Braces have helped millions of people get the smile they’ve always dreamed of. We love seeing people come into our office, full of anticipation and brimming with all kinds of questions. It is a great journey that we get to enjoy with our patients because after their braces have been removed, they are full of confidence and with a smile full of straight teeth that lights up a room.
The questions we answer when it comes to braces can be very typical, but also sometimes creative. One of the questions that was recently asked was: “Will my braces attract magnetic objects?”
People sometimes have this idea in their heads that once they get braces, their mouths are going to be magnetized. That metal objects are going to suddenly fly through the air, drawn by magnetic force, to stick to the metal braces on their teeth. We can probably thank cartoon shows for this!
The good news is – Braces are not magnetized. That’s the short answer.
Braces consist of brackets that are affixed to the teeth, and they are usually made of stainless steel or a porcelain composite. Stainless steels are iron-based alloys and are an excellent material for braces because they are very corrosion resistant. This is necessary because of all the saliva and food that could erode other inferior materials rather quickly.
Stainless steel is also great for braces because it’s commonly accepted that stainless steel is non-magnetic.
However, this is not strictly true, and the real answer is a bit more complicated. The degree of magnetic response relies on the microstructure of the steel and is based on whether or not the steel is austenitic or ferritic, each of which exhibits a different atomic arrangement. While it’s not necessary for us to get into it all here and now, the short answer is that braces are generally austenitic and therefore non-magnetic.
Of course, if you decide to go for porcelain brackets, you don’t need to worry about magnetism at all!
But either way, you don’t need to worry about your mouth suddenly magnetizing once you have braces.
What you do have to worry about when you have braces is dedicating time for proper oral hygiene and attending all of your orthodontic appointments! We ask our patients before we begin whether or not they are ready for the commitment that comes with braces. Because brushing after every meal and flossing between the brackets and wires is a huge part of making sure things go smoothly, and is a much more pressing concern than magnets.
So, there are no bad questions when it comes to braces, and truthfully there really aren’t that many concerns. It does take a little while to take used to them (usually about a week) and you will have to take time out of your life to get to your appointments and practice extra oral hygiene. But that’s about it. It’s really a small price to pay for the smile of your dreams.
If you have any questions (at all!), call our orthodontists for a consultation to see if braces are the right fit for you.
Dr. Lesley Williams is a Certified Specialist in Orthodontics. She grew up in Victoria, BC with her parents and two sisters.
After being awarded her Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree in 1989, Dr. Williams then spent six years as a dentist in general practice before deciding that she wanted to further her education by undertaking three extra years of highly specialized training in orthodontics. With her Masters in Science (Orthodontics) degree under her belt, she went on to sit the Orthodontic Specialty Fellowship exams through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. To date, her status as an active leader in the orthodontic profession means that she holds the following qualifications and positions:
- Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
- Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics
- Examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and the American Board of Orthodontics.
- Former president of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (representing 2900 orthodontists from the 4 western Canadian provinces and 8 western American states).
- Active member of the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists.