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Marian Mackay

5 Most Common Myths About Braces, Retainers And Clear Aligners

5 Most Common Myths About Braces, Retainers And Clear Aligners

Do you hold any of these beliefs about these teeth straightening options? We don our Mythbusters caps to give you the truth on some common myths about orthodontics.

There are many myths and old wives' tales surrounding braces, clear aligners and retainers. Some are plausible while others ... well ... let's just say we are surprised they have traction.

We have decided to put some of these myths to rest once and for all. In true Mythbusters fashion, read on to see which orthodontic myths are 'busted', 'plausible' or 'confirmed'.

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1. Retainers only need to be worn for two years.

Status: Busted

Explanation: This is probably the most common myth surrounding braces and there is absolutely no truth to it. In fact, following treatment with braces, a retainer should be worn for life. The reason has much to do with our next myth.

2. Once you reach a certain age, your teeth stop moving.

Status: Busted

Explanation: The human body goes through many physiological developments in its lifetime. And, oftentimes, these changes can alter the way the body is shaped. The same is true for your jaw, which goes through various stages of shape with each bodily transition (for example, when a baby switches from milk to solids and they no longer need to have a jaw shaped for attaching to a breast). The point is: shifting jaw shapes can cause teeth to move throughout your lifetime.

3. One retainer is sufficient for a lifetime.

Status: Plausible

Explanation: If a retainer is looked after carefully it MAY aid in the retention of straight teeth for life. But, that is not likely. In fact, teens who have had braces early (before reaching 15 years of age) should, especially, see their orthodontist regularly to ensure the retainer still fits comfortably. As mentioned above, with the shifting shape of the jaw, one retainer may not fit correctly several years after purchase. If so, this retainer could hinder the retention of straight teeth as well as become uncomfortable or even hurt when worn. In such cases, a new retainer would need to be fitted.

4. Braces are more than just cosmetic.

Status: Confirmed

Explanation: With the advancements in orthodontics, particularly in the last 10 years, we now know that braces serve more than just a cosmetic purpose because having straight teeth actually benefits your health. Non-corrected crooked teeth or overbites can lead patients to suffer from temporomandibular jaw disorder which has been known to cause jaw pain, pinched nerves and soreness in the neck and shoulders. Also, straight teeth can improve your biting, chewing, speech and breathing.

5. Treatment with braces takes time - sometimes years.

Status: Confirmed

Explanation: This is more of an observation than a myth, however, it is worth having on the list. The process of fitting and maintaining braces takes time because the repositioning of the teeth needs to be carefully controlled. If the teeth are incorrectly repositioned it can cause severe damage. And of course, the length of time required for repositioning is dependent on the severity of the case. Also, outside factors may hinder the movement, i.e. broken bands, stubborn teeth etc, which take additional time to correct.

These are just some of the common myths in a sea of orthodontic conspiracies. But we hope we have cleared these up for you. If you have braces, retainer or clear aligner question or myth you want answered, please do not hesitate to contact us at DentalCareXtra, or check our page on teeth straightening options. Alternatively, complete the form below, and one of our friendly team members will contact you. 

References:
Miley, J. (2017). Orthodontists say braces should be worn for life to keep teeth straight. Interesting Engineering. [online]
Orthodontics Australia. (2015). Braces myths debunked. Image and article. [online]
American Association of Orthodontists. (2017). 7 Myths about orthodontic treatment. [online]

~ your smile oasis