Properly aligned, straightened teeth allow children to chew, bite, sleep, and speak more effectively. In addition, a straight smile improves attitude and boosts confidence.
There are several types of malocclusion including overbite, underbite, crossbite, and overcrowding. Each of these alignment problems negatively impacts the functionality and appearance of the teeth.
Here is a brief overview of some of the main disorders associated with teeth that are not properly aligned:
Periodontitis – Periodontitis or gum disease begins with a bacterial infection. Crooked teeth are hard to effectively clean, which means that debris, plaque, and bacteria can build up in hard-to-reach areas. Straight teeth are much easier to clean and are therefore at less risk of contracting gum disease.
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMJ) - Crooked teeth can lead to improper jaw alignment, which in turn causes a painful condition known as TMJ. Severe headaches, jaw pain, lockjaw, and grinding of teeth are symptoms of this debilitating disorder.
Tooth injury – Straight teeth create a strong wall, which means injuries are less likely to occur. Crooked teeth are weaker and often protrude, making them far more vulnerable to external injury.
Uneven wear – Improperly aligned teeth cause some of the teeth to work harder than others when biting and chewing. Straight teeth share the workload evenly, meaning less risk of injury and wear.
Teeth can be straightened using either traditional braces or clear retainer-like braces. Traditional braces are affixed to the teeth until proper alignment is achieved. The brackets and archwires are tightened regularly by the dentist and removed when treatment is complete.
Clear retainer-like braces are fully removable and are used where the malocclusion is less severe and the teeth need to move a shorter distance. These trays are replaced every few weeks for the duration of the treatment, and have proven to be effective for straightening teeth.
If you have questions about orthodontics and straightening teeth, please contact our office.