Overbites and more
Often, braces are considered a good intervention mainly for people with overbites — upper teeth that extend far over the lower teeth. But braces are also great for fixing these problems:
· Underbites, where the lower teeth extend beyond the upper teeth
· Crossbites, a combination of overbite and underbite
· Crooked teeth or teeth that are sideways or “twisted”
· Gaps between teeth
· Other issues that interfere with alignment and function
Another good thing about braces: While they’re most commonly associated with teens and preteens, even adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment. There’s no “wrong age” to see your orthodontist. If you’re wondering if braces can help you improve your bite, scheduling a Smile Workshop appointment is a good way to get 2020 off to a great start, regardless of your age.
More than “just” cosmetics
While braces can certainly improve the way your smile looks (and how confident you feel about your appearance), the cosmetic benefits are just part of the story. Braces bring your teeth into ideal alignment, so your teeth “line up” and meet the way they’re supposed to. Upper and lower teeth are designed by nature to work together, creating a balanced bite and supporting good bite mechanics. With crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, your teeth won’t line up the way they’re supposed to, leaving your bite out of balance. It might not sound like a big deal, but an unbalanced bite can actually cause a lot of serious problems.
A badly aligned bite can interfere with the way you eat and speak. But even small misalignments can cause strain in your jaw joints and muscles, resulting in chronic headaches, facial pain and a chronic condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Crooked teeth or teeth that aren’t spaced properly also provide a lot of nooks and crannies for food particles and harmful bacteria. When teeth aren’t aligned like they’re supposed to be, it can be a lot harder to brush and floss, leaving a lot of those bacteria behind. Over time, you can be at a much greater risk of cavities, infections, gum disease and even tooth loss. By straightening your teeth and realigning your bite, braces could help prevent these issues so your oral health is improved. Some studies show gum disease pathogens may also contribute to more serious systemic health problems, like heart disease, strokes, diabetes and even cancer. By reducing your risk of getting gum disease, braces might also help you improve your overall health as well.
Braces and bone loss
While braces can be a great option for most people, they’re not always an ideal choice for everyone. For instance, patients who’ve had a significant amount of bone loss in their jaws may not be good candidates. That’s because during orthodontic treatment, your teeth are gently being shifted into new positions to bring them into alignment. You need to have plenty of healthy jaw bone tissue in order to enable the teeth to shift and “re-anchor” themselves in their new positions. If your bone is weak or thin, the teeth might move during treatment, but it will be a lot harder for them to stabilize once they’re in their new positions. That means once treatment is complete, they may be more likely to shift and alter your alignment and bite balance. Bone loss in the jaw typically occurs as a result of advanced gum disease and deep infections, but some people have metabolic diseases or other health issues that can also cause bone loss. If you’re concerned about your jaw bone health, call Smile Workshop and talk to your dentist. X-rays typically can determine how healthy your jaw bones are before orthodontic treatment begins.
The next question is, can braces cause bone loss around your teeth? In recent years, some studies have found orthodontic treatment may cause bone loss in some individuals, but in most cases, that loss is only temporary. When it does occur, it’s caused by the movement of the teeth — or more specifically, by the pressures exerted by the tooth roots as they gently shift into their new positions. Pressure around the teeth causes mild inflammation. That’s why sometimes, your teeth feel a little sore during orthodontic treatment. In turn, inflammation can initiate a chain of events that causes some destruction of bone in the immediate area of the inflammation. To some degree, that bone remodeling process may make it easier for teeth to assume new positions. But some patients might be worried they’ll lose too much bone, leaving their teeth weaker after their braces come off.
The fact is, once your teeth are moved into their new positions, your jaw bone goes to work creating new bone tissue around the roots, helping to re-secure your teeth so they’re stable and strong. For most patients, the temporary and often minor loss of bone tissue won’t cause any problems; but if you have a metabolic condition or other medical issue that hampers the growth and development of new bone tissue, you should discuss those issues with your Smile Workshop orthodontist prior to your treatment.