Smiling in the mirror and wondering what’s ahead for your teeth? Noticing your child’s smile looking crooked? Worried over your dentist’s concerns at how your son or daughter’s permanent teeth might develop? If there are likely braces in your family’s future, don’t stress. The orthodontic process can be a very positive one, especially if you start braces on schedule.
A simple way to start planning? Learn more about some common signs that you need braces, and you’ll have plenty to talk about at your initial orthodontic consultation. Remember: if you’re nervous about braces (for yourself or a child), the best thing you can do is speak with an orthodontist. Let us put your concerns to rest – get in touch today!
Top Signs You Need Braces
1. Teeth are Crowded and Tightly Packed
Overcrowded teeth are a clear sign that braces will be beneficial. Overlapping, tight teeth are both an aesthetic issue and a threat to oral health. Tight spaces in your smile are likelier to hold plaque buildup, and more difficult to clean when you brush and floss. Food can become trapped in these areas and trigger cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath. The lack in confidence that tends to accompany crowded, crooked teeth also has a significant impact on your self esteem.
Not sure whether your teeth are crowded? If it’s difficult (or impossible) to floss between them, this is an issue. You may also have teeth that overlap one another or are tilted to fit together.
2. There are Gaps Between Teeth
When there are gaps between teeth, this usually means that the upper and lower jaws aren’t fitting together the way we should. This is called malocclusion. Your jaws should work in harmony, but there are many reasons why they end up clashing. Some include
- Habits like thumb-sucking
- Oral tissue formation
No matter the cause of your bite issues, they can be resolved. Closing gaps will improve the appearance of your smile and also help you bite comfortably. As with crowding, gaps can also heighten your risk of gum disease. The open spaces of gum tissue are more prone to be affected by plaque and becoming inflamed. Braces will solve all that!
3. You Struggle to Bite Comfortably and Your Teeth Don’t Fit Together
Your upper and lower teeth should fit together without strain or gnashing of your teeth. When your mouth is closed, do your teeth meet comfortably? If not, you’re not alone – approximately 70% of the population has an incorrect bite. This doesn’t mean that the bite issues should go on unchecked. When your teeth don’t fit together properly, you’re at risk of experiencing problems like
- Severe erosion of your enamel
- Jaw pain and jaw disorders from unhealthy movement
- Chronic head pain / headaches
- Physical trauma to teeth
- Delayed or improper speech development
If your malocclusion is noticeable to others (which it often is), it also damages your self esteem.
4. You’ve Experienced or are Currently Experiencing Jaw Pain
Jaw pain might seem like a temporary annoyance, but it can have big consequences. Maintaining ongoing tension in your jaw from a malocclusion leads to discomfort in your jaw, face, and head, and potential jaw joint trauma. Your jaw will slip out of place easily, leading to clenching and grinding while you sleep. Ongoing jaw issues can lead to the development of a TMJ disorder, wherein the temporomandibular joint does not function properly. This makes it difficult to perform daily tasks like chewing, speaking, and more. And that ongoing discomfort makes you irritable and easily frustrated.
It’s Difficult to Chew or Speak
Severe malocclusion can prevent you from chewing, speaking, and even swallowing properly. If you often bite down in ways you don’t intend, orthodontic treatment will help. Many patients turn to braces because they’re tired of biting their cheeks and the roofs of their mouths when eating. Others find that their teeth collide suddenly, shocking their jaws. Still others struggle to pronounce certain words due to poor alignment. If any of these situations sound familiar, braces could make a dramatic difference to your life. Correcting your malocclusion will allow you to fix these other problems in the future.
Other Signs You’d Benefit from Orthodontic Treatment
- You lost baby teeth earlier than other children
- Your jaw shifts when chewing or speaking
- You frequently bite the insides of your cheeks
When is the Right Time to Start Orthodontic Treatment?
Most children benefit from seeing an orthodontist by age seven. But if you’re an adult, that doesn’t mean you’re unable to straighten your teeth. There is a wide variety of adult-oriented orthodontic options, and you’ll be able to straighten without anxiety or discomfort.
Simply put, the right right to start orthodontic treatment is when you’re ready to change your mouth for the better. If you’ve been experiencing the problems listed in this post, you deserve a consultation with an orthodontist – schedule your free consult today.