In this sentence "usar aparelho" is clearly "wear braces" (for dental care).
If it had at least an extra article, it could mean "a device".
Beforehand "aparelho" was used as "device" - for me that is a phone, tool or the like. So how come now it is "braces"? This would make a rather good joke in a cartoon...;-) But seriously, the hints and the usage of some words are rather ridiculous sometimes.
If the speaker meant device/equipment, it's likely that an article would have been used (as in "Eu uso um aparelho"). If the defined article is used (i.e. "Eu uso o aparelho"), we would also expect some kind of context explaining which device/equipment we are talking about.
Without any article, I think the sentence can really be braces only. (However, I'm not a native.)
Is this sentence only "I wear braces" (on my teeth)?
Can it be something like "I use braces" (to shore up the building. ) or " I use a device"?
If it had at least an article, such as "eu uso um aparelho", it could take the "a device" meaning along with braces.
Braces also indicate the orthotics used by physically challenged individuals...in that context "I use braces" would be perfectly correct grammar.
'I have braces' would be used for when stating you have the dental apparatus, whereas 'I use braces' would be used more for when one uses a brace or braces, to assist with walking.
When we say "alguém usa aparelho" we mean that thing used on the teeth (braces). Suspensório is a clothing (suspender)
Because it's "a device on your teeth", I suppose :-) Whereas 'braces' are plural in English, it's not necessarily that way in other languages. In Norwegian, e.g. (which is my native tongue), the word would be "regulering", which is also singular and actually means 'regulation' (meaning that you are 'regulating' the position of your teeth).
Agreed. It is hard for non-natives to find out about these context-related issues. When a native hears “eu uso aparelho”, he automatically thinks of “braces” as no further context is provided. We only get this by constantly using the language.