Orthodontic treatment has been practiced for ages. Egyptian mummies used metal bands wrapped around their teeth to perfect their smiles. Fortunately, we now have many options for improving alignment and advanced materials that are safe and effective. From traditional braces to clear aligners, overcrowded, crooked teeth and jaw alignment can be corrected and provide numerous benefits to your oral health and overall well-being.
Benefits of Straight Teeth
Malocclusion (misalignment) is a common dental problem, and in some cases, it can cause severe problems if not corrected. Having straight teeth is not only aesthetically pleasing – but it also improves your overall health and saves you money, stress, and discomfort. Typical benefits of straight teeth include:
Fewer Cavities: Straight teeth can significantly reduce your risk of developing cavities since they are easier to clean. When your teeth are crowded or crooked, the position of your teeth can make it harder to brush and floss properly. This often leads to tooth decay from the buildup of plaque in hard-to-reach areas.
Lower Risk of Gum Disease: When your teeth are easy to keep clean, you can prevent the development of gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis. These conditions can damage tissue and bone and result in receding gums and tooth loss.
Avoid Headaches and TMJ: Misaligned or crooked teeth can trigger TMJ issues due to grinding teeth and excessive stress on your jaw. As a result, you may suffer severe headaches and even neck pain. Teeth straightening can correct your bite and help reduce chronic TMJ pain and migraines.
Economical Over Time: Teeth that are either too widely spaced or crowded together can become red and inflamed, triggering many dental issues that will be costly to treat. Although teeth straightening procedures may cost you a few bucks up front, it is economical over time since your teeth will be much easier to brush and floss.
Better Digestions and Speech: Straight teeth help you chew more effectively, ensuring proper digestion. Straight teeth also improve speech impediments and positively impact school or work performance.
Improved Overall Health: While straight teeth provide a myriad of oral health benefits, they can also improve your overall health. By removing plaque and bacteria effectively, you can prevent toxins from entering your bloodstream and causing additional problems with related health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Straight and properly aligned teeth can help reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and other health complications that stem from dental health issues.
Orthodontic Treatment Options
If you’re ready to correct crooked or crowded teeth, you have several options to consider. Your dentist will evaluate your oral health and help you decide which treatment will work best for your needs. Generally, your dentist may recommend the following teeth straightening options:
- Braces work well for individuals with significant problems such as crossbites, underbites, or overbites.
- Clear Aligners look similar to a mouthguard and are removable. You will get a new set every two weeks until your teeth are fully aligned. To get the best results, you will need 18-30 custom-made aligners and a strong commitment to wearing them at least 22 hours a day.
- Ceramic braces come in the same shape and size as metal braces. They usually have clear or tooth-colored brackets, ensuring that they blend into your smile. If you prefer not to stand out, you can even get tooth-colored wires for better invisibility.
- Lingual braces are similar to metal braces, but the wires and brackets are placed on the inside of your teeth, ensuring that no one can see them.
What to Expect After Braces
Once your teeth are straightened into their ideal positions, you’ll want to do all you can to make sure your teeth stay that way! After orthodontic treatment, teeth naturally want to shift back into their original place. To prevent this, use a retainer to keep your smile straight while avoiding orthodontic relapse. Retainers are designed to fit comfortably, and eventually, you will only need to wear them at night while you sleep.
Reach out to your dentist and discover the best way for you to achieve a healthy, straight, beautiful smile. If you have had orthodontic treatment and found additional benefits, share them in the comments below!