3 minute read
If you have crooked or crowded teeth, or your top and bottom teeth don’t come together evenly, your dentist may discuss teeth straightening options such as braces and clear aligners.
Straightening teeth isn’t just for teenagers and isn’t only about appearance. Some orthodontic issues can also put your oral health and overall health at risk.
Here’s what you need to know about why straight teeth are important and how teeth straightening treatments can help.
How can misaligned teeth affect oral health?
Orthodontic issues range from minor misalignment to complex cases. These may only be a cosmetic concern or may also increase your risk of developing oral health problems, including:
• tooth decay and cavities
• gum disease
• tooth wear, damage or tooth loss
• teeth grinding (bruxism)
• TMJ or jaw pain
Our Kelmscott dentists offer a variety of treatments to help straighten teeth. These can lower your oral health risks by helping you to:
1. Brush and floss more easily
Orthodontic problems such as crooked or crowded teeth can make it harder to keep teeth clean and maintain good oral hygiene. If your toothbrush or floss isn’t able to reach all areas of your tooth surfaces, bacteria can build up in these spaces, increasing your risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
Straightening teeth can make them easier to keep clean in the long term, but brushing and flossing with braces can be challenging in the short term. This is because you need to clean around the edges of the brackets, as well as the braces themselves, which can make it time consuming.
If you’re having teeth straightened using braces, your dentist can discuss alternative methods to floss your teeth such as floss threaders, interdental brushes and water flossers, these can be easier to use than traditional floss.
If you’re thinking about straightening your teeth using removable aligners such as Invisalign® clear aligners, these won’t have any impact on brushing and flossing, as they can simply be taken out. You’ll still need to keep aligners clean to prevent bacteria from building up. This means brushing teeth after you eat food or consume drinks other than water and cleaning aligners daily.
Invisalign® GO Treatment Simulation
The image below shows an Invisalign GO treatment plan simulation for one of Kelmscott Dental’s patients.
2. Reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease
If an orthodontic issue is preventing you from brushing and flossing effectively, bacteria may be building up on your teeth or under the gum line easily. Misaligned or crowded teeth may also trap food that these bacteria feed on to multiply.
When bacteria builds up on teeth, it forms plaque which can erode teeth causing decay and may lead to a root canal infection if left untreated.
Bacteria that build up on teeth around the gum line can irritate or infect the gums, causing gum disease. (gingivitis) If this is left to advance, it can cause gums to recede and even cause tooth and jaw bone loss.
3. Reduce damage and wear
All teeth are subject to wear and tear, but some orthodontic issues can cause teeth to wear down faster, or put them at a higher risk of injury.
If your bite is uneven, pressure from biting, chewing and grinding cannot be evenly distributed. This can put more pressure on some teeth than others, increasing tooth wear. As teeth become weaker and more fragile, they become more prone to chipping or cracking.
Teeth may also be at risk of damage if they erupt at an angle or protrude from the mouth. This is especially the case for teeth that protrude from the upper jaw, known as buck teeth.
When you follow a good oral hygiene routine, teeth straightening could help to lower these risks while a good oral hygiene routine, and wearing a custom-made sports mouthguard for playing contact sports or other risky activities can further protect teeth.
4. Eat a nutritional diet
Some orthodontic problems can make it difficult or uncomfortable to chew food. This may cause digestive issues if food is swallowed without adequate chewing. It can also lead to people avoiding certain foods that are important for a balanced, nutritional diet.
Straightening your teeth could help you to avoid digestive problems and make it easier to eat a wide variety of foods that help support oral health and overall health.
5. Prevent teeth grinding and jaw pressure
Teeth that don’t bite together properly can cause issues such as teeth grinding (bruxism) and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bruxism is the involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth, usually at night. There can be many possible causes of bruxism, including anxiety and stress, but it can also result from an orthodontic issue. In these cases, teeth straightening may be an effective way to prevent and/or reduce its effects.
Pressure from an uneven bite or teeth grinding may also put strain on the jaw or TMJ joints. These are the two joints that connect the upper and lower jaw and allow your mouth to open, close and eat food. Teeth straightening may be a suitable treatment option for some TMJ disorders.
Is teeth straightening right for me?
Your dentist may recommend teeth straightening when they examine your teeth at your regular check-up or if you visit them for a consultation. They will then arrange a more in-depth assessment to inform some recommended treatment options that could help.
It’s a common misconception that teeth straightening is only for the young. Advances in modern dentistry mean there are now discreet and convenient options for adults who are considering teeth straightening too. These include:
• ‘Invisible’ braces, such as tooth-coloured ceramic braces and lingual braces attached behind the teeth
• Clear, removable aligners such as Invisalign® and Invisalign GO
• Tooth bonding or veneers to mask minor alignment issues
Your dentist will explain what your options are and make sure you understand the costs and possible risks so you can make a fully informed decision about your smile and your oral health.
Book a smile consultation in Kelmscott
If you’re interested in teeth straightening treatments or want to find out more about your options to help improve the function and appearance of your smile, book a consultation with our dentists at Kelmscott Dental today.
Not everyone is suitable for teeth straightening and results vary between individuals. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding with a surgical or invasive procedure, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.