The following are most common myths and misconceptions we get to hear from our patients. I have been listening to the same complaints or myths from patients since my good old PG days. What surprises me is even educated, foreign returned patients are also victims of misinformation. For example: "doctor is there any risk to eyes if my teeth are removed for braces treatment".. after treating more than 5000 patients I can confidently tell you there is no risk to eyes from a tooth extraction. But I guess this question is going to haunt dentists forever.
Most of the time this misinformation is passed on to our patients from people who themselves are misinformed and never visited a dentist or undergone orthodontic treatment. People who stay away from the dentist for their own fears tend to pass on those fears to others (with good intentions, I presume) and that's why most of the times our patients start by saying, "doctor, my friend said..."
1. Teeth pain a lot while wearing orthodontic braces.
No, not at all. Painful teeth during orthodontic treatment is an old story. Yes, during olden times (up to 90s), when the only wire available to move teeth was stainless steel wire, and these stiff wires were bent in complicated ways. As a result,patients would feel pain in their teeth especially for three days after every visit. Now we use smart wires and copper NiTi wires. This largely eliminates the need for rigid stainless steel wires and complicated bends. So no more toothache!
2. One cannot attend functions while wearing braces, they are unaesthetic.
Again true during olden days. With a change in social attitudes nowadays braces are not considered unaesthetic but fashionable. If you are still concerned about metallic look of braces, then you can go for braces which are not visible at all like lingual braces, ceramic braces or the latest INVISALIGN
3. We cannot eat while wearing braces, so we lose weight.
You can eat everything both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, including pizzas, burgers, mutton, chicken or shawarma everything. Only limitation is to make them into small pieces place them on your back teeth and start chewing with little precaution so you can enjoy all your favorite foods.
4. It is better not to wear braces during 11th and 12th standards. you wont be able to concentrate on studies.
I have many patients who are pursuing MBBS, BDS and even PhD, they have much more hectic study schedule than a school student. I have also had patients who wrote NEET while undergoing orthodontic treatment and secured admission into MBBS.
5. It is better not to wear braces if you are into sports as you might hurt your lips.
Word of fact is that many Olympians and famous sports personalities underwent orthodontic treatment during their careers.
6. It is better to not to wear braces if you are a singer or an actor. Braces interfere with speech.
A simple world wide web search will land you results of a whole lot of Hollywood celebrities like Tom Cruise have undergone orthodontic treatment during their careers. Our Bollywood and Tollywood actors too have undergone orthodontic treatment but unfortunately they don’t sport their braces like Hollywood counterparts.
7. We have to keep away from non-veg and lot of other food materials.
No!You don’t have to stop eating non-vegetarian food. It is only better if you don’t chew on to those bones.
8. Eyes will get damaged, if they remove 4 teeth.
If that was true all the dental clinics would have been shut by now. We remove teeth every day and no one has turned blind till now. there is no scientific evidence in the literature to support this claim by most of our patients rather their friends and relatives)
9. If you wear braces, you will end up with lots of cavities.
This must have been told to you by someone who is very negligent about his/her own oral hygiene. While undergoing orthodontic treatment one has to spend little more time on brushing compared to others. There is always a chance for food to get stuck in the braces and you must brush twice a day and rinse your mouth at least 3 times a day.
10. Teeth will become weak.
Teeth will become weak only if they are not brushed well with braces or without braces.
11. Why did you wear braces, you look the same.
This is the most disappointing and discouraging statement our patients get to hear from their relatives or so called well wishers. People who say such things say so because they fail to remember how you were looking before treatment. Since orthodontic treatment spans over 2 years and the changes in your smile and face appear gradually and slowly, it is very difficult to appreciate those changes for someone who sees you regularly. That is when the photographic record taken by the doctor before treatment helps.When patients are shown their before and after photographs they appreciate the change and feel happy about it.
12. Once the braces are removed, no need to visit the dentist again.
You must visit the dentist at least on alternate months so that he can observe for any unwanted changes and act immediately.
13. Let's get braces placed in this week itself.
Believe me, no good orthodontist will start your treatment the day you visit him. Orthodontist needs at least a week to study your radiographs, plaster models and photographs to decide about your treatment plan. Treatment can start only after that. So give him that much time.
14. Braces are very costly.
This is the biggest and most popular myth. Compared to the USA, UK or any other country the cost for treatment in India is very less. Orthodontists in India charges range between Rs25000-60000/- depending on their practice location for regular metal braces. The same treatment will cost you more than 3 lakh rupees in abroad. An orthodontist will charge you for bands,brackets, wires, adhesives, elastics, records etc which he is going to use for 2 years, so consider the cost involved for doctors in terms of orthodontic materials, gloves, assistant fees, clinic maintenance costs and his professional fee. Even for any other medical treatment within India, over 2 years you will be paying much more than what an orthodontist charges you.
15. Orthodontic treatment is too lengthy.
No! not at all. Compared to the permanent positive changes brought by orthodontic therapy, the treatment duration is not lot lengthy at all. If someone desires to improve their smile and appearance in very short duration, then I advise them to visit a beauty salon rather than an orthodontist who is serious about his profession. Or else there is a chance that you might end up as a victim to those who claim to change your face within one day through SPECIAL TREATMENTS and take you for a ride.
16. It's better not to get BRACES if you are going to move out to another place within 2 years.
You can comfortably continue your treatment with another orthodontist provided your previous orthodontist gives you all the records. And in present digital era, transferring your photographs, radiographs and digital plaster models to another Orthodontist any where around the globe doesn't take more than a CLICK.
17. I am too old for braces.
No one is too old for braces. I have treated people as old as 60 years with braces. Any age can be the right age for orthodontics. Adult orthodontics is very popular now a days. Many times adults may need to wear braces not to improve their smile but as an adjunctive or additional treatment to replace missing teeth.
After reading the article if you feel some more answers are required, you can send your queries to me through Practo consult or Quora.