The benefits of orthodontic treatment extend beyond an improved bite and a beautiful smile. Well-aligned teeth boost your confidence and allow you to express yourself fully. More importantly, a stable bite prevents damage to the teeth and gingiva. It also alleviates undue pressure on the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and masticatory muscles, keeping them pain-free.
Malocclusion is recognized as one of the most significant oral health problems by the World Health Organization. According to one research, over nine million people in the US are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth.
Some of the common malocclusions include:
- Crowding of teeth
- Spacing between teeth
- Open bite
- Deep bite
Malocclusion or crooked teeth are unaesthetic and a common source of social anxiety. Beyond aesthetics, crooked teeth make it difficult to maintain good oral hygiene. Misaligned teeth make it difficult to clean your teeth properly. This leads to all sorts of health problems.
Before we jump into the various benefits of getting your teeth straightened, let us get an overview of some of the problems associated with misaligned teeth.
- Social embarrassment
- TMJ disorders
- Difficulty in chewing
- Difficulty in speaking
- Difficulty in maintaining good oral hygiene
- Bad breath
- Periodontal problems
- Heart problems
With such implications, the importance of properly aligned teeth cannot be understated. As the award-winning Omaha, NE Family orthodontist Dr. Weber states, orthodontic treatment can change how patients feel about themselves. Let us look at the six health benefits of straight teeth.
Easy to Maintain Good Oral hygiene
Poor oral hygiene can lead to several oral diseases. Misaligned teeth create areas in the oral cavity where your brush or dental floss cannot reach. This leads to plaque accumulation, calculus deposits, and tooth decay. It may also be the cause of halitosis (bad breath).
Your oral health is a window to your overall health. Usually, the body's immune system is strong enough to fight off oral bacteria. But in severe conditions, oral bacteria have been known to increase the incidence of:
- Cardiac events
- Pregnancy and birth complications
Orthodontic treatment serves to straighten your teeth which makes them easier to clean. Good oral hygiene reduces the incidence of dental caries and periodontal diseases. It will also eliminate foul odor, making your social interactions more pleasant. A clean, perfect smile will also boost your confidence.
Investing in orthodontic treatment now will save you a lot of pain and money in dental bills in the long run.
Protection of Teeth
Misaligned or crooked teeth do not occlude properly, exerting excessive force on some teeth. This results in premature wear or chipping of the teeth. Not to mention, the abnormal forces are often transmitted to the jaws and TMJ, causing headaches, pain and tenderness in facial muscles, and TMJ pain.
Orthodontic treatment will straighten your teeth and allow you to bite correctly. You'll be able to chew your meal properly. A stable occlusion also means that forces will be equally distributed amongst all teeth, relieving you of the TMJ and muscle pain mentioned earlier.
Good Periodontal Health
Misaligned teeth can lead to periodontal issues. These periodontal diseases mainly result from all the food and plaque accumulation in the teeth and gums. If not addressed, it can lead to losing the tooth's gingival and bone support. This can be a very painful condition and can even result in tooth loss.
Another cause of periodontal issues can be gingival pocketing that results from flared teeth. Food and microorganisms accumulate in these pockets, causing inflammation and other periodontal problems.
One study found that 74.1% of patients seeking orthodontic treatment also presented with some periodontal issues.
Straightening your teeth will allow you to clean the microorganisms leading to periodontal issues. Orthodontic treatment will also eliminate the gingival pockets that develop around the misaligned teeth.
As a result, you will have healthier gums. Healthier gums mean better support for your teeth.
Boost your Self Esteem
Nothing is more embarrassing than having to cover your face while smiling or laughing. Crooked teeth can be a source of social anxiety and can hurt your confidence. This is especially true for school-going children who may be teased or bullied for their crooked teeth. Teenagers are also particularly conscious about their appearance.
Low self-esteem can further lead to depression and other mental conditions.
Getting your orthodontic treatment done will give you your ideal smile and restore confidence. Patients report being happier after ortho treatment than before their treatment. Another research concluded a significant improvement in patients' self-esteem upon treatment completion.
Ortho treatment will make you more comfortable in your everyday social interactions. It will allow you to interact better with your peers. This improved confidence will also be reflected in better grades and better performance at work.
Steer Clear of Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorders
Another significant adverse effect of misaligned teeth is TMJ disorders. An abnormal occlusion can lead to undue forces on the teeth, jaw, and TMJ. The patient may develop pain on one or both sides.
If the problem persists, the patient might develop a clicking sound along with difficulty and pain while chewing. Pain and tenderness may develop in your facial muscles as well in a condition known as TMPDS (temporomandibular pain and dysfunction syndrome). These TMJ disorders can also lead to headaches and earaches.
Ortho treatment restores your dentition to its correct state, relieving the pressure on the jaws and the TMJ. Restoring normal contacts between the opposing allows for a stable occlusion. This will result in pain relief, and the patient can experience a normal life.
As you can see, the complications of misaligned teeth exceed far beyond just aesthetics. Poorly aligned teeth affect many aspects of your everyday life. Whether it is difficulty in chewing or pain in the TMJ, crooked teeth lead to a plethora of problems. Fortunately, technological advancements have markedly improved the success rate of orthodontic treatment.
3D scans and software allow orthodontists to visualize your teeth better and aid in better treatment planning. These scans can also be used to simulate the expected results even before the treatment has begun. This means that patients can see what their smile may look like at the start of the treatment.
Advancements in orthodontics have made straightening teeth more accessible than ever. With the introduction of invisible orthodontics, patients no longer have to worry about unpleasing wires and brackets. An increasing number of patients are showing interest in ceramic braces and clear aligners to replace traditional metallic braces.