11th January 2016
Why an orthodontist can give you more than just straighter teeth
If you’re currently considering orthodontics – teeth straightening – treatment, it’s likely that your biggest motivator is that you want a better, straighter smile. It’s usual to think of improving your smile in cosmetic terms as it’s such an important part of your appearance and a feature on which most of us are judged, especially when we meet someone for the first time.
Having a straighter smile can have huge benefits in terms of improving self-esteem, confidence, and facial body image. What you may not realise if you have yet to visit an orthodontist is how important a straighter smile can be for your long-term health.
Can orthodontics help improve my bite?
At its best, orthodontic treatment will help you have a better bite and occlusion, i.e. the teeth of your lower jaw will fit together properly with the corresponding teeth of your upper jaw when your jaws are closed.
Malocclusion – when your teeth don’t fit together properly – can be caused by and lead to a number of problems such as tooth loss, drifting teeth, teeth grinding and wear, TMJ, gum disease and more. If your teeth currently meet in the wrong places, they may experience forces when you bite that cause damage to the structure of specific teeth.
Poorly aligned teeth are also associated with health problems such as jaw pain, neck ache, headaches, and backache. Gum disease tends to be more prevalent with malocclusion too, and has been associated with health problems such as heart disease, cancer and strokes.
Unfortunately, we tend to find that people only seek the advice of an orthodontist about addressing malocclusion for health reasons when they are regularly in pain, and yet many conditions associated with malocclusion don’t cause pain until they’ve reached an advanced stage.
This is why it’s so important to attend regular routine dental examinations and hygienist visits or to see an orthodontist who also offers general dental services. By checking your teeth regularly, your dentist will be able to spot malocclusion issues before they escalate or cause you discomfort.
Some brace and aligner systems – especially fast-acting braces – are more suitable for cosmetic purposes. They’ll give you the straighter smile you crave but may not be fully able to address malocclusion issues. Other braces can treat both the appearance and function of your teeth.
Although there’s loads of information on the internet about orthodontics, we would always urge you to talk to an experienced orthodontist about your individual case to find out which brace system would be right for you. You may be surprised at how far-reaching the benefits could be when you have your teeth straightened.