Orthodontics: So Much More Than Just a Pretty Smile
Everyone knows that braces help people achieve beautiful smiles, but did you know that there are some significant health benefits to having straighter teeth as well? Crowded teeth are harder to properly keep clean, and swollen, red and irritated gums are often the result. Research has linked the periodontal disease that develops from plaque and bacterial buildup around misaligned teeth to other systemic health issues such as heart disease, stroke and even elevated stress levels. Misaligned teeth and/or jaws are also a significant factor in other oral problems, such as increased wear on tooth enamel from grinding and clenching, as well as TMJ and jaw pain.
Properly aligned teeth help to lessen the potential negative impact these issues can have in a person’s life. When teeth are properly aligned it becomes easier to maintain proper oral hygiene and allows the gums to fit tightly around the teeth, creating the strongest and healthiest defense against periodontal problems. Properly aligned teeth are also extremely important in alleviating speech and chewing difficulties. The most obvious benefit from properly aligned teeth is a beautiful smile. The positive psychological effect of feeling proud and confident with your smile and how you look has been well documented over the years.
Orthodontics is not just for children. Anyone with misaligned teeth can benefit from orthodontics and with modern technology, teeth can even be moved without anyone knowing you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Products such as Invisalign use clear plastic retainers to slowly move teeth into their proper positions. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, clear retainers have the advantage that they can be removed to eat, play sports, and most importantly, to allow for proper oral hygiene.
Invisalign tooth movement does have its limitations and therefore is not suitable for everyone. Only a visit to a qualified general dentist or orthodontist can help you to determine if Invisalign treatment or standard bracket and wire orthodontics is right for you.
Whatever the reason that motivates you--from a beautiful, confident smile to a healthier, better-functioning mouth--almost everyone can benefit from aligning their teeth properly. Please talk to your dentist about how you can benefit from a straighter smile today.
I am a general dentist practicing in a solo practice on Madison Avenue in Lakewood.