The Benefits of Orthodontics
There are more than cosmetic benefits when it comes to orthodontic treatment.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment may seem obvious - a straighter smile. However, several benefits to orthodontic treatment aren't so obvious. Whether child, adult, or somewhere in between, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue orthodontic treatment.
Reduced Risk of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Crooked and overlapping teeth can be difficult to clean, meaning bacteria is often left in the nooks and crannies between these teeth after brushing. Flossing certainly helps in removing remaining bacteria between the teeth (whether crooked or not), but flossing can be complicated or maybe even impossible with severely misaligned teeth. Bacteria left often causes bad breath, will eventually lead to tooth decay, and, when it makes it's way below the gums, gum disease can occur.
Orthodontic treatment can realign teeth to ensure more tooth surfaces are accessible to clean and floss, thus reducing risk of bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Reduced Jaw Pain and Headaches
When teeth are misaligned, this often means that the teeth don't fit together correctly when biting down. These bite issues (malocclusion) can often lead to tooth grinding, jaw problems like TMD, or headaches. Correcting tooth alignment with orthodontics will also correct the bite, meaning less stress on the jaw joint and, in turn, less pain in the head and jaw.
Expanded Diet and Improved Digestion
Certain foods can be difficult or even painful to eat with misaligned teeth or bite, so many people experiencing issues will limit their diet to soft foods. Granted, some orthodontic treatments like traditional braces may initially limit diets even further (like no sticky foods), in the long run, those who finished their treatment often find they can eat more types of food than ever.
Those who have difficulty or pain chewing may also find that they are unable to chew their food as thoroughly as they would like, making food more difficult to digest. Once their teeth are straight, however, they often find they can chew food into smaller pieces, making the food easier to digest and leading to fewer digestive issues.
Confidence and Mental Health
It is not uncommon for those with misaligned teeth (especially teens) to feel self-conscious about their smile, often avoiding smiling or laughing in order to hide their teeth. Even adults who are not confident in their smiles have reported a negative impact to their personal, romantic, or work life.
Those who are unhappy about the appearance of their smiles often benefit from increased confidence, self-esteem, and improved overall mental health after completing orthodontic treatment.