There are so many myths about braces. Here are some of our favourite ones.
If I kiss someone else with braces, our braces will get locked together
This is a lovely myth, probably fuelled by a scene from a movie where this happened. But this is simply not realistic or likely.
Braces pick up radio signal
There are stories about people complaining that the fillings in their teeth pick up radio signals and that they are plagued with non-stop music and chatter from a radio show. There is no evidence that this has ever happened and we think this urban myth has jumped from fillings to braces. Picking up a radio signal and turning it into sound requires specific equipment and is just not possible with braces.
Braces will set off metal detectors at the airport
Some braces are made from metal so it does seem logical to think that they may set off a metal detector. But the reality is this does not happen. Metal detectors are tuned to pick up bigger pieces of metal that may be a security issue, in an airport for example. Metal braces are too small to be able to trigger the sensors in a metal detector which are designed to pick up larger items.
Braces will help me lose weight
It is surprising how often this question is asked of an orthodontist. Braces are used to straighten and align teeth. They are not a means to lose weight. Some patients do lose weight while wearing braces, but this is most often due to being more health aware and making better food choices.
I can’t play sport while wearing braces
Yes you can! Contact sports like rugby, water polo, or even boxing could potentially cause minor injuries to the inside of the lips if there is a blow to the mouth. But this very seldom happens. It is critical that a mouth guard is worn while doing contact sports to protect your teeth. Your orthodontist can help with a special mouth guard for you that will protect your braces and mouth in case of an accident.
I can’t play a musical instrument wearing braces
If you play a wind instrument there may be a period of adjustment to playing with braces, but it is completely possible. Your piano playing will be unaffected.
An orthodontist and a dentist are the same thing
It is a common misconception. The truth is 100% of orthodontists are dentists but only around 3% of dentists undertake the additional 3 to 4 years of full-time study necessary to become a specialist orthodontist. Since the undergraduate curriculum only covers very basic aspects of orthodontics, dentists are not qualified and trained to perform specialised orthodontic treatment.
Braces are painful
When braces are first fitted, or after an adjustment, there can be a short period of discomfort. Braces can also irritate the gums and lips initially which could cause mouth sores like ulcers. This period of adjustment is very short and your orthodontist will provide tools and guidance to help you through the first period of wearing braces.
Braces are only for kids
Not true. Braces are just as effective in treating adults as they are in treating kids. Traditionally orthodontic treatment is done during the formative teenage years, but that trend is changing as more and more adults choose to create that perfect smile for themselves.
My teeth will stay straight forever after having braces
A well planned period of treatment by a specialist orthodontist will give the smile you want, provided you adhere to the instructions of your orthodontist. Once the braces are removed from your teeth, you will need to wear retainers to hold your teeth in position and maintain the treated result. The more often and longer you wear your retainer, the more your teeth will be maintained in their new position.
I will have to stop eating my favourite foods while I have braces
This would depend on what your favourite foods are. Braces are tough and designed to deal with rigours of eating and chewing but they are not indestructible. While having braces won’t stop you from eating your favourite foods, they necessitate a change in how you eat your favourite foods. For example using a knife to slice food into smaller bite-sized pieces (eg. apple) rather than taking a big bite. Hard and sticky foods should be avoided. Breakages caused by such incidents complicate and prolong treatment.
Do I need to have teeth removed in order to have braces?
In certain instances this is necessary. Tooth extractions need to be determined on a case by case basis based on comprehensive diagnostics, evaluation and planning. There are certain situations where the success and stability of treatment will necessitate extractions, for example, severe crowding of the teeth with insufficient space to align all the teeth.