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Quick facts about braces

Myths About Braces — Exposed!

Sometime around 1,000 B.C., the ancient Greeks began experimenting with base metals and cat gut to improve on the smile provided by nature. We've come a long way since then. But, like the myths of ancient Greece, there are some fables that persist about braces.

Myth: Braces are just for kids. Fact: According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. It's never too late to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw position, or jaw-joint disorders. The biological process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age, although it may take longer for an adult than a child or adolescent.

Myth: Braces are unattractive. Fact: Today's braces can be a fashion statement or almost invisible. While TV shows and movies often portray braces as unattractive, that is more stereotype than fact. Braces can be tooth-colored or clear for those who want them to go unnoticed. At the other end of the spectrum, there are brackets shaped like hearts and footballs. You can get orthodontic rubber bands in school colors or holiday hues such as red, white, and blue. Some people also choose gold-plated braces and glow-in-the-dark retainers.

Myth: Signals from braces can link to the Internet to download songs onto an iPod. Fact: Sorry, but this is just wishful thinking — for now!

Myth: Braces must be tight and painful to work. Fact: It's like breaking in a new pair of shoes. After a short period of adjustment, braces are quite comfortable.

Myth: Braces make it hard to play musical instruments and sports. Fact: Your dentist or orthodontist can give you a protective mouth guard for contact sports, such as football or wrestling, which could result in injury to the mouth or jaw. As for playing an instrument, you may need to practice a bit to adapt to your new braces, but there's no reason to stop the music.

Myth: If you wanted to capture a person with braces, you could just aim a giant magnet at them and they would be pulled to it teeth-first. Fact: You might see this happen in cartoons, but it's not possible in reality. Braces are made from nonmagnetic materials.



"FAQs." American Association of Orthodontists. Accessed 2013.

"AAO—A Beautiful Smile for Everyone." American Association of Orthodontists. Accessed 2013.

"Myths and Facts." American Association of Orthodontists. Accessed 2013.

Author: Amy VanStee

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