Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of poorly positioned teeth or jaws. Unfortunately misaligned teeth and bites are a common problem. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists notes that around 50% of Americans can benefit from orthodontic treatment.
This is because orthodontic treatment does multiple things for your smile. While many people associate straight teeth as being the primary benefit of orthodontics, orthodontic treatment is far more than a cosmetic treatment. Ultimately, teeth that have been treated by an orthodontist function better, have a decreased risk of dental problems, and are generally more healthy overall. Here are some of the most important things that orthodontic treatment does for your smile:
Aligns Your Teeth
Many people are aware of the fact that orthodontic treatment straightens teeth. Whether metal braces or clear aligners are used, both orthodontic methods are designed to apply constant, gentle pressure to encourage the teeth to move in a variety of ways. Orthodontic treatment straightens the teeth by moving them forward, backward, sideways, up, or down and even rotates them so they are in the best position.
Malocclusion means “bad bite” and it is used to describe a range of bite problems, including: open bite, cross bite, underbite, and overbite. When these problems are not fixed, they can inhibit function, damage the teeth, and lead to problems with the jaw joint. Therefore, properly aligning the bite is just as important as aligning the teeth.
By properly aligning your teeth and bite, your orthodontist helps to improve the overall function of both. When your teeth and bite are properly aligned, collectively they make it easier to chew or bite through tough foods. They also allow you to speak more clearly and can even improve certain speech impediments.
Reduces the Risk of Future Issues
Not only does orthodontics improve the function of your teeth and bite, but it also helps to reduce the risk of future problems caused by improper function. For example, crooked teeth can meet opposing teeth at odd angles that can eventually lead to premature enamel wear, as well as possible chips and cracks in the teeth. Not only that, but a misaligned bite can eventually cause temporomandibular joint disorder due to increased stress on the jaw joint.
Maintains Oral Health
Finally by aligning your teeth and bite, orthodontics helps to improve or maintain your oral health. This is because properly aligned teeth have less crevices for bacteria to become trapped in and are much easier to keep clean when compared to crooked or overlapping teeth. Granted, you will still need to keep up with a good daily dental hygiene routine, however having straighter teeth helps to decrease your risk of tooth decay.
Overall, orthodontic treatment does multiple things for your smile. In addition to properly aligning your teeth and bite, orthodontic treatment can also help to improve functioning, reduce the risk of dental issues, and maintain your oral health. Ultimately, it is the versatility associated with orthodontic treatment that legitimizes the American Orthodontics Association’s claim that about 50% of Americans can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Are you one of those 50%? To find out, schedule a consultation with your local orthodontist today.
Dr. Williams is current with all of the latest techniques and theories in the practice of orthodontics and is an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality of orthodontic care to every patient.