All too often, men and women who are thinking about orthodontic treatment tend to focus solely on the cosmetic benefits of having their teeth straightened. And for sure, straight, optimally aligned teeth can help your smile look more attractive, healthier, and even younger. But while the cosmetic benefits of treatment can be significant, that’s just part of the story. As it turns out, having your teeth straightened now could offer other important benefits in the future — benefits that can have major impacts on both your oral health and your overall quality of life. Here’s the scoop.
Most of us give little thought to biting and chewing. They’re just things we do regularly, multiple times a day, without considering how we’re doing them. In fact, the way we bite and chew has a big bearing on our oral health. And it can even affect other aspects of our health, as well.
Your teeth are designed to work in pairs — each upper tooth “matched” to a corresponding lower tooth. This “pairing up” during biting and chewing is called your bite balance. In an ideal situation — that is, when your teeth are meeting the way they’re designed to meet — your balance is maintained, and your jaws work to help you bite and chew without any problems.
But when the balance is “off” even by a small amount, it increases the stress and strain on your jaw muscles. Over time, your jaw joints can get irritated and inflamed, resulting in a chronic and painful condition called temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ. With TMJ, you can wind up with facial pain, jaw soreness, clicking and “sticking” sensations when you chew, and even chronic headaches, including morning headaches that can interfere with your entire day.
Crooked, poorly aligned teeth are a major cause of bite balance problems and TMJ. When your teeth don’t line up, your jaws work to compensate, shifting ever so slightly to help you bite and chew better. That added strain is a major cause of jaw inflammation associated with TMJ, and it’s also a major cause of nighttime tooth grinding. A chronic grinding habit adds to your jaw strain, and it also results in uneven tooth wear, making your teeth weaker and more prone to both cavities and breakage. Having your teeth straightened can help you avoid all these problems so you can enjoy better oral health throughout your lifetime.
Preventing TMJ and all its symptoms (including chronic headaches) is one big non-cosmetic benefit of having your teeth straightened. But it’s not the only one. Orthodontic treatment with ClearCorrect® can also help reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease (which just happens to be the top cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.).
When your teeth are crooked, they form lots of angles and crevices that can be really difficult to keep clean, even if you’re scrupulous about your brushing and flossing habits. That means these areas can become harbors for plaque, a sticky film that clings to your tooth surfaces and provides a home-sweet-home for decay- and disease-causing bacteria. These bacteria release acids that eat into tooth enamel, exposing your teeth to decay and infections in the deeper pulp portion of your teeth. What’s more, those acids irritate your gum tissue, causing it to pull away from your tooth surfaces. As your gums recede, they create tiny pockets that enable those bacteria to move down your tooth surfaces, exposing the lower parts of your teeth to decay as well. Eventually, the bacteria can invade your root pockets, infecting the surrounding tissues while weakening and loosening your teeth.
Even before cavities and gum disease develop, those crevices and nooks can wind up trapping tiny food particles, resulting in really bad breath that can’t be eliminated with brushing and flossing. Having your teeth straightened eliminates odd angles and crevices, making it a lot easier to keep your teeth clean — and to keep plaque, bacteria, and food particles at bay.
At Dr. Darj Dental, we help patients improve their oral health and their smile aesthetics with the state-of-the-art ClearCorrect system. ClearCorrect uses clear aligner trays to straighten your teeth without the hassles of metal and ceramic braces — and often in a fraction of the time. Ready to learn how ClearCorrect can help you? Then book an appointment online today.