Scared of Braces? Overcome the Fear with these Tips

If the thought of getting metal brackets and wires attached to the front of your teeth to pull and straighten your smile makes you cringe, you’re not alone. Up to 20% of Americans avoid the dentist due to fear. Here’s why you might be scared of braces and some tips to help you overcome your phobia:

Why are people scared of braces?

The pain. The pulling. The tightening. If you’ve heard the horror stories from your parents, friends or relatives, then you might be thinking that the same things will happen to you. The fear of pain from all the maintenance of braces is a major culprit. But are those same reasons still as valid today as they were in years past? 

We asked Dr. Thomas Redd, DDS, on what has changed in today’s braces.

“In years past, orthodontics involved more bands (rings around the teeth) and just the process of fitting and pushing the bands in between teeth to get them on was an uncomfortable process. Then, along came brackets, which are just glued to the front of the tooth. This allowed for less extractions of permanent teeth as well as a much more comfortable initial appointment. Things got even better after that! From our friends in NASA, we found new metals for wires that would work longer, with less pressure exerted—and they move teeth faster!” 

If the process has improved, why are people still scared of braces? Well, old thoughts die hard and misery loves company. People love to tell their friends how bad it is (or was)! You also may still experience some discomfort from the metal brackets rubbing your cheeks, and tightening your wires can cause pressure.

How can you relieve some stress about getting braces?
  • Share your fears with the orthodontic staff. Discussing your concerns will help your orthodontist adapt treatment to your needs.
  • Listen to music. Music will not only help you take your mind off the procedure, it will also help the time go faster and can calm your nerves.
  • Bring a friend or companion. The added support of a loved one will aid in calming you before and during your appointment.