You may be happy with the way your teeth look and think you don’t need braces. Or perhaps you’ve just decided it’s okay to live with crooked teeth.
Too many people think that orthodontic treatment is only about appearance. But having straight teeth is actually good for your oral health, in addition to giving you a better-looking smile.
Let’s take a look at how orthodontics might benefit you or your child, and some of today’s options for getting straighter teeth.
What Conditions Are Treated by Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting misaligned or crooked teeth. Your dentist might recommend orthodontic treatment for one or more of these conditions:
- Malocclusion—a bad bite caused by crowded, protruding or crooked teeth
- Teeth out of alignment
- Jaws that do not meet properly
What Problems Are Caused by Crooked Teeth?
Many people seek orthodontic treatment hoping that straighter teeth will improve their appearance.
But crooked teeth can also affect your overall oral health in a number of ways, according to the American Dental Association:
- Oral hygiene is more difficult. It’s often harder to brush and floss correctly when teeth are not correctly aligned. Crowded teeth make it harder to clean the entire surface area of each tooth.
- An improper bite may interfere with chewing or speech.
- Poorly aligned teeth may increase your risk of tooth decay or gum disease.
- If your teeth are crooked or crowded, you may experience abnormal wear of tooth enamel.
- People with crooked teeth may have an increased risk of jaw problems.
How Do Braces Work?
While orthodontics are most commonly prescribed for children and teens, adults may also be good candidates.
- Orthodontic appliances—both Invisalign® and traditional braces—work by exerting gentle pressure that slowly moves teeth into their proper position.
- Braces are typically worn for 1 to 3 years.
- Traditional braces are made of three components:
- Brackets which are attached to each tooth
- Bonding material to attach the bracket to the tooth
- Archwire— a thin metal wire that attaches brackets to one another
- After braces are removed, a retainer is used to gently hold the teeth in the correct position.
Is Invisalign® Right for You?
While traditional braces are the most commonly prescribed treatment for crooked teeth, they are also clearly visible, leading some patients to avoid having their teeth corrected.
Invisalign® tooth aligners are a more recent treatment option and are mostly invisible.
- Invisalign® includes clear aligners, custom designed for each individual patient, and tiny fasteners attached to the teeth.
- Unlike traditional braces which can only be removed by a dentist, Invisalign® aligners are removable, so the patient must be more careful to wear them as prescribed.
- If you wear braces, you may be advised to avoid foods like popcorn, which may get stuck. Because Invisalign® is removed for eating, you may have more freedom to eat or drink whatever you like.
- Invisalign® wearers should brush after every meal or snack before putting the appliance back in.
- Brushing and flossing can be somewhat challenging while wearing traditional braces. Because Invisalign® is removable, oral hygiene is typically easier.
- Many patients find Invisalign® to be more comfortable than traditional braces.
Do you or your child need orthodontic treatment? Is Invisalign® the right option for you?
Contact Excel Dental in Ozark, MO to set up an appointment. Drs. Davis or Matthews will recommend the best option for getting straighter teeth so you can Smile Healthy!