Everyone, it seems, loves straight teeth. People with straight teeth are perceived to be better looking, more intelligent and more successful in their careers.
As damming as this may be about the shallowness of the human condition, it has led to a 60% increase in demand among adults for orthodontic treatment.
What many people don’t realise, however, is that straight teeth come with a whole host of benefits that go beyond the purely cosmetic.
Here are 5 benefits of orthodontic treatment that go beyond just a beautiful smile.
Teeth with cavities often require fillings.
Cavities are holes in your teeth, and are the leading cause of toothache. They are caused by bacteria on your tooth that combine with saliva to form plaque. Plaque clings to your teeth, and acid in your plaque can dissolve your enamel and create holes.
Although plaque does stick to your teeth, it can be easily removed with brushing. As such removal is mechanical, it clearly only works if the bristles of your brush make contact with the plaque. This is why it is so important to make sure that you brush every surface of your tooth.
If you have crooked teeth then it is likely that there are going to be parts of the surface of your teeth that are hard to brush. This is particularly problematic for people with tooth crowding, as the surface of one tooth is blocked by the surface of another.
Such blocked tooth surface is at much greater risk of developing plaque build-ups and cavities. As cavities need to be treated with Fillings, Crowns or Root Canal Treatment, the improved oral health that results from Orthodontic treatment can, over time, pay for itself in a reduced need for future dental appointments.
Gum disease is the global leading cause of tooth loss
Whereas brushing your teeth properly is the best way to prevent cavities, flossing is all important to keeping your gums healthy. Flossing scrapes away the bacteria that gets in between your teeth and under your gum line.
Crooked teeth can compromise the effectiveness of flossing in much the same way as brushing, in that it can make some of the gum line hard to reach.
People with straight teeth are therefore significantly less likely to develop gum disease. This means that they are at lower risk of tooth loss and bad breath too.
Crooked teeth are more prone to chipping
Often people want to get dental braces because they have protruding teeth—teeth that point outwards. This problem is caused by overcrowding of the top teeth.
Other than being cosmetically displeasing, protruding teeth are at a greater risk of being chipped or cracked. The risk of such damage is even greater if the teeth are visible when the mouth and lips are relaxed. This is because the lips act as a shock absorber against trauma to the teeth. If teeth are not generally covered by the lips then this protection is negated and the teeth are at greater risk of damage.
Chipped teeth usually require a crown to fix them. Again, if orthodontic treatment can make this less likely than it can save you money in the long term.
Sleeping appliances can prevent tooth grinding
Crooked teeth are a significant risk factor for tooth grinding, which is one of the biggest causes of persistent headaches. If you regularly wake up with headaches, then it is very likely that tooth grinding is the cause of this. Tooth grinding can be managed with a small dental appliance that you wear at night.
Crooked teeth increases the likelihood of someone grinding their teeth as the biting surfaces of the top and bottom teeth are misaligned. When resting, your jaw ideally wants for the teeth to be aligned. You therefore move the teeth against each other in order to look for the most natural resting position. This causes the muscles at the top of the jaw by the head to become tender and sore, leading to headaches.
As straight teeth give you a better aligned bite, the risk of you grinding your teeth at night is greatly reduced.
Orthodontic treatment may help with speech impediments
Although not a particularly common problem, speech impediments such as lisping and an inability to pronounce certain words can be caused by having crooked teeth.
Such speech impediments are usually either caused by misaligned teeth preventing your tongue from getting into the right position to create certain sounds, or by having overly gappy teeth where air unintentionally passes through the gaps.
Although we would not recommend orthodontic treatment purely for the sake of solving a speech impediment, better speech sure would be a lovely compliment to a beautiful new smile.
If any of these benefits appeal to you, or you would just like to have straighter teeth, please call us to book an appointment with our consultant orthodontist on 020 8748 1381.