It's not uncommon for adults to consider getting braces, especially if they were advised to get them as a child or teen, but never did. If you've avoided getting braces, but are now considering them, don't be put off by the many myths about adult braces. Here are some common myths about adult braces, busted.
Braces are for kids
This myth, though less commonly believed today, still holds some adults back from getting braces. Studies show that approximately one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult, but as many as three-quarters of adults have some sort of correctable orthodontic problem.
Age really doesn't have to be a factor in whether braces are right for you, as long as your teeth are otherwise healthy enough to handle the process. If you have good teeth, and want to keep them that way, braces could help.
Braces hurt too much
Braces can be uncomfortable, there's no denying that. However, your orthodontist can help reduce the discomfort by choosing the best appliances for your individual needs and making adjustments slowly, rather than over-tightening them too quickly. New technologies and more flexible wires help make wearing braces less painful than ever before. Some new technologies, such as Invisalign braces, don't require wires for tightening, but use retainer-like trays to gently move teeth into position.
If you do experience pain, an over-the-counter pain medicine is typically all you need to find relief. Drinking cold water and using an ice pack on the outside of your mouth can also help relieve discomfort.
Braces are just for making cosmetic changes to teeth
If you are avoiding braces because you think they're strictly for making cosmetic improvements, think again. Properly aligned (straight) teeth are more attractive, but they're also important for maintaining good dental health as you age. Improperly aligned teeth can lead to plaque buildup, tooth decay and gum disease, which, in turn, can lead to infections in your blood, elevated risk of heart disease and problems eating your favorite foods.
It's been proven that keeping your teeth healthy can help keep the rest of you healthy, too. Braces are just another tool that your orthodontist can use to help you keep your teeth healthy as you age.
Braces impair your speech
It can take some time to get used to having braces in your mouth. At first, you may feel strange speaking around the braces, but after a few days, most people get used to it. A slight lisp isn't uncommon, but even this clears up as you get used to having braces. Don't let a small chance of a slight, temporary speech impediment prevent you from getting braces to improve your smile and long term dental health.
Braces are too expensive
Compared with the cost of treating dental and other related health problems later on, braces can look like a very inexpensive option for better health care. However, it's easy to see why some people balk at the cost of braces, which can cost $3000-4000 or more. There are some ways to offset the cost, so getting braces as an adult doesn't have to break your budget completely.
- If you have dental insurance, check to see if you have benefits for adult orthodontic treatments, including braces. This could help reduce your out-of-pocket costs when you get braces.
- Get more than one consultation. Different orthodontists may have widely varying costs, so it's worth taking advantage of any free consultations offered by local orthodontists.
- Ask if the orthodontist will work with you to make a payment plan, or ask if they'll give a discount if you pay in cash or pay upfront for their services.
If your dentist recommends that you see an orthodontist about getting braces, don't buy into negative myths about adult braces. Your smile, and your dental health, are important, regardless of your age, and you're never too old for great teeth. Click here for info about how braces could help you.