I not only spend my days straightening teeth, but also correcting a lot of misconceptions I hear when it comes to orthodontics. Here are my top five myth-busters:

Myth: Orthodontics is only for children and teens.

Fact: Nationwide, one out of three patients currently in orthodontic care is over the age of 20. In my practice, adults make up more than half of all my patients. Since Invisalign is available, adults who didn’t want to wear braces are now getting orthodontic treatment using these clear aligners to give them a more professional look. In fact, the fastest growing segment receiving orthodontic care is adults over the age of 30.

Myth: Invisalign doesn’t work for people with really crooked teeth.

Fact: If patients have healthy bone and good calcium metabolism, I can treat them with Invisalign—regardless of how complex the case. Currently, I use Invisalign on 75 percent of all my patients and eventually that number will be 100 percent.

Myth: Orthodontic care is primarily cosmetic.

Fact: The reality is while most people seek us out for cosmetic reasons, it has been clearly established that a straight set of teeth and a healthy arc of closure (how things come together) help prolong the health and function of the teeth. Orthodontics reduces unbalanced forces that damage the teeth and bone that hold them. Plus, straight teeth are easier to keep clean than crooked teeth, particularly when there is a lot of crowding.

Myth: Children need to wait to get braces or Invisalign until they have all their permanent teeth.

Fact: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children are evaluated when they are seven years old, or even as young as three or four if they have a cross bite. The earlier a child is evaluated, the more likely you are to find a course of treatment that will have a better outcome or a lighter burden of care. Sometimes an interceptive phase is recommended, not to realign the teeth but to help alter the jaw growth pattern in a positive direction.

Myth: Orthodontic care is expensive.

Fact: Orthodontic care today, adjusted for inflation, is about 30 percent of what it cost in the ‘60s and ‘70s. (Back then, braces cost about the same as buying a brand new Ford Mustang.) Today, the average fee is approximately $5,500 to $6,000, but with the help of insurance, it is one of the best investments in terms of improving health and self-esteem.