Lock Lips, Not Braces This Valentine's Day

    From kissing to metal detectors: orthodontists dispel myths about braces
    and orthodontic treatment

    ST LOUIS, Jan. 23 /CNW/ -- Just in time for Valentine's Day, the American
Association of Orthodontists (AAO) sets the record straight on some of the
biggest myths surrounding braces and orthodontic treatment.  Currently more
than four million children and one million adults in North America wear
braces.  Below are the answers to some of the most popular -- and strange --
questions AAO members have received from their patients during the past year:

    If two people with braces kiss, can their braces become locked together?
    With today's smaller sleeker braces it is extremely difficult - almost
    impossible -- to lock braces while kissing.  Also, braces are not
    magnetic, which means any "attraction" felt is on the part of the wearers,
    so pucker up!

    Will my braces set off the metal detectors in the airport?
    You are cleared for takeoff - the lightweight materials used in braces
    will not affect metal detectors.

    Can braces rust?
    No. Today's braces are made of new stronger materials, like titanium
    alloy, and will not rust.

    Once braces are removed, my teeth will remain straight forever, right?
    Wrong. Teeth move throughout one's lifetime, therefore it is important to
    hold on to retainers and wear them as prescribed by your orthodontist to
    maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

    Will my braces interfere with radio signals or electronic devices?
    No. Radio-loving gadget fanatics can rest easy.

    Am I too old for braces?
    Absolutely not.  Healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age.  Currently
    one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. As people live longer and
    healthier lives, patients in their 60s, 70s and 80s are experiencing the
    benefits of orthodontic treatment.

    Can I play a musical instrument?
    Yes, that is if you could play a musical instrument before you got braces.

    Now that I have braces, can I still play sports?
    Yes, but be sure to wear a mouth guard.  Mouth guards are one of the least
    expensive pieces of protective equipment available. Not only can mouth
    guards save teeth, they may also protect against jaw fractures.  Mouth
    guards are advisable for anyone, whether they wear braces or not.

    Will braces increase my chance of being struck by lightening?
    No. With or without braces the chances of a lightening strike remain the
    same which, in the U.S. in any one year, according to
    nationalgeorgraphic.com, is one is 700,000.

    Will my braces attract unwarranted attention from fish?
    Scuba aficionados take heart:  there is no need to cancel your next dive.
    The small brackets used in today's braces, especially ceramic or
    tooth-colored brackets, will not attract attention from unsavory fish or
    sea life.
    For more information about orthodontics or for the names of AAO member
orthodontists in your area, visit http://www.braces.org.  Your dentist also
can provide recommendations on orthodontists near you.
    About the American Association of Orthodontists
    The AAO comprises 15,500 members in the United States, Canada and abroad.
Founded in 1900, the AAO supports research and education leading to quality
patient care and promotes increased public awareness of the need for and
benefits of orthodontic treatment.  Orthodontists are uniquely qualified to
correct improperly aligned teeth and jaws.  They receive an additional two to
three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper
way to align and straighten teeth.  Only those with this formal education may
call themselves "orthodontists," and only orthodontists are eligible for
membership in the AAO.

     Aimee DeVoll, 314-552-6744

     Pam Paladin, 314-993-1700, ext. 524

For further information:

For further information: Aimee DeVoll, +1-314-552-6744, 
adevoll@webershandwick.com, for American Association of Orthodontists; or Pam 
Paladin, of American Association of Orthodontists, +1-314-993-1700, ext. 524, 
ppaladin@aaortho.org Web Site: http://www.braces.org

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