While we all understand that straight teeth are considered more attractive than crooked teeth, it’s a mistake to assume that orthodontia is done for strictly cosmetic reasons. While Premier Care Dental Group includes orthodontics among our first-rate cosmetic dentistry offerings, the benefits of straight teeth and even bites go well beyond a smile, especially for younger people.
Risks Addressed by Orthodontia
Crooked teeth can have numerous oral health consequences, some more serious than others. These include:
- Teeth grinding – This is a very common oral health issue that can be caused by poorly aligned teeth. Left unchecked, grinding can dramatically wear down teeth and once adult teeth are gone, they’re gone for good.
- Mouth breathing – People with very crooked teeth are likely to sleep with their mouths open. This can dry out the mouth and significantly increase the chances of gum disease and, in extreme cases with children, actually change the shape of their face. Moreover, nose breathing is always preferable because the nose acts as a filter, improving the quality of the air we breathe and preventing a variety of health issues.
- Sleep Apnea – While people often associate this common but insidious problem with snoring that annoys others, it’s also a problem for the sleeping person because apnea interrupts sleep, leading to a host of health problems arising from insufficient sleep, with fatigue being only the most immediate. It’s a problem that tends to worsen as we age and can increase the risk of numerous life-or-death emergencies such as heart attacks or strokes.
- Speech Problems – Crooked teeth, gaps, overbites, and other issues that can be corrected with orthodontia can cause speech pathologies, including lisps, unintentional whistling, and difficulty properly enunciating.
- TMJ Disorder – This common problem relating to the temporomandibular joint has multiple causes but the symptoms always involve some level of pain and discomfort.
- Difficulty Eating – In very bad cases, misaligned teeth can make it hard to chew food properly with possible ramifications for nutrition and self-esteem in social settings.
Younger patients generally benefit the most from the more traditional wire braces that many of us associate with growing up. Patients wear them 24 hours a day and, while not being able to remove them brings some inconveniences, it also ensures that patients wear them. Removable devices rely on the willpower of the patient to leave the device in place the vast majority of the time.
Crucially, braces also allow an orthodontist the ability to fashion them so that they can correct more complex problems. They remain the tried and true approach and, with clear braces now the standard, they are not as noticeable as they once were.
Getting braces while patients with adult teeth are as young as possible will tend to minimize the social stress because they will be more in sync with youngsters their own age. With luck and good timing, they may be off before young people get too close to their college years.
Clear aligners have become an extremely popular alternative to braces. The main attraction is that they are all but unnoticeable. They also arguably make routine oral care easier because they are removed before brushing and eating. The drawback is that they may not be able to correct more complex problems. Also, as mentioned above, they may tempt patients to leave them out for too long and studies show that close to a third of patients yield too often to those temptations.* Clear aligners tend to work best for older patients with less dramatic tooth alignment issues.
Crooked Teeth? Head Straight to Premier Care Dental Group
If you are interested in orthodontia for yourself or your children, our friendly and gentle staff at Premier Care Dental Groups looks forward to seeing patients from Pasadena or anywhere in the San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles area. Call us at the number on our screen or contact us electronically by filling in the appointment form on this page.