The Top 10 Braces Myths You Need to Know

No matter how much you may need them, the prospect of getting braces can trigger anxious thoughts. 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. For Western Virginia, Westfall Orthodontics has crafted beautiful, lasting smiles using the latest braces technology. 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. In fact, 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. Chad Westfall will ensure that 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 actual lasting pain, and the discomfort you may or may not experience does not affect the efficiency of your braces. Dr. Westfall 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 discomfort. 

“Metal braces are the only option.”

Every patient has different needs and smile goals, and there are options and combinations to suit them all. While bracket-and-wire braces are typically the traditional metal, a clear, ceramic option works just like conventional metal braces but utilizes a transparent or tooth-colored bracket to make them virtually invisible. Here at Westfall Orthodontics, we also offer Invisalign and Invisalign Teen, which can be used in place of or in combination with your standard braces treatment plan.

The Top 10 Braces Myths You Need to Know

“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, and doing this too quickly could be very painful. It can also cause damage to your teeth. Most orthodontic patients tend to spend anywhere from 12 to 36 months in treatment and adjustments, and it 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 nice perk for the experience of braces, it simply is not valid. 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 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 will be a removable device, but you will need to wear it regularly as instructed to ensure that the adjustments made while wearing braces are not compromised. 

“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, but they likely will not be as frequent as you’d expect. Most of the visits will consist of Dr. Westfall 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 pose a problem in 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 themselves. 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 more quickly 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 in facts. This treatment uses small amounts of materials like titanium and stainless steel, which are anti-corrosive and not vast enough to act as a lightning rod or set off metal detectors. 

The Top 10 Braces Myths You Need to Know

Facts beat fiction at Westfall Orthodontics.

The idea of braces doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and we hope to bust some of those silly myths. Westfall Orthodontics is your location for modern orthodontic treatment. We have three state-of-the-art offices to better serve the areas of Abingdon, Bristol, and Richlands, VA. We encourage you to reach out for your FREE consultation to start your personalized journey to a healthy and happy smile!