People with crooked teeth or incorrect bites will often become self-conscious about their smile, leading them to smile with their lips closed, cover their mouths with their hands when laughing, or speak up less when amongst strangers in an effort to hide their teeth. A beautiful straight smile can relieve that self-consciousness and allow patients to laugh, smile, and speak with confidence.
Better Oral Health
If teeth are crowded or misaligned, it can be more difficult to brush and floss them thoroughly. This can lead to cavities, unsightly staining, bone loss, and/or gum disease, making a difficult situation even worse. After orthodontic treatment, patients can easily reach all the surfaces of their teeth when brushing or flossing, helping to ensure that their beautiful smile stays healthy for life.
Improved General Health
The health of the mouth can impact the entire body. The risk of gum disease is increased by having crowded or crooked teeth as the bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and create inflammation and secondary infections. A misaligned bite can create difficulty in biting and chewing food, negatively affecting your overall health and nutrition. Straight teeth can help alleviate these issues.
Better Sleep & Breathing
Most people are unaware that the position of the lower jaw directly impacts the ability to breathe freely. In addition, the width of the upper jaw and palate influences the ability to breath through the nose. Orthodontics can have a positive impact on both these areas of the airway.
Teeth that are not aligned properly often experience uneven stresses and forces when chewing or biting, eventually leading to worn down and damaged teeth. In addition, a severe overbite can increase the risk of tooth and lip damage while playing sports like soccer, basketball, or netball.
Teeth are a key component in the formation of the many sounds we make when speak. Misaligned teeth can make it more difficult to correctly pronounce certain sounds, causing lisping or whistling. Patients with open bites and tongue thrusts can also suffer from speech problems. Braces can align the teeth to their optimal position, allowing the lips, teeth, and tongue to work correctly when speaking, reducing speech impediments, and boosting confidence.
Badly aligned teeth are also at much higher risk of damage if patients tend to grind their teeth at night. While emotional factors or stress often play a role in teeth grinding, a misaligned bite can also cause unintentional teeth grinding by creating interferences and slides within the bite. Prolonged teeth grinding or bad bites may lead to increased pressure on the temporomandibular joints, also known as the TMJs, which in turn may create jaw pain, muscle & neck pain, and headaches.
Orthodontic treatment can begin as early as age 6. Certain conditions, like crowding, may be easier to address as the teeth are still developing and the jaw is still growing.
If the dental arch is too small to fit all of the teeth, early treatment can help to make it possible for the permanent teeth to come in to a better position. Early treatment can also prevent the need for tooth removal at a later stage.
Early treatment takes advantage of the fact that a child's jaw is still growing. A device called a palatal expander may be used to expand the child's upper dental arch. Once the arch is the correct size, there is a better chance that the adult teeth will come in to a more ideal position.
With early treatment, further treatment may be required later, but it may be possibly shorter and less involved.
Early treatment does not apply to all orthodontic problems. Two conditions that early treatment may help are crossbites and protruding front teeth. A crossbite can cause the jaws to grow unevenly. Front teeth that stick out may be fractured or injured in an accident, such as a fall.