A lot of people think of orthodontics as a cosmetic treatment. And while braces and aligners can certainly make your smile look better, the benefits of straighter teeth go far beyond what you see in the mirror.
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, and the team at Freedom Orthodontics in Cedar Park, Texas, want patients to get the full picture. If you’re wondering what other benefits braces and aligners can offer, here are five advantages you should know about.
Improving the way your smile looks is probably the most obvious benefit of having orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth. But aesthetics is about more than the way your smile looks to others. It’s about how you feel about yourself, too.
Having a smile that looks beautiful and healthy can dramatically increase your confidence and self-esteem. There’s a good reason for that: Research shows a person’s smile is the most memorable feature to the people they meet. When your smile looks great, you know you’re making a great impression at work, at school, and in other social and professional settings.
Crooked or poorly aligned teeth tend to have a lot of odd angles and nooks where food particles and sticky plaque can collect. These areas are notoriously difficult to reach with regular brushing and flossing, and that means they're also areas where cavities are more likely to develop.
As decay continues, it can eat all the way to the interior part of your tooth, dramatically increasing the likelihood that your tooth will break or that you’ll need a root canal in your future. Orthodontics aligns teeth so brushing and flossing can remove food particles and decrease the risk of decay.
Cavities aren’t the only oral health problem that’s more likely with crooked teeth. Hard-to-reach plaque deposits become harbors for bacteria that cause gum disease — a leading cause of adult tooth loss.
When plaque and bacteria aren’t removed on a daily basis, infection slowly moves down your tooth surface, all the way to the root pocket. Over time, your tooth weakens and eventually falls out. Orthodontics improves your ability to get rid of plaque and bacteria for healthier gums and a decreased risk of periodontal (gum) disease.
Your teeth are designed to work together in matched pairs — each upper tooth aligning with its “partner” bottom tooth. This natural matching evenly distributes force and pressure on your teeth when you bite and chew.
If your teeth aren’t properly aligned, your bite becomes unbalanced. Force and pressure are no longer equally distributed, and your tooth surfaces can soon become worn down, increasing the risk of decay and other tooth damage. Orthodontics works to restore normal bite balance, which also plays a role in #5 below.
When your bite is unbalanced, it’s not just your teeth that suffer. Excess and uneven strain takes a toll on your jaw joints, too. Over time, you may develop a chronic condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), along with painful inflammation inside your jaw joints.
Excess jaw strain can also lead to nighttime grinding and clenching, two habits that dramatically increase your risk of tooth wear, tooth breakage, and headaches. By realigning your bite, you can reduce these risks while improving your smile aesthetics at the same time.
Most people complete orthodontic treatment in 18-36 months — a short investment of time in exchange for a lifetime of major benefits. To learn how orthodontics can help you, call our office, or request an appointment online today.