When it comes to braces and orthodontics, a wealth of myths abound, and sometimes these even cause people to delay seeking valuable treatment that could improve their overall dental health and wellbeing throughout life.
The truth is, orthodontics isn’t just about straightening teeth and it’s certainly not just focused on the cosmetic advantages of a beautiful smile.
So here are five myths and facts about braces designed to offer greater insight into the orthodontic process and treatments available.
Myth: Braces are about looking good
A major advantage of braces and orthodontic treatment in general is that it results in a beautiful looking smile, but the actual aim of orthodontics goes far beyond aesthetics.
Orthodontic treatments are designed not just to straighten teeth but correctly align the bite, and both these elements have major flow-on effects for your general dental health and wellbeing.
Fact: Braces treatment has benefits beyond aesthetics
The true aim of orthodontics is to ensure that patients walk away with a straight and aligned smile that sets them up for a lifetime of dental health and general wellbeing benefits.
Benefit one – Better oral hygiene
An often-underappreciated benefit of orthodontic work is that straight teeth allow for a lifetime of better dental health.
With aligned teeth, all areas of the mouth are easier to access, and there are fewer hard to reach areas where food residue and plaque may build up. Over a lifetime this equates to better dental health, including fewer cavities and less likelihood of tooth loss.
Benefit two – Less wear and tear on teeth
As orthodontic treatments seeks to straighten teeth and align the bite, teeth are less prone to wear, tear and damage that is caused by them meeting at the incorrect angle or wearing against each other.
Benefit three – Improved speech
The teeth are directly related to how we form the essential sounds of speech. For those with particularly pronounced under bites, over bites and cross bites, orthodontic work has been found to improve speech.
Benefit four – Braces can help you breathe easier
The shape of the mouth impacts how we breathe. By ensuring the teeth are in the correct position and the jaws meet correctly, orthodontic work, including braces, can help some patients avoid mouth breathing.
Myth: Braces are just for teens
The teenage years are indeed a prime time for orthodontic work as all teeth are in position, but the upper palette is not yet fused. However, the Australian Society of Orthodontists estimates between 20 and 30 per cent of patients are now aged over 20 years.
Fact: It’s never too late to have the smile you always dreamed of
The fact is, it’s never too late to seek treatment to create straight teeth and an aligned bite. Adult orthodontic work also results in the many benefits listed above, meaning there’s no time like the present to have the smile you deserve.
Myth: Dentists and orthodontists are the same thing
Although dentists and orthodontists share a commitment to providing a lifetime of good oral hygiene, their areas of specialty differ.
An orthodontist focuses on the role the formation of the jaw and the position of the teeth plays in dental health and wellbeing, while a dentist works to prevent and treat problems like decay and gum disease.
Fact: All orthodontists have a dental qualification in addition to an orthodontic specialty
It’s interesting to note all orthodontists were once dentists, who not only have a degree in general dentistry, they also have at least two years clinical experience as a dental practitioner.
Since then a registered orthodontist has gone on to specialise for a further three years in the field of orthodontics with training in facial growth and development, biology and biomechanics.
Myth: You only see an orthodontist when you have braces
People often associate orthodontists with braces, and it’s true that is a large component of their work. However, orthodontists are actually the preferred professional when it comes to treating a range of issues that stem from the shape and structure of the jaw, and the position of teeth.
Fact: An orthodontist can assist with sleep apnoea, breathing issues and more
Orthodontic treatment extends far beyond creating a beautiful smile and can also assist with sleep and breathing problems including Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
In this instance an orthodontist can create a custom-made mouthguard for patients to use while they sleep. It repositions the jaw to keep the airway open and eliminates the symptoms of OSA such as snoring and repeated awakening.
Myth: Braces are expensive
Braces do come at a cost, but it’s often a lot more affordable and manageable than any people imagine.
The price of orthodontic treatment and braces depends on what treatment is required and the severity of the case involved. That said, as a general guide, traditional braces worn over an 18-month period usually cost between $5000 and $9000.
At Norwest Orthodontics we aim to ensure can be readily budgeted for with a clear outline of the costs involved from the outset and interest free payment plans that start from as little as $10 a day.
Fact: Braces are an investment
It’s important to remember braces are not just an outlay, but an investment in a lifetime of dental health, wellbeing and self-confidence. They can also save you very real money in the long run by helping create a smile that is easier to clean and assists with reducing dental problems like tooth decay, tooth loss and gum disease later down the line.
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.
We also have a suite of treatments available that include discreet, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.