Debunking the myths that surround orthodontic treatment
It seems that no matter what area of medical care you are considering, there are always misconceptions, half-truths and horror stories there to mislead you and cause undue worry to those who believe them.
Unfortunately, orthodontic treatment is no different. It can be hard to separate the truth from the myths, which makes coming to an informed opinion about potential treatment.
Thankfully, we have taken the time shed some light on five of the most common myths and misconceptions you’re likely to come across when looking into orthodontic treatment.
MYTH 1: Orthodontic treatment is just for children and teenagers.
The truth: Whilst the majority of orthodontic patients in the UK are still children and teenagers, the amount of adult patients is growing consistently. There are a number of reasons for this. These include adults being more inclined to have braces fitted if they missed out on treatment as a child, the increasing availability of invisible braces, and the rise in popularity of cosmetic dentistry in general.
Orthodontic treatment is believed to be most effectual if carried out during adolescence as your teeth are still growing. However, it is still highly effective when carried out at any time throughout your life. It’s never too late to get yourself a smile you can feel truly proud of.
MYTH 2: You have to wear braces for several years for them to have an impact on your teeth.
The truth: As everyone’s teeth and orthodontic needs are different, the amount of time braces need to be worn vary from one patient to the next. However, recent developments in technology have meant that braces can now be effective in far shorter amounts of time than in the past.
Whilst the majority of patients can expect to wear their brace for between one and two years, the most advanced braces available can deliver a full course of orthodontic treatment in as little as six months.
MYTH 3: Your braces have to be painful in order to have any effect on your mouth
The truth: Orthodontic treatment can cause you some discomfort throughout your treatment, especially when your braces are first fitted to your mouth. However, they should not cause you serious pain – if this is ever the case, you need to speak to your orthodontist as there may be a problem that needs resolving.
If necessary, the discomfort you experience will be treatable through taking a regular painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Any unease should subside after a few days, leaving you to continue with your life as normal whilst your braces painlessly realign your smile.
MYTH 4: Orthodontic treatment is just about giving yourself an attractive smile
The truth: The cosmetic results are just one of the many benefits of orthodontic treatment. There are a range of health advantages to having well aligned teeth.
You may hear your orthodontist or regular dentist talking about “malocclusion”, which is when your upper and lower teeth don’t fit together comfortably when you bite. This can make it more likely for your teeth to become chipped or cracked which can lead to decay. Misaligned teeth can also put extra pressure on your jaw which can cause strain and injury.
Uneven and crowded teeth are also more difficult to keep clean, causing your oral hygiene to deteriorate which makes decay, disease and bad breath more likely. So, even if you’re not all that fussed about what your smile looks like, having crooked teeth repaired is worthwhile for all sorts of reasons.
MYTH 5: Getting braces is always incredibly expensive
The truth: Orthodontic treatment is actually available through the NHS free of charge for under 18s, and charged as a complex dental treatment for adults who medically need it. However, if you’re after orthodontic treatment for cosmetic reasons, or you want more advanced options such as invisible braces, then the NHS will not provide this and the price does increase.
However, paying for braces is a genuine investment in your smile, perhaps the best one you will ever make if you have misaligned teeth. Devoting the time and money to repairing your smile properly will save you from a lifetime of dental treatment that will end up hitting both your health and your wallet much harder in the long run.
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