For some people, a visit to the orthodontist’s office is just a regular part of daily life. Maybe as a child, they got braces and now they’re a parent. The idea of their children getting braces is just another exciting stage in their growth.
Not everyone is familiar with orthodontic appliances. Some people may have been blessed with perfect teeth and jaws so they will never have to be. However, if their child hasn’t been so lucky, they, unfortunately, will have no experience of their own to draw upon. It is often people in scenarios such as this, who have never been to an orthodontist, who can easily fall prey to some of the myths regarding orthodontic appliances.
Myth #1 – Dentists are Orthodontists
The first myth that can steer people wrong is that anyone who provides braces or clear aligners for straightening teeth is an orthodontist.
That is not true! There are some general dentists and some web-based companies that offer treatments to straighten teeth.
To be able to legally call themselves an orthodontist, a dentist has to get that extra training and certification. First, a four-year degree has to be completed to become a qualified dentist. Once that achievement has been made, a minimum of two years of full-time post-secondary education has to be completed. This extra education focuses on the specialized skills that an orthodontist requires.
Orthodontists focus specifically on two things: the improvement of a person’s bite and the straightening of their teeth. This is important to know because if the person providing braces or clear aligners also offers other treatments such as dental fillings or root canals, they are not an orthodontist.
Myth #2 – Orthodontic Treatment is VERY Expensive
The second myth is a big one because it can really stop someone from getting the help they need. This is the myth that orthodontic treatment is very expensive.
This is simply not true. A variety of cases are treated by orthodontists. Each scenario is unique and varies in complexity. Some treatments are relatively simple and some are extremely complex, so not all treatments require the same financial investment.
Orthodontists will provide information regarding the complexity of each specific case and they will also explain the variety of treatment options that are available. Before beginning any treatment, financial concerns are first addressed. Many orthodontists have payment plans available as well, in order to accommodate the differing needs of families.
Myth #3 – Braces are for Children
This third myth is a common misconception. It’s that braces are ONLY for kids and teenagers. This isn’t true at all, braces and Invisalign among adults are actually on the rise. There’s never an age that makes someone too old to invest in their smile.
However, treatment for adults can sometimes be a little more challenging. It’s important to seek out a registered orthodontist who has the skills and experience of specifically dealing with adult cases.
Myth #4 – You Only Need an Orthodontist for Braces
This is the myth that many parents fall victim to. This concerns the mistaken belief that they can’t take their child to an orthodontist until their baby teeth have fallen out. In fact, it is recommended by the Canadian Association of Orthodontists (CAO) that children should be evaluated by an orthodontist at an early age while many baby teeth are still present.
At the ages of 6 to 7, long before a child’s baby teeth have fallen out, an orthodontist can evaluate growth, bite, as well as the pattern of tooth eruption.
Although most children at this age will not require immediate treatment, it is beneficial for the orthodontist to see a child early in their development to better identify potential problems. It often allows for the opportunity for early intervention and prevention of further problems.
Myth #5 – An Orthodontist Visit Requires a Referral
This final myth follows the line of logic that for medical needs, you need a referral from your family doctor to see a specialist. People then assume that it is only logical that for braces, they must, therefore, receive a referral from their family dentist before making an appointment with an orthodontist.
Although this train of thought makes sense it is in reality quite incorrect.
An orthodontist does not require a referral from a general dentist to schedule an appointment on your behalf.
Members of the Canadian Association of Orthodontics make every effort to be available to anyone who wishes to discuss treatment options. Members of the public are highly encouraged to contact their offices directly either by telephone or online.
If you have any more questions or concerns that you’re eager to have answered, then please feel free to make an appointment with one of Heritage Orthodontists highly skilled specialists. We’re always eager to help.