How Important Are Straight Teeth to My Health?

Straight teeth could mean better health

Are straight teeth actually healthier?

You might think that treatments for straighter teeth are purely cosmetic, but that simply isn’t the case. While there’s nothing wrong with finding a skilled cosmetic dentist strictly for a more beautiful smile, straightening your teeth can also have a variety of health and quality of life benefits.

Crooked teeth make oral hygiene more difficult.

If you don’t have straight teeth, then your oral hygiene routine might not be as effective as it should be. Misalignments and crowding can make brushing and flossing more difficult, resulting in nooks and crannies being overlooked. This, in turn, lets bacteria grow and multiply in those areas.

With more bacteria comes an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Those dental issues can go on to require further treatments like fillings, root canals, gum contouring, and even tooth extraction. Dealing with crooked teeth today can be much easier than confronting those issues down the line.

You can’t chew or speak properly with crooked teeth.

Misaligned teeth can affect how you perform everyday actions like eating and speaking. For instance, they can decrease the effectiveness of chewing. This can lead to a variety of digestive problems when food isn’t chewed properly. Misalignment can also make you more prone to mouth breathing – which can lead to poor sleep and even halitosis (bad breath.)

Teeth are a major factor in a variety of speech impediments. The improper positioning of your teeth can result in increased difficulty pronouncing certain sounds clearly and can contribute to a lisp or other speech impediment. In some cases, resolving the issue is as simple as seeking out treatment to straighten your teeth.

A straighter smile helps prevent jaw pain.

Individuals with certain misalignments can find themselves experiencing significant jaw pain. This might include chronic soreness and sharp pains when eating or speaking. The reason behind this pain is how your misaligned teeth can affect your temporomandibular joints (TMJ).

The TMJs are the joints connecting the jawbone to the skull, allowing you to open and close your mouth. Misaligned teeth can put significant stress on the joints, leading to inflammation of the muscles there. 

This is considered a TMJ disorder, and it can be a source of chronic pain for many patients. While there are many potential causes behind TMJ disorders, straightening your teeth may be able to provide lasting relief.

Straight teeth are best for long-term oral health.

One of the reasons that so many people have orthodontic treatment early in life is that it provides a solid foundation for lifelong oral health. Crooked teeth can cause a wide range of issues that can affect your teeth for the rest of your life.

When teeth aren’t aligned properly, they can experience significantly higher wear. Tooth surfaces can grind against each other excessively, gradually removing enamel. This leaves teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and can also increase sensitivity.

Improperly aligned teeth are also more likely to suffer physical damage. Any minor accident could cause teeth to crack together at strange angles, resulting in cracking or chipping. In serious enough cases, this physical damage can lead to necessary tooth extraction.

What can I do about crooked teeth?

There are several different options available for individuals with crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatments are highly effective and can provide you with both long-term health benefits and the wonderful look of a straighter smile.

While most people associate orthodontic treatment with braces, many people are now choosing Invisalign instead. Invisalign can deal with a wide range of misalignments while also providing a better treatment experience. The clear aligners are practically invisible and can be taken out when eating or brushing to avoid the hassle of braces.

Is Invisalign better than braces? While most patients prefer Invisalign, they aren’t the right solution for every problem. Some complex cases can require conventional treatments like braces. The only way to know for sure is to reach out to a dentist to find out which treatment options are available for your unique needs.

If it turns out that your teeth aren’t actually a health concern, but you’d still like to give your smile an upgrade, then veneers could be the right choice. This cosmetic treatment removes a thin layer of material from the front of a tooth and replaces it with a flawless, natural-looking veneer.

This can take care of crooked or misshapen teeth to present a more uniform smile. However, it doesn’t address the health issues associated with misalignment, so you’ll have to speak with your dentist to find out which options are best for you.

Find out more about your options.

If you’re concerned about the straightness of your smile, then you can count on Berrien Dental for quality orthodontics in St. Joseph and Berrien Springs. We can determine your needs and provide Invisalign treatment when it is a suitable treatment option. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and find out more about how to get Invisalign.