Getting braces or other orthodontic procedures can be a major milestone in a person's life, and there are many possible reasons to have them done.
For starters, dental misalignment isn't just a cosmetic issue; certain problems can make it difficult to brush or floss properly and can ultimately lead to tooth decay. Keeping gums healthy is essential for reducing the buildup of the plaque and bacteria that can contribute to heart disease.
What’s more, braces can correct jaw alignment to help prevent headaches, biting and chewing problems, earaches, speech problems and issues with the jaw joint.
You also can’t underestimate the cosmetic benefits of straighter teeth. A healthy-looking smile leads to confidence and high self esteem and also influences how people think of you.
People who have the following dental characteristics might consider braces for both cosmetic and health reasons.
An underbite is the condition in which one's lower teeth extend further than the upper teeth, causing the upper teeth to sit behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed. Severe cases can even cause face distortion.
Gaps of air between teeth are known as dental spacing, and they can be caused by missing teeth or can be strictly a cosmetic issue. Spacing, or diastema, can also be corrected using dental bands or direct dental bonding.
Protrusion occurs when either the upper front teeth extend too far forward or the lower teeth are not extending far enough forward.
Dental crowding takes place when there is not enough room for teeth to erupt from the gum. Individuals with a small or underdeveloped jaw can be afflicted by this condition. Ill-fitting dental fillings, crowns, retainers, appliances or braces as well as severe jaw injury can also cause crowding.
With a crossbite, a person's upper teeth rest inside lower teeth on one or both sides of the jaw, which can cause tooth stratification or misaligned jaw growth. Depending on the severity of the issue, crossbites can also be treated by quad helix, clear aligner therapy, removable plates or an orthodontic mask.
In an overbite, the upper teeth extend over the lower teeth, sometimes causing the lower teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth. Trauma can develop if the condition doesn't naturally fix itself as the child grows.
Openbites can be caused by thumb sucking or tongue thrusting and cause the upper and lower teeth to not overlap at all, which can impact chewing. Correcting this problem can reduce the risk of tooth decay and also help relieve excess pressure on the jaw joint.
Dental midlines that don't match can be caused when the back bite doesn't properly align.
Of course, it’s best to talk with your dentist and an orthodontist to determine whether you need braces, when you need them and what type would work best.