Crooked, misaligned teeth are very common. Many children and adults have them. This can impact on how the teeth look, or it may be causing health or speech issues. Your upper teeth are meant to fit slightly over your lower teeth, with the points of your upper molars fitting into the grooves of your lower molars. When this alignment doesn’t occur, malocclusion results.
Straightening teeth is more than a cosmetic concern. Other health issues that crooked teeth may cause include:
It can be hard to clean in between crooked teeth. This can result in tooth decay and gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to periodontitis, a more serious infection that can damage bones and teeth.
Chewing and digestion problems
Crooked teeth can also interfere with proper chewing, which may cause digestion problems. Misaligned teeth may affect your ability to chew, causing you pain every time you eat.
Excess wear of teeth
Crooked teeth can also cause excess wear and tear on the teeth, gums, and jaw muscles, resulting in cracked teeth, jaw strain, temporomandibular joint disorder, and chronic headaches. Straight teeth not only look good, but will be easier to keep clean and function better with less wear.
If your teeth are misaligned, they can affect the way you articulate sound, causing problems with speech.
Unhappiness with your physical appearance can lead to a lack of self-esteem and social avoidance. Most studies show that patients that have undergone orthodontic treatment to correct their bite and straighten their teeth will have improved self-esteem, less tooth loss, less cavities, better oral hygiene, and overall improved oral health.
Part of this may be from the fact that straight teeth are easier to clean. When teeth are properly aligned it’s easier to brush and floss more of the tooth surfaces. In addition, the natural cleansing mechanisms in the mouth, like your tongue and saliva help remove debris from the mouth much easier when the teeth are straight.
When teeth are properly aligned and the bite is corrected the teeth function much better. Biting forces are distributed to the proper teeth during chewing. Teeth are less likely to fracture or wear down. Moreover, people with straight teeth may be prouder of their smile and thus more inclined to take care of it.
A short period of orthodontic treatment can produce benefits that last a lifetime.
The cost of straightening teeth will be a good investment that can prevent larger costs to treat gum disease and/or crowns in the future that could have been prevented.