Orthodontic Myths

It is amazing what you can find on orthodontic websites. Below are some facts that dispel a few common misconceptions that are often promoted, that you should be aware of, so that you are not misled.

  •  There are no “magic braces”. Despite what some orthodontists claim, the type of braces an orthodontist uses comes down to his or her personal preference. A recent, well done comprehensive, un-biased study (not-funded by bracket manufacturers) at the University of Washington found that the only advantage to a “self-ligation” bracket, is a reduced time that a patient spends in the chair per visit. That’s it. Certain braces do not reduce treatment time, nor can they produce a superior result. Choosing an orthodontist based on what type of bracket system they use, would be like choosing a surgeon based on what brand of instruments they use. The outcome depends on the skill of the orthodontist, not the type of braces he or she uses. I use a self-ligation bracket only because it is what I prefer.
  • Bracket recycling…  It is true that some practitioners around the country recycle braces, but I can assure you that neither I, nor any other orthodontists here in North Idaho, reuse brackets from one patient to another.
  • Wire quality… All of the orthodontists in North Idaho purchase quality archwires from reputable companies.
  • No Headgears…  I personally almost never use a headgear anymore. A nighttime headgear is still a very effective therapy, but requires tremendous cooperation by the patient. Herbst appliances require no cooperation, but can have tremendously negative effects on the lower front teeth.  I have found a way through skeletal anchorage to avoid both headgear and Herbst appliances in most cases. It requires no patient cooperation but also has no negative side effects on the lower front teeth. However, some orthodontists still prefer a headgear to correct class II bites, and that’s perfectly acceptable. They still work well if worn.
  • Extractions are no longer needed…  Certain bracket manufacturers, and some orthodontists that use their braces, will lead you to believe that extractions are antiquated and no longer needed. It is true that in almost all cases, all of the teeth can be fit in to the arch. The concern is where the teeth end up in the face. In our practice, we have upper and lower premolars removed in only 8% of our cases. In those few cases, extractions are recommended for two reasons, long-term stability, and esthetics. If front teeth are pushed out too far, the patient will not look good, periodontal health can be compromised, and teeth may be susceptible to going crooked again in the future.
  • Bracket placement…  In every orthodontic practice in North Idaho, the orthodontist does the precision bracket orientation on each tooth. It is required by Idaho State Board regulation.
  • Sterilization…  All of the orthodontic practices here in North Idaho use state-of-the-art, modern sterilization protocols. It is required by OSHA.