Over the past 30 years we have helped thousands of patients achieve beautiful, beautiful smiles. We have found that some of our patients were given inaccurate information related to orthodontics. Often times, these myths are born from a simple misunderstanding of a process or a procedure. Our team considers it an honor to educate our patients about these topics so today we will dispel a few common myths about orthodontic treatment.
1. “Braces are the only treatment option.” and “I was told I’m not a candidate for Invisalign.”
Innovations and advancements in technology have given rise to a wide variety of treatment options for straightening teeth. Alternatives to braces include clear aligners like Invisalign® and headgear alternatives such as the Carriere and Herbst appliances. We are a Top 1% “Diamond” Invisalign Provider and our doctors have the experience, skill set, and knowledge required to treat a wide variety of malocclusions without using braces. We believe that every patient is an Invisalign candidate!
2. “If it doesn’t hurt it’s not working.”
It’s possible that the old adage of “no pain, no gain” has fueled this myth. Back in the early days of orthodontics wires were thicker and less flexible. This combination led to increased pressure on teeth and thus increased pain. The invention of flexible nickel titanium wires provided a way for orthodontists to move teeth a more constant, lower force and this resulted in less pain. Invisalign aligners apply the gentlest tooth forces at only 0.25 mm movement per aligner, making Invisalign treatment virtually painless. Therefore, the presence or absence of discomfort does not correlate with treatment progress in modern orthodontics.
3. “You will notice a big change immediately.”
Moving teeth is a slow process that occurs over a series of months. As teeth move their surrounding bone, blood vessels, nerves, and ligaments must remodel around them. When too much force is applied the resulting outcome is possible tissue necrosis and shortened roots. Your orthodontist will closely monitor the speed of your tooth movement throughout treatment to ensure that your teeth are moved in the safest, yet most efficient way possible.
4. “Your teeth will stay straight without retainers.”
We wish this was, true but unfortunately it’s just a myth. Teeth are in their most stable positions before orthodontic treatment begins. Without retainers, the pressures of your lips and tongue must be perfectly balanced in order for no shifting to occur. Additionally, the ligaments that surround your teeth will tend to move teeth back to their original positions over time. We see many adults who had orthodontic treatment as a child/teen but their teeth are no longer straight because they stopped wearing their retainers. Our doctors want your new smile to last a lifetime, so we strongly recommend the placement of fixed retainers when possible. If you do not want fixed retainers or are not a candidate for them, you will need to wear clear retainers at nighttime for a lifetime to ensure that your teeth will not shift.
5. “My treatment time will not change.”
Correcting malocclusions and moving teeth into proper alignment takes time. Depending upon the initial position of your teeth and bite, orthodontic treatment times vary but the end result is definitely worth your time investment! At the beginning of your treatment, your orthodontist will provide an estimated treatment time, but your final date may vary from this depending on the severity of the case, timing of tooth eruption, and patient compliance. Your cooperation plays a big role in treatment time, especially when wearing Invisalign aligners and/or elastics. Patients who demonstrate great compliance usually finish early or on time. In contrast, anticipated treatment time is usually extended in patients who are not compliant.
If oral hygiene is not maintained at an acceptable level throughout treatment damage to your teeth can occur in the form of “permanent white scars” and/or cavities. If your orthodontist feels that more harm than good is occurring due to poor oral hygiene, your treatment will end earlier than anticipated in order to protect the health of your teeth and gums.
6. “Is a dentist an orthodontist?
Orthodontists complete an additional 2-3 years of education and training in order to become experts in facial growth, dental development, and malocclusion correction. Trust your smile with a specialist!
7. “Are all orthodontists the same?”
Experience, additional training, treatment plans, treatment methodology, and personality can vary greatly between orthodontists. Because of this, it is important to do your research and find an orthodontist that best matches you and your specific treatment goals.
8. “I’m too old for braces.”
Some may feel that orthodontic treatment is just for kids and teens, but that is simply not true! In reality, as long as your teeth and supporting structures are healthy, age is not a factor. Many adults opt for clear aligners (like Invisalign) or clear braces since esthetics is a larger concern among adults. Our oldest patient just turned 80 years old!
9. “My treatment outcome is not dependent upon me.”
You play an integral role in your treatment outcome and treatment time. The final result is largely dependent upon your cooperation throughout treatment. Multiple missed appointments, broken appliances, lost aligners, low compliance, and poor oral hygiene greatly impact your final result. You and your orthodontists will work together as a team throughout your treatment to achieve the best possible treatment outcome. We care about your smile and want the very best for you!
At Kentucky Orthodontics, we provide industry-leading orthodontic care to the residents of Kentucky. Our team has the skills, knowledge, and experience to ensure the best treatment experience possible for you and your family. When you are ready to take the next step toward your new, confident smile please complete the form below. We offer complimentary consultations and 3D smile simulation scans. We look forward to helping transform your smile!