A woman smiles while sitting in a chair, debunking myths about braces.

At New England Orthodontic Specialists, we know the importance of getting the correct information when considering braces. Although they’ve existed in one form or another for centuries, there are still plenty of myths out there about what they are and how they work. With that in mind, let’s explore what people often get wrong about braces and what you can expect from braces treatment with our expert team!

Braces Are Painful

Many patients are worried that having braces will hurt, so this is one myth we’re happy to dispel. Although there may be some mild discomfort when your braces are first put on, this will fade as your teeth adjust to them. You may also experience some slight soreness or irritation following your adjustment appointments with your orthodontist. This is normal and will resolve on its own quickly. There’s no need to be anxious—wearing braces won’t cause you any long-term pain or discomfort.

Braces Treatment Takes Forever

Whether a patient wears braces or an alternative like clear aligners, the total treatment time will vary from case to case. No two smiles are alike, and every patient will respond to treatment in their own way. Your estimated treatment time will depend on many factors, including the complexity of your case, the improvements you’re hoping to achieve, how compliant you are with our recommendations, and more!

While most patients will wear braces for 12-24 months on average, your time in braces may be longer or shorter than this. Either way, perspective is key: always remember that treatment is only temporary! You won’t be in braces forever, and all your hard work will be more than worth it once we remove the brackets and reveal a beautifully aligned smile.

Braces Are For Kids

Although many people associate orthodontics with tweens or teens in a full set of metal braces, treatment can actually benefit patients of all ages. Our practice is proud to help children, teens, and adults achieve healthier smiles! While it’s true that some issues are easier to treat in younger patients, an experienced orthodontist can move your teeth into more desirable positions at almost any age. You’re never too old to improve your oral health and boost your confidence with orthodontics!

Braces Need Frequent 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 your orthodontist making minor adjustments and visually inspecting the movement to ensure you are progressing as you should be.

Braces Don’t Allow You To Play Sports

You should always protect your teeth and mouth when playing sports or instruments, especially when you have braces. While having braces will not keep you from playing contact sports like football, it is advised that you wear a protective mouthguard just to be safe from the impact that could damage your braces themselves but could also cause your braces to cut the insides of your mouth.

10 Braces Myths You Need to Know

Braces Are The Only Way To Get Straight Teeth

Braces are one of the most well-known tools for correcting bad bites, but they aren’t the only way we can help you achieve a more confident smile! In addition to traditional metal braces, we offer clear braces and Spark and Clear Confidence clear aligners. Each option can correct a wide range of issues and improve your oral health. It’s important to note that what works for one patient may not be a good fit for another, however. When you schedule a consultation with our expert team, we will examine your teeth and recommend the option that will work best for your unique smile.

Braces Limit Diet Options

It’s true that food restrictions are part of having braces and are often one of the biggest learning curves a patient will face during treatment. Sticky and crunchy foods can warp wires and bend brackets, so you’ll need to avoid them throughout your orthodontic journey. While it can be inconvenient to give up things like popcorn, nutty candy, and chewing gum, hang in there and keep reminding yourself that there are still plenty of delicious ortho-friendly foods you can enjoy during treatment.

Braces Only Straighten Teeth

Braces are an excellent solution for straightening crooked teeth, but that’s not all they can do! These appliances can also help improve or resolve several other orthodontic issues. When the teeth and jaws are misaligned, it can lead to difficulties with everyday tasks like eating, speaking, and caring for your teeth and gums. Braces can address and correct many of these problems, giving you a more attractive smile and improving your speech, oral health, and even your digestion!

Braces Treatment Lasts Forever

This one could probably be classified as wishful thinking instead of another misconception! Braces are a fantastic way to straighten teeth, but they won’t remain in their new positions forever without a little help. This is because our teeth don’t like being moved from their original positions and will always try to get back to them. It takes enormous pressure from braces or aligners to shift them, and that level of support can’t be maintained indefinitely.

Once your braces are removed, your mouth will need time to grow the support that keeps the teeth in their new places. We’re able to do this by applying gentle pressure with a custom-made retainer. Without it, your teeth will naturally begin to drift back to their original position over time. This can happen faster than you’d think— in the first year after treatment is completed, your teeth can start shifting in as little as a few days!

Using your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist will ensure the newly straightened teeth are where they need to be to allow them to heal fully. It will also allow your teeth to settle into those new positions permanently, giving you long-lasting results you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.

10 Braces Myths You Need to Know

Get Clarity With Your Smile At New England Orthodontic Specialists

Our New England Orthodontic Specialists will gladly welcome you and your family to our practice, and we can’t wait to serve you.  If you have any questions or concerns about oral hygiene during treatment, our expert team is always here to help set your mind at ease. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation or follow-up with Dr. Neil and Dr. Diana in any of our offices – BeverlyTopsfieldSouth Hamilton, or Salem.