Braces have come a long way in recent years, but there are many misconceptions about braces that make patients hesitant about getting braces. This is very unfortunate because braces not only improve a patient’s smile, but they can also improve a patient’s overall health.
First up is the discomfort issue. There is no question that having braces is less comfortable than not having braces, but modern braces are far more comfortable than those used 15 to 20 years ago. Smaller brackets, more precise adjustments, and shorter treatment times mean that patient discomfort is minimized.
Next, it used to take years for braces to do their work but these days braces are usually worn about one to two years. Improved techniques and more precise adjustments minimize the time it takes to complete the process. For patients without bite issues, the procedure can be completed in as little as six months.
Recent innovations in orthodontics have made the “metal mouth” look a thing of the past. There are many different alternatives to traditional metal braces that are much less noticeable. These include invisible braces such as clear or tooth colored braces, inside braces that attach to the back of the patient’s teeth, and invisible aligners which work like braces but use a clear plastic tray or guard to move the teeth.
Finally, to prevent the patient’s teeth from shifting after treatment a retainer was traditionally worn for a year or two after the braces come off. We now understand that teeth can shift at any time and maintaining tooth alignment may require wearing the retainer indefinitely, at least at night.
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