When you think about braces for a child, you might also wonder whether or not you need them yourself. If you do, braces offer health benefits as well as improved appearance, so braces do more than boost self-esteem. The braces available today, such as those available from Invisalign, can be nearly invisible. Neither you nor your child needs to worry about appearing with a mouth full of wires. Although your child should receive his or her first orthodontic consultation by age seven, remember that it is never too late for adults to have any misalignment’s of their teeth corrected.
How to Tell if You or Your Child Needs Braces
There are several clues that will tell you whether you or your child needs braces. If you or your child find that dental floss does not slide easily between your teeth, it may be that your teeth are crowded too closely together. Crowding is one of the most common issues that can be corrected with braces. Crowding can cause some teeth to protrude out beyond the surrounding teeth. It can cause teeth to overlap each other. It can even cause teeth to turn sideways in the mouth. Dentists and orthodontists use the term “malocclusion” to refer to crowded or crooked teeth. Malocclusion can occur because a person’s mouth is too small to contain all of their teeth, or it can occur among adults when their wisdom teeth arrive.
Some people have missing teeth or teeth that are proportionately too small to fill their entire mouth. In this case, you or your child will have gaps between your teeth. Again, braces can correct this problem.
Braces can also correct problems with an open bite, an overbite, an underbite, or a crossbite. These are problems with the alignment between the upper and lower teeth when you bite down. When you bite down, your upper and lower teeth should fit together without any large space between them. An open bite occurs when some upper or lower teeth do not meet, leaving a space between them. An overbite occurs when the upper teeth extend past the lower teeth, and an underbite occurs when the lower teeth extend past the upper teeth. A crossbite occurs when one or more of the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth at either the front or the sides of the mouth. Crossbite occurs when both jaws are misaligned and is not the same as an underbite.
Other clues that may suggest that you or your child need braces include frequent jaw pain that may indicate that your jaws are misaligned. A lisp can result from crowded or misaligned teeth. If you or your child frequently get food stuck between your teeth or you have frequent halitosis (bad breath) even though you and your child brush and floss regularly, that can be indicate that either food is getting caught between gaps in teeth or between overcrowded or crooked teeth.
Benefits of Braces
If you or your child has malocclusions, a misaligned bite, or misaligned jaws, braces can correct the problem or be part of the correction process.
Using braces to properly space and align teeth that are too far apart or teeth that are crooked or overcrowded has benefits for appearance and for health. Teeth that are properly spaced and aligned improves the look of your smile. For some people, especially self-conscious teenagers, that can provide an enormous boost to self esteem, to self confidence, and to a sense of well-being. In addition, teeth that are properly spaced and aligned are easier to brush and floss, and they are easier for dental assistants to clean. Properly spaced and aligned teeth leave fewer areas where food can become trapped, reducing the formation of plaque and the potential for tooth decay and gum disease. Thus, properly spaced and aligned teeth help to ensure healthier teeth and gums.
As mentioned earlier, braces can help those with speech problems resulting from misaligned jaws or teeth. While vowel sounds are formed with the breath, the consonant sounds, which help with enunciation and that make words distinct, are formed by interactions of the teeth, lips, and tongue. Lisps, whistling sounds, and other speech problems can result when the interaction of the teeth, lips, and tongue are impaired or interfered with by misaligned teeth. Braces can help correct such speech impediments.
Braces can correct a number of problems that are associated with misaligned bites and jaws. Extreme overbites can allow the lower teeth to contact the roof of the mouth behind the upper teeth and damage the gum tissue there. In addition, facial muscles and tissues rely on the stability of the jaws for placement and pain free functioning. An uncorrected crossbite, for example, can eventually result in facial asymmetry. Misaligned bites can strain muscles causing headaches and jaw pain and making it difficult and painful to chew.
Temporomandibular joint disorders, also known TMD or, less properly, TMJ, can result in headaches and pain around the ears, neck, shoulders, and jaws when you chew, talk, or open your mouth wide. You may not be able to open your mouth wide. Your jaw may even lock in an open or closed position. The side of your face may swell. In less severe cases, the muscles of your face may feel tired, and you may notice grating, clicking, or popping noises when you talk or chew. TMD can also cause hearing problems and tinnitus or ringing in the ears.
TMD may first be treated with a splint, which is worn day and night, or a night guard, which is worn only at night. The splint or night guard fits over the upper and lower teeth preventing the teeth from touching and correcting their alignment. After treatment with the splint or night guard is completed, braces may be used to correct any remaining alignment problems.
Contact Us Today for an Appointment
Nothing is going to change about your smile until you take action. Call today to learn more about what the best orthodontist in Nashville TN can offer you. Dr. Gluck and his staff will strive to make you comfortable and keep you well-informed about all of your orthodontic options.
Remember that your choice to have orthodontic treatment will give you a boost of confidence and make your smile shine. You’ll also be able to have better oral hygiene and avoid problems like TMJ disorders. Dr. Gluck is here for you to bring out the best in your smile. Make your appointment today.
Do I Need Braces?