How Does Getting Braces Help My Teeth?
The vast majority of teenagers end up getting braces at some point during their adolescent years. This is the best time to move teeth, as all of the adult teeth have grown in, and before the teeth have completely finished implanting into the jaw. The ability to move teeth gradually has both cosmetic and dental health benefits. The number of people who get braces for cosmetic reasons and the number of people who receive braces to help mitigate or prevent jaw or tooth problems is about equal. Often times, cosmetically straightening teeth can actually help to prevent any other problems.
Fewer Broken and Chipped Teeth
Besides simply looking better when teeth are straight, they actually fit together better, which eliminates teeth grinding at night and can help to reduce the possibility of broken teeth simply from chewing and biting. Teeth can actually chip on one another if they are not properly aligned, which can not only ruin the line of the teeth, but can actually cause problems in the roots of the teeth that are chipped.
Chipped and broken teeth that are fixed with crowns are more likely to need a root canal or other corrective procedure down the line. When teeth are actually in the right position, however, they are much less likely to hit against each other during chewing and will actually fit together when the jaw is closed, which eliminates grinding of teeth.
Lessen Wear on Teeth
When teeth are misaligned, some must work harder than others, putting undue strain and wear on those teeth during the eating process. This means that these teeth will see much more problems than any teeth would see if all teeth were properly aligned. Teeth in this situation are much more likely to break and have soft enamel, as they bear the brunt of the work and come into contact with food more often.
Fewer Cavities and Less Gum Disease
Believe it or not, teeth that are in the most optimal alignment are easier to clean, easier to care for, and are less likely to catch and hold on to particles of food that could weaken their enamel. When teeth do collect these particles, the damaging acids and sugars are held against the teeth and can work their way through the protective layers, into the softer tissues, where bacteria can then begin to eat away at the tooth and the gums.
When teeth are in their optimal positions, tooth brushing is more effective and flossing is easier. Those damaging food particles can be brushed and flossed away effectively. Braces can even help to reverse damage that food has already done to the teeth. Once teeth are in better positions, neglected areas can be cleaned more proficiently, and the mouth can begin to heal itself of gum disease.
Along with creating a more pleasing smile, a properly arced bite pattern makes a person a more effective chewer, which effects their entire health and well-being. Once the individual is able to use all of their teeth efficiently, the mouth works better. Braces help to correct not only crooked teeth, but also under-bites and over-bites, which affect eating and cleaning habits, as well as can change the shape of the face.
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, and has to do with the joint between the lower jaw and the skull. When teeth are not properly aligned, severe strain is put on this joint, and it can both become unhinged and begin to affect the ability of the person to eat properly. People who have TMJ often experience pain, in the upper cheek area, and can feel severe pain when trying to chew. Grinding of teeth exacerbates this problem, as it causes more strain on this joint.
If this strain is caught early enough and braces are properly implemented, it can be reversed. In other cases, it can mitigate further damage, and in some cases, the orthodontist can perform corrective jaw surgery to ease the joint back into its slot or replace it entirely.
Some people opt for the clear retainer option, which slowly, through a series of retainers, moves the teeth into the most optimal position. This works for some, and is most commonly recommended for adults. The problem with this solution, however, is that the process is much slower than traditional braces, as the plastic is not as forceful as the braces may be. It also may not be able to correct all problems as effectively as metal braces can. For example, if a tooth has grown in twisted, it cannot always turn the tooth to its most natural position. They also can do only a very little for bite problems and TMJ
This option if often chosen because some fear the pain of metal braces, however, tales of this pain have been greatly exaggerated. In general, if the orthodontist’s instructions are properly followed and the patient is careful with their cleaning routine and what they eat, there is very little pain involved in having braces.
Metal braces are the best way to quickly and effectively solve many of the most serious jaw and tooth problems.
Concerns of Getting Braces—and Why They Are Worth the Risk
Some people will warn others away from getting braces because they believe braces to be too dangerous. While there is the possibility of pain, especially after an adjustment, this pain is rarely severe. There is also the slight possibility that gum disease and cavities may increase while a patient is wearing braces, but if the orthodontist’s cleaning instructions are strictly followed, this is not a real concern.
There is an adjustment period when it comes to metal braces. There is some pain and some damage to the soft tissues inside the mouth, but the mouth is extremely resilient and easily heals any damage the brackets make to the inside of the lips and the pain subsides. Braces are often the only effective option when it comes to straightening teeth and fixing dental problems, which is the best benefit a treatment can have.