Did you know that having straight or “aligned” teeth has benefits other than the obvious cosmetic effects? The position of your teeth can have an impact on your lip and facial support, because their position is what determines how the muscle and skin lay over them. The teeth also have a major role in speech development, because your ability to form different sounds is dependent on the way your tongue or lips contact the teeth. In addition, a balanced occlusion (or “bite”) is less likely to result in heavy forces being unevenly distributed around the mouth, meaning that general use of the teeth in chewing and functioning is dispersed among all the teeth and not directed primarily at only a few. Cleaning your teeth is also easier when they are aligned; crowded teeth tend to pick up more plaque, food, and stains, and have areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush or floss.
Take a look at the information below to find out more about how orthodontic options, including the advanced Invisalign® system clear teeth aligners, from our dentists here at Delmarva Dental Services can help you effectively address teeth misalignment.
- Isn’t It Interesting What Defines a Beautiful Smile?
- When Is Orthodontic Treatment Needed?
- Straight Talk On Crooked Teeth
- Why Teeth Don’t Stay Straight After Braces
ISN’T IT INTERESTING WHAT DEFINES A BEAUTIFUL SMILE?
The lips and the cheeks need support from the teeth. For a full, beautiful smile and lips, the teeth need to be angled properly (tipped out just slightly). This will also put the nose and chin in better proportion. Some people have teeth that are too low, giving them a “gummy” smile when they laugh. Some may be rich, famous, and handsome, but their smile could be better if the arches were wider and didn’t have dark corners. For a wide beautiful smile, the upper and lower jaws should line up correctly with the skull. They should not be too far forward or back when looking at a person’s profile and the dimensions of the upper and lower face need to be properly proportioned.
WHEN IS ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT NEEDED?
So when you are thinking about whether your child, or even you, may need braces to “straighten his/her teeth,” consider the total appearance and the advancements in orthodontic techniques and materials. Making these changes today is easier than ever before!
- Does he/she need their upper and/or lower jaw moved?
- Is the face too flat?
- Should the jaws be wider?
- Is the face too long or short?
- Do the lips come together without strain?
- Do the teeth stick out too far or do they intrude inward?
- When smiling, does too much gum show?
- Does he/she really need to have any teeth extracted to accomplish the desired results of a wide, beautiful smile?
These things can be corrected most of the time with orthopedics and orthodontics. There are many important events coming up for your teen in their high school years. Make sure they have a smile they can be proud of. Call Delmarva Dental Services for more information.
STRAIGHT TALK ON CROOKED TEETH
Straightening your teeth is one of the best things you can do for not just your smile, but your overall health. Crooked or overlapping teeth are much harder to clean. If they are too close together, they are nearly impossible to floss. A “bad bite” can wear your teeth down and cause pain and tooth decay. So how does this affect our overall health? Studies have linked poor dental health to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and pregnancy problems. Teeth provide a direct path for bacteria and infections to enter the bloodstream and even into the marrow of our bones. Bacteria can travel from the mouth to the lungs, making lung conditions worse or causing infections such as pneumonia, especially in our older family members. Teeth that are crowded or overlapping are very difficult to clean and keep clean. All kinds of things can find safe hiding places in these hard to clean areas. If left untouched, it can lead to issues like gum disease. People with moderate or advanced gum disease are more likely to have cardiovascular or heart disease. Gum disease has also been linked to babies being born prematurely and low birth weight. Some other diseases that have been linked to gum disease are diabetes, osteoporosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and memory problems including arthritis, strokes, and chronic fatigue. Most cases of gum disease can be traced back to poor oral hygiene. Some of this can just be lack of care but many cases can be linked to teeth that are out of alignment. On one hand, teeth that are crowded can be very difficult to keep clean but on the other hand, teeth with spaces have areas where food can become impacted. Both cases make it harder to clean and floss which can lead to periodontal gum disease, bone loss, and possible loss of teeth. The phrase “healthy mouth, healthy you” really is true. One of the easiest ways to make sure you are able to maintain a healthy mouth is to make sure your teeth are straight and in perfect alignment. Orthodontics is the key to that. Even if your teeth are just a little crowded, when you are older and your manual dexterity has diminished, it will be harder to keep them clean and straight. Teeth then will be so important to not only your dental health, but to your overall general health.
- The benefit of getting orthodontics now is an attractive smile and facial appearance that boosts our self-esteem and personal confidence.
- Teeth that meet properly are easier to clean and less likely to develop decay, have excessive wear, become loose from uneven biting pressure, or be lost to gum disease.
- A bad bite or malocclusion can have a serious effect on the TMJ, can cause upper respiratory infections, chronic fatigue, and other systemic problems caused by mouth breathing.
- A bad bite is not stable and can only get worse, and can also cause speech impediments.
- A proper bite is more comfortable when eating, drinking, speaking, and swallowing. Remember, we are never too old to have orthodontics performed. If you don’t want the “metal mouth” look of traditional braces, consider invisible braces. You will be glad later on that you took the time to take care of your teeth now.
So we know it is easier to keep straight teeth clean and healthy compared to slightly crowded or misaligned teeth. When you consider getting your teeth straightened, remember, it is a lot harder to keep them clean when you have traditional braces. Therefore, you should consider a clear tray system or invisible tooth straightening system, like Invisalign®, to create a stable, long-term, healthy smile that is easier to keep clean.
WHY TEETH DON’T STAY STRAIGHT AFTER BRACES
You’ve spent years in braces. Now several months after they’ve come off, you stopped wearing your retainer and you notice some crowding or spacing. You hope it doesn’t get worse, but after several more months, you notice more crowding and spacing. Was it because you didn’t wear your retainer long enough? Probably not. So why do crowding and spacing occur? It‘s because the reasons for the malocclusion were not corrected. During growth and development, there is a delicate balance between the muscles, bone, and teeth. When the mouth and face muscles don’t function normally, they cause the bone to develop abnormally. This causes crowding and/or spacing of the teeth, as well as abnormalities in facial appearance. If you want straight and stable teeth, and a pleasing facial appearance, then you need to have all the involved muscles working as nature intended. There are multiple factors that cause abnormal muscle forces and therefore malocclusion. Respiratory problems such as chronically swollen tonsils and adenoids, nose polyps, a deviated septum, and allergies make it difficult to nose-breath. This results in mouth-breathing, which prevents the tongue from exerting lateral forces on the palate. Therefore, the upper and lower jaws under-develop, resulting in a skinny face. Habits such as tongue-thrusting, pacifier usage, and thumb/finger sucking push the upper teeth and jaw forward. If the tongue is firmly bound down, (the so-called “tongue-tied” condition), it prevents the tongue from pushing against the teeth and jaw and thus restricts full development. In order to allow for proper muscle and teeth and jaw development, respiratory problems must be corrected, a restricted tongue freed, and bad habits eliminated. When this is accomplished in a timely manner, your chances of a stable, straight occlusion are enhanced tremendously. At Delmarva Dental Services, our dentists in Salisbury can see if there is a problem developing; in most cases by the age of 6 years and in some cases earlier. This approach has many benefits. In addition to straighter teeth, it creates a fuller smile and a better facial appearance. It may even eliminate the need for braces. Most importantly, when the causes of problems are identified and corrected, the teeth have a much better chance of remaining straight after the braces are gone.
For more information on effective orthodontic options available at our practice, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today!