bust some of the most common myths.
MYTH: “It isn’t necessary to consult an orthodontist. If I need a dental appliance, my regular dentist can take care of it just fine.”
REALITY: Even if your family dentist is highly competent, an orthodontist is the best-qualified person to advise you and help you resolve any orthodontic problems you may have. The fact is that an orthodontist is a certified specialist who has earned a degree in dental medicine, followed by another two to three years of full-time university training in an accredited program. Orthodontists master the latest technologies and take continuing education courses throughout their career to stay informed of the most recent developments in orthodontic technology and practice. You wouldn’t ask your primary care physician to perform open-heart surgery on you, would you? The same principal applies to dentists and orthodontists!
MYTH: “Dental appliances are only for kids. It isn’t worth the trouble at my age!”
REALITY: In practice, an orthodontist’s adult clients represent about 30 percent of the total number of patients. There’s no age limit when it comes to wanting to improve your smile. Today, this is truer than ever because, given the advances in modern dentistry and general access to high-quality dental care, we can expect to keep our teeth for our whole life! Investing in orthodontic treatment definitely isn’t a waste of money, no matter how old you are.
MYTH: “Braces hurt.”
REALITY: You may, in fact, experience some mild discomfort when you have your dental appliances put on. However, when asked to evaluate their level of discomfort, the vast majority of patients give it about a two on a scale of one to ten (ten being extremely painful). Technological advances have made it possible to refine cutting-edge materials, helping reduce the amount of force used to move the teeth. Gentle, constant pressure equals increased comfort. Furthermore, there are a multitude of procedures you can follow to reduce your discomfort to zero. Orthodontists have more than one trick up their sleeve!
MYTH: “The only thing orthodontists do is correct the alignment of your teeth.”
REALITY: The fact is that an orthodontist can correct many other problems related to your teeth. Smiles that are too “gummy”, crooked jaws and asymmetry are just a few examples. A number of practical problems related to chewing and your bite—including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction—can also be corrected through orthodontic treatment.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is that the person who’s in the best position to advise you as to the best treatment for your specific case is, of course, your orthodontist. And remember: it’s never too late!