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Braces and Invisalign: How Straight Teeth Affect More than Your Smile


Braces and Invisalign can help you if you have crooked teeth, find it difficult to floss around crowded teeth, have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds, or frequently bite your tongue. The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends all children see an Orthodontist by seven years old since earlier treatments can improve outcomes. However, even children without visibly crooked teeth can benefit from a complimentary orthodontic consultation.

What is Occlusion?

Here's a little experiment you can do with the kids—ask them to close their mouths, jaws shut. Then, ask them to smile while their teeth are still together. Next, take a good look at how their teeth align. Do their lower jaw and upper jaw line up? Do some teeth lean to the side or towards the front? When they bite down, do their molars match up? A healthy occlusion involves your upper and lower jaw teeth coming together in alignment, something that braces and Invisalign can help with. This position not only looks good, but it also serves two essential purposes:

  • It allows you to chew food correctly, making it easier for your mouth to rid itself of plaque, and
  • It enables you to speak properly, particularly words containing dental consonants.

When Does Malocclusion Develop?

Malocclusion can develop at any stage of life. The thing to remember is that even permanent adult teeth can shift. This is why individuals at just about every age are great candidates for orthodontic treatment. However, even if you've had braces and Invisalign in the past, your teeth can shift again. This is why patients often wear retainers.

Sucking and pressing are two common things that cause the teeth to shift. Tongue thrusting should be avoided.

What Do Crowded Teeth Affect?

Before we look at the benefits of a straight smile, let's first look into what happens when you have crowded teeth. Often called malocclusion or a "bad bite," the biting surfaces of your teeth don't come together correctly when closing your jaw. This misalignment can cause a slew of problems, including how you chew your food. Chewing of course, helps break down food, so it is easier to digest and activates your salivary glands. The saliva secreted dissolves residual sugars and also remineralizes your teeth.

With crowded teeth, this becomes a little harder to do. In addition, because the chewing surfaces don't precisely touch, it's more challenging to chew.

Crowded teeth are also hard to clean. Because the teeth are at unnatural angles, they also produce little nooks and crannies that are near-impossible to floss or reach with a toothbrush. In addition, stuck food particles can lead to cavities and plaque build-up can create gum problems. Here are more items braces and Invisalign can help with:

Fixing Misaligned Teeth with Braces and Invisalign

The two most common methods to fix crooked teeth are metal braces and Invisalign. Metal braces, also called traditional braces, consist of brackets, bands, and wires. They apply gentle pressure on your teeth that, over time, causes them to shift in the desired position. There are three types of traditional braces:

  • Metal braces. These are the most common type of braces. Kids can choose fun, bright colored bands.
  • Clear or tooth-colored braces. Ceramic braces are the same size as metal braces, but use tooth colored brackets and braces that make them less noticeable.
  • Lingual braces. Unlike regular braces, lingual braces are attached to the interior of the teeth, also making them less noticeable.

Invisalign uses a series of clear trays (also called aligners) to move teeth into the proper place. Slide the custom trays over your teeth and your teeth will slowly shift into position. You'll receive new trays every two weeks.

The Benefits of a Straight Smile

Aside from making your teeth more vulnerable to periodontal disease and the like, the stress from chewing with misaligned teeth can cause neck pain and chronic headaches. With crowded teeth, your jaw works double-time to process the food in your mouth, eventually overloading it. In addition, because your jaw is connected to the trigeminal nerve (which handles the sensations of your whole face), pain in the jaw tends to cascade to other parts of your head. This pain causes chronic headaches and neck pain.

If crowded teeth bring about neck pain, chronic headaches, and periodontal disease, then a straight smile does the opposite. Interested in what braces and Invisalign can do for you? Schedule a complimentary consultation by calling 808-748-4985.


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