Myths and misconceptions about orthodontics

As your children begin to approach the age when you’ll be considering orthodontic treatment for them, you’ll have some decisions on your hands. You’ll want to feel confident that you’re getting the best treatment and ensure that you’re looking after your child’s smile and general oral health. There are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about orthodontics that can stand in the way of making the best decision for your family. We address these below.

Myth: Orthodontic treatment is only cosmetic

While many people seek out orthodontic treatment to gain the confidence boost of a straight smile, that’s not the only reason to consider orthodontics. Correcting a bad bite or misaligned jaw can remove pain, help with sleep apnoea and ease pressure on your teeth so they don’t wear down unevenly.

Myth: Once you have your braces, you don’t necessarily need follow up appointments

Many people wrongly believe that their child’s braces are ‘set and forget’, and plan on skipping their regular appointments. But these appointments are about more than just checking the progress of their treatment. While visiting your general dentist during orthodontic treatment will safeguard the health of your child’s teeth and gums, your orthodontist needs to make necessary regular adjustments to ensure their treatment will be successful.

Skipping your regular orthodontic appointments may put your child’s teeth at risk and also prolong the length of their orthodontic treatment. Missing appointments may not allow the next stage in the treatment to be reached on-time, such as new archwires or the addition of elastics. While your orthodontist will let you know up-front how long the treatment should take, not adhering to the appointment schedule will unnecessarily prolong it and reduce its effectiveness.

Myth: Orthodontists only offer metal braces

If your child wants to have their teeth straightened but they don’t want traditional metal braces, you may think you should go to an alternative orthodontic provider so they can get something different. This is not the case. Orthodontists are the true experts in a wide variety of orthodontic treatment options, including plates, ceramic braces, lingual braces and clear aligner treatments such as Invisalign® or ClearCorrect®.

During your child’s assessment, your orthodontist will advise you about all of the best options for achieving the perfect smile and the costs involved. Traditional metal or clear braces remain a popular choice because they are very cost-effective and can perform the complete range of tooth movements. An alternative orthodontic provider may offer something different, but you may not see the desired results.

Myth: Dentists and orthodontists are the same thing

While all orthodontists originally started their careers as qualified dentists, they then underwent an additional 3 years of full time study to become a specialist orthodontist. Your general or family dentist focuses on the health and hygiene of your teeth, offering services including cleaning, teeth whitening and fillings.

Your specialist orthodontist, on the other hand, devotes all of their professional time to the practice of orthodontics. Straightening teeth and correcting bad bites is what they do, all day every day.

Myth: Anyone who offers orthodontics is an orthodontist

Unfortunately, these days there are a lot of general or family dentists offering orthodontic services without actually being a specialist orthodontist. Some general dentists have only completed short courses to learn about orthodontics, often over a single weekend. Following completion of this short course, these dentists then decide to attempt real orthodontic treatment for patients.

For the best results for your family, it’s important to see a specialist orthodontist for your orthodontic work. You can check whether the person you’re entrusting with the care of your child’s teeth is a fully qualified and registered specialist orthodontist by performing a search here.

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