TOP ELEVEN MYTHS ABOUT BRACES

No pain no gain right? Well, not exactly. In the old days, only stiff wires were available. When tied to the dental braces, these stiff wires exerted heavy forces leading to more pain and discomfort for the patient. Now, with new technologies and flexible wires, there is significantly less discomfort associated with tooth movement. These days, you can have straight teeth with minimal discomfort.

A common comment I get from patients is, “Make it tighter, doc. I want to get my braces off faster!” You may think that tighter adjustments and heavier forces will move your teeth faster. While a certain level of force is necessary to move teeth, a force level that is too high may start to damage the bone and surrounding tissues and actually delay the tooth movement.

Super-elastic wires of the present day can be bent into all different shapes and still spring back into their nice U-shaped form. These are long acting wires and continue to do their work for a long time. When a wire has done it’s job, you orthodontist will shift to the next set of wires which may be thicker in cross section or more rigid.

Not at all. Science of orthodontics is based on natural tendency of teeth to shift throughout life. With the help of braces, teeth are gently rearranged in better position which enhances esthetics and functional ability of teeth and improves their health, increasing their life.

Once your teeth are straight and your bite right, your braces will be taken off. Yet you need to follow specified protocol of wearing retainers for a few years. Sometimes inspite of wearing retainers for prescribed duration, some relapse can be seen in few patients. Most often, this relapse is very mild and can not be noticed. Patients who have noticible relapse may have to do selective retreatment with braces.

There is very little evidence to support the fact that wisdom teeth cause crowding. If this was true, then your teeth would never get crowded after your wisdom teeth were extracted. In fact, people who never developed wisdom teeth or who had their wisdom teeth removed may still see their teeth get crooked over time. Teeth just tend to drift forward over time regardless of whether or not you have wisdom teeth.

A mild overjet and overbite is perfectly normal and infact essential for optimum functioning of teeth. A beautifully finished braces treatment will have 1- 2 mms of overjet and overbite. People with zero overbite (whose teeth bite together in the front) actually start wearing down their front teeth over time. So a small overbite actually protects the front teeth from wearing down. Of course, a large overbite can be problematic and needs to be treated with braces.

When patients are told before treatment that they will be in dental braces for a certain number of years, it is very easy to focus on that date. Usually, an orthodontist can judge from his or her experience what the typical time frame is to finish treatment. However this depends on many factors. Some factors that would slow down treatment include: broken braces, not brushing well, not coming in for regular appointments, and having dense bone. If you want to get your braces off on time, make sure you co-operate by brushing and flossing well, wearing your elastics, and showing up for your regular appointments.

Though it may just look like braces and wires to you, every orthodontist uses slightly different wires, brackets, and appliances. Sometimes, the wires that one orthodontist uses would not even fit in the braces that another orthodontist uses. Each orthodontist also has his or her own technique in treating each case. Sorting out the finances is another difficult part of switching orthodontists because different offices structure their payment plans in different ways. If you switch orthodontists, you probably will end up paying more money than if you had just stayed with one orthodontist.

Today, adults are becoming a larger segment undergoing braces treatment. Although it is best to have braces as a kid, it is never too late to get braces on. With better technology and availability of esthetic / invisible braces, it is relatively easy for an adult to wear braces without any compromises.

Apart from making the teeth look better, braces are used on adults to correct bite problems that affect jaw joints, correct migrated teeth due to loss of teeth or periodontal problems, to prepare sites for implant placement, to correct tilted teeth in long standing extraction spaces to improve the quality of restorations etc.

Orthodontists go through several additional years of training to be able to have necessary knowledge, skills and expertise to diagnose and treat an orthodontic problem correctly. Family dentists simply don’t have the experience required to diagnose anything more than the simplest of cases.

Also it may not be a very good idea to get your braces from an orthodontist who visits your family dentist for few days in a month. The orthodontist may not be able to give you enough time and also your orthodontic treatment fee is shared with your family dentist making it less worthwhile for him to give his best.