Straight Teeth Provide More Than A Beautiful Smile
At Burke & Redford Orthodontists, we pride ourselves on shaping beautiful smiles. However, the benefits of straight teeth are much more than just cosmetic. There are also significant health and social benefits related to straight teeth and an attractive smile.
In this article, we will examine the health benefits related to straight teeth. We will also discuss some of the issues that straight teeth can address or alleviate. We will look at some of the social benefits of straight teeth. Finally, we will discuss the financial benefit of addressing orthodontic issues earlier in life.
1: Reduces Tooth Decay
When teeth are crooked or out of alignment, they are more difficult to keep clean. Even in patients with good brushing and flossing habits, crooked teeth provide more places for plaque to grow and hide. And, as we all know, plaque leads to tooth decay and cavities.
2: Keeps Gums Healthy
As mentioned above, crooked teeth can lead to increased plaque. Aside from causing cavities, plaque can also affect the gums by causing inflammation and infection. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and is indicated by red, swollen, or bleeding gums.
If gingivitis is not addressed, it can progress to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. At this stage, patients risk losing their teeth because the bone surrounding the teeth weakens to the point where it cannot keep the teeth stable. Gum disease has also been tied to serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
3: Eliminates Uneven Wear on Teeth
Teeth that are out of alignment can lead to bite problems (malocclusions). When this happens, biting down can put extra stress and pressure on certain teeth. As a result, this can cause enamel loss, uneven wear, shortening of teeth, and teeth fractures. These teeth will then need to be treated with fillings, veneers, or crowns to restore their original shape and appearance.
4: Improves Chewing and Digestion
As mentioned above, orthodontic issues often manifest as bite problems, which can be associated with difficulty chewing. This can be very frustrating for a patient. Additionally, if food is not chewed properly, digestive issues can arise, such as indigestion, gas, and not getting enough nutrients from food.
5: Improves Speech
The teeth play an important role in speech. When teeth are out of alignment, the result can be a speech impediment. For example, a large gap between the front teeth (diastema) or a serious overbite or open bite can lead to a lisp or a whistling noise when trying to pronounce “s” or “th” sounds. Straightening teeth can result in clearer speech. If a child is experiencing speech difficulties, it may be worth having the child evaluated by an orthodontist to see if misaligned teeth or jaws are contributing to the problem.
6: Prevents Injuries
Protruding front teeth (called an overjet) can be easily injured, especially if a child is playing contact sports such as soccer. Getting hit in the face by a ball could result in these teeth getting chipped, cracked, or even knocked out. Although sports mouthguards can help, the best solution is to correct the overjet with orthodontic treatment, including braces or Invisalign.
7: Helps with Sleep Apnea
In some cases, recessed jaws can contribute to sleep apnea. In addition to causing sleep difficulties, sleep apnea can have significant effects on one’s overall health. Correcting bite issues can reduce these problems. In these cases, braces and corrective jaw surgery can help.
8: Increases Confidence and Self-Esteem
Although we have focused on the many health benefits of having straight teeth, the social and mental health benefits of an attractive smile cannot be overstated. If someone is embarrassed by how their teeth look, they may smile less or hide their smile. By correcting these issues, our patients often experience a boost in their self-esteem and confidence. As a result, they tend to smile more, become more outgoing, and have an easier time socially.
In addition, wearing braces is quite common in grade school, middle school, and high school. This is a stage when many of their peers are also wearing braces, so it makes undergoing orthodontic treatment feel normal and accepted to our younger patients.
9: Improved Job Prospects
There has been considerable research about the importance of first impressions in dating and job interviews. An attractive smile was consistently rated as one of the first things potential employers notice. According to a study in the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics, people with an ideal smile (i.e., straight, white teeth) were perceived as being more intelligent and had more luck finding a job than people with crooked teeth and bite issues.
10: Saves Money Later in Life
One of the benefits of interceptive orthodontics (early orthodontic treatment) is that orthodontists can achieve results in children between the ages of 7 and 11 that may not be possible in adults. This is because a child’s jaw is still growing and developing. As a result, our doctors can use various orthodontic appliances (such as bonded and banded expanders) to widen the upper jaw, which can correct many bite problems that may require surgical treatment if done in adulthood. When these issues are addressed earlier in life, children will be able to forego expensive orthodontic treatment or jaw surgery as adults.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children visit an orthodontist by the age of 7 to have their teeth and bite evaluated to identify any developing issues. By seeking early orthodontic treatment, many serious oral health issues can be addressed more easily and with less expense.
To schedule a free consultation, contact Burke & Redford Orthodontists in Temecula or Lake Elsinore by calling our main office at (951) 699-8011 or fill out the consultation form on our website.