There are many things you can do to improve your dental health, from regular checkups to a healthy diet, proper brushing, and quitting smoking. However, if you or your child were born with less than perfect teeth, you will require additional treatment to get the white, straight teeth you desire.
Over 4 million people in North America are undergoing orthodontic treatment right now. In fact, about 75 to 80% of the pre-teen and teen population will require braces. The good news is that braces can assist with a number of dental and smile woes, providing you with a perfect smile for life. Here’s how to decide if you need braces or not.
What are braces?
First, let’s take a look at braces. Orthodontic braces are a dental appliance used to bring your teeth into proper alignment. The appliance is affixed using metal brackets and wires. The wires are tightened and loosened to help move your teeth gently and progressively into the desired position over time.
In some cases, rubber bands are added to provide more tension for improved movement. The treatment can take months or even years depending on the condition of your teeth. The goal is to achieve a perfect bite and smile.
Why are braces important?
Braces are used for both functional and aesthetic reasons. They can correct bite issues such as overbite and underbite, and straighten your teeth to correct gaps and overlaps. Treatment is important because it provides not only straight teeth for an improved smile but also a healthy bite pattern and jaw, allowing you to bite and chew comfortably.
Children with misaligned teeth can develop issues speaking, which can require costly speech therapy. Identifying misalignment issues is important for children, as they will need to be corrected so they can develop proper speech patterns and form words correctly.
Braces provide aesthetically pleasing smiles to increase confidence and self-esteem. This, in turn, can help you maintain good mental health.
Do I need braces?
There are many reasons we might recommend braces, or you might request treatment yourself including:
1. Early loss of baby teeth
If you lost your baby teeth before your adult teeth were ready to come in, this can lead to growth and development issues.
2. Crowded, crooked teeth
This is a common complaint from people who are embarrassed by their smile, but it can also affect your bite and overall dental health.
3. Jaw issues
If your jaw shifts, there could be developmental issues with your teeth and jawline. Recessed or protruding jaws can be corrected with orthodontic treatment.
If you are constantly biting your cheeks or your teeth hit the roof of your mouth, you could have an alignment issue such as an overbite or underbite.
5. Difficulty chewing
If you have trouble chewing food, it could be due to an alignment issue with your teeth.
6. Mouth breathing
If you find you have to breathe through your mouth, you could have issues with your teeth or jaw.
When is the best time for diagnosis?
Children should see an orthodontist by around the age of seven if there are concerns that braces might be required. Adults, however, can seek orthodontic treatment at any time. Many people live with orthodontic issues for years before they decide to consult with a dental professional about treatment. You can set up a consultation with a dentist at any time to discuss your issues and smile challenges including:
1. Crooked teeth
Crooked teeth do not just affect the appearance of your smile. If left untreated, crooked teeth can interfere with your overall dental health. When teeth are not straight and properly spaced, it becomes hard to perform basic dental hygiene tasks.
This increases bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to gingivitis, cavities, gum disease, and eventually, require a root canal. Braces will shift your teeth even if it is just a few millimetres needed to separate teeth, or rotated a few degrees to have them facing in the right direction. Your orthodontist can customize for minimal or extensive realignment based on your needs.
2. Misaligned bite
Your teeth should be positioned with your lower teeth fitting snuggly beneath your upper teeth. If you have an underbite, where your lower jaw comes out in front of your upper teeth, or an underbite where your upper teeth are in front of your bottom teeth, this is a misaligned bite. In children, this can lead to many issues including improper speech development, difficulties biting and chewing, and self-esteem issues. If not corrected, a misaligned bite can lead to damaged teeth as well as decreased self-confidence and the risk of mental health issues.
3. Gaps between teeth
Gaps are common and can vary in their severity. They are usually not as risky as other orthodontic issues but can still cause difficulty chewing and speaking. As with any aesthetic issues, they can also negatively affect self-esteem. Braces will fill in the gaps and create a beautiful smile while ensuring you do not experience issues with eating, speaking or confidence.
4. Crowded teeth
Unlike gaps, crowded teeth can lead to other dental issues. This is because it makes it difficult to maintain proper dental hygiene. This can lead to cavities and gum disease. As with other smile challenges, crowded teeth can also have an impact on mental health. Braces will align your teeth and improve your bite while increasing self-confidence and overall physical health.
Are other treatments available?
Yes. Other orthodontic treatments like Invisalign® use customized, clear teeth aligners instead of traditional metal braces. They work in the same way as braces, gently shifting your teeth into place. Our patients love the aligners as they do the same work as braces but are barely noticeable.
They are also removable, allowing you to take out the aligner to eat, drink, brush your teeth, and clean the aligner. They are highly effective in providing a perfect smile and improved bite pattern.
For more information about braces for yourself or your child, call Treehouse Dental at (888) 588-1691 or contact us here.