No matter how much you may need them, the prospect of straightening your smile can trigger anxious thoughts, thanks largely to the most common myths about braces. The time you’ll spend going to the dentist, the foods you won’t be able to eat, not to mention the money it will take – chances are you have heard the worst of the worst when it comes to braces. But is it all still valid, or are these just growing legends of the past keeping you from your smile goals?
Traditional braces have been around for a long time and are probably the most recognizable symbol of orthodontics. They are great at correcting many oral issues. Texas Family Orthodontics has crafted many beautiful, lasting smiles for San Antonio and Windcrest, TX and the surrounding areas. We boost the confidence of kiddos and adults alike with multiple braces options. So, let’s debunk the top ten braces myths and get you on your way to a confident smile!
“Only kids get braces.”
Metal-clad teeth on teens may be what you think of with orthodontics, but it’s simply not the case. Orthodontic treatments aren’t just for children and teens. Adults make up about one out of every five orthodontic patients today. Your teeth can be adjusted with braces at any point, provided you have healthy gums and jaw bone structure. Some issues may be easier to treat when you are younger.
Orthodontic treatment is possible and beneficial for all ages with metal and clear braces and Invisalign options. Whether you require a full or limited orthodontic treatment plan, Dr. Katie Vo and her skilled team will ensure you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.
“I have straight teeth; I don’t need braces.”
Though braces are most commonly used for cosmetic reasons, they 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. But, many orthodontic problems are inherited. Tooth crowding can make it difficult to properly floss and clear plaque and debris. A misaligned bite can lead to poor oral health overall. Fortunately for most patients, jaw misalignment or malocclusion can be easily remedied with braces.
“Braces are painful!”
While the initial application of your braces may cause some discomfort and tight feelings, this quickly dissipates as your teeth learn to adjust. You may also notice some soreness and irritation during your routine adjustment appointments. Overall, your braces should not cause any lasting pain, and the discomfort you may or may not experience does not affect the efficiency of your braces. Dr. Vo recommends dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. After swishing and gargling for a few minutes and then spitting out this solution, you should be able to ease some of the discomforts.
“Metal braces are the only option.”
Every patient has different needs and smile goals, and there are options and combinations to suit all of them. While bracket-and-wire braces are typically the traditional metal, a clear, ceramic option works just like conventional metal braces. It utilizes a transparent or tooth-colored bracket to make them virtually invisible.
For patients looking for the most aesthetic option, Invisalign moves teeth gradually using a series of clear aligners similar to post-braces retainers. These aligners are custom-made for a comfortable fit and can be just as effective as braces when worn as directed. Dr. Vo is also excited to offer InBrace hidden braces placed on the back of your teeth and utilize a special Smartwire to straighten your smile on autopilot– with her expert supervision, of course.
“Braces have to be on for a long time to work.”
It can take time to adjust your teeth, and if you need 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; doing this too quickly could be very painful. It can also cause damage to your teeth. Most orthodontic patients spend anywhere from 12 to 24 months in treatment and adjustments, which can vary depending on your oral health and goals.
“Once I get my braces off, my teeth will be straight forever!”
Though this would be a really nice perk for the experience of braces, it simply is not valid. Once you finish your braces portion of your orthodontic treatment, your mouth becomes vulnerable as your teeth attempt to shift back into the place they were before the braces.
To allow your jaw time to grow and support your braces’ adjustments, you will need to wear a retainer that keeps pressure on the teeth to keep them from moving. This retainer can be a removable device or a fixed to teeth “permanent” wire, but you will need to wear it regularly as instructed to ensure that the adjustments made while wearing braces are not compromised. Nighttime wear will be required for a lifetime.
“The wires need constant changes and replacing.”
Adjustments during your regular follow-up visits should be expected, and there may be reasons for the wire to be exchanged at specific points in your treatment plan. Still, they likely will not be as frequent as you’d expect as the latest wires are made from long-lasting Nickel-Titanium. Most of the visits will consist of your doctor making minor adjustments and visually inspecting the movement to ensure you are progressing as planned.
“I can’t have any of my favorite foods 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 on and around the braces themselves. Foods crunchy like raw apples and carrots, nuts, and popcorn, and sticky foods like candies with caramel and taffy can cause your appliances to break and even cause damage to your teeth, tongue, and gums. However, most other foods will not compromise eating or proper oral care. And it’s good to remember that this is a quick process.
“No playing sports or musical instruments with braces.”
You should always protect your teeth and mouth when playing sports or instruments, especially when you have braces. While having traditional braces will not keep you from playing contact sports like football, it is advised that you wear a protective mouthguard to be safe from the impact that could damage your braces. It could also cause your braces to cut the insides of your mouth.
And don’t give up those brass and woodwind instruments just yet. The discomfort and added devices in your mouth may require a bit of adjustment while playing, but it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying making music. Sores may develop, but liberal use of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen up faster than you’d think.
“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 founded on facts. This treatment uses small amounts of materials like titanium and stainless steel, which are anti-corrosive and not vast enough to act as lightning rods or set-off metal detectors.
Put your best smile first with braces from Texas Family Orthodontics
The idea of braces doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and we hope we cleared up some of the obstacles keeping you from your personal smile treatment. Texas Family Orthodontics is your location for modern orthodontic treatment. We have two offices to better serve our San Antonio and Windcrest, TX, patients. We encourage you to reach out for your FREE consultation to start your personalized journey to a healthy and happy smile!