During an orthodontic consultation, I thoroughly explain the options, discuss the desired results and outline how we can best obtain a beautiful, healthy smile. There are, however, always some questions patients may wonder about but do not ask.
Will I have a lisp or speak differently?
With traditional braces patients almost never have a lisp unless they have a tongue habit that pre-exists.
And with Invisalign clear aligners I only had two patients out of 2,000 who said they noticed a lisp at the beginning of treatment, but it went away. Because the aligners are only three-quarters of a millimeter thick and follow the contour of the teeth, they won’t affect your speech.
Some of the older style retainers with large plastic palates sometimes can cause a lisp, but we don’t use those retainers in my practice.
Can braces cause me to have bad breath?
There are three different types of bad breath. The first is caused by food debris in the mouth, so poor hygiene can cause bad breath and braces make it a little harder to clean your teeth. The second is caused by an infection or food caught down in the tonsils and the third type comes from odor circulating in the body from the foods you eat, so in these cases braces don’t cause bad breath.
As long as you have good hygiene and clean your teeth regularly, braces will not cause bad breath.
Will my lips be more dry and cracked?
If your front teeth are protrusive and stick out and you are unable to close your lips over the braces, your lips may get dry and cracked. Also some patients have a habit of licking their lips, which removes the natural body oils and causes dryness. If the patient is able to close his or her lips over their teeth and refrains from excessively licking their lips, they will not experience lips that are more dry or cracked.
What about kissing with braces? It is always a great anecdotal story where two people with braces are kissing and get their braces hooked. Although I have heard this story, I have never had anyone tell me first-hand (in 35 years in practice) there were any issues kissing with braces.