Malocclusion, also known as the misalignment of the teeth, is a very common condition. Although it may not hurt or be bothersome right now, avoiding teeth straightening may make things worse. Here’s why it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your orthodontist sooner rather than later to fix that bite.
You Will Avoid Damage To Your Teeth
What can happen if your bite goes uncorrected? Every condition is different, but all can result in damage to your teeth. For example, if you’re experiencing crowding of the teeth, they are rubbing up against each other all the time, which can cause continued wear on your enamel. Crowding can also make it harder to clean between them, which can increase the risk of food becoming trapped. If it isn’t removed, cavities can be the result.
You’ll Get A Better Sleep
Wait, what? How can the alignment of your teeth possibly affect your sleep? Actually, there are lots of ways you can lose sleep quality because of malocclusion. Teeth that are not in their proper positions can interfere with your breathing, which may manifest itself in the form of sleep apnea.
Misalignment can also cause tension in your jaw or neck that can cause pain and even migraines. Any of these can prevent you from falling or staying asleep. Without correction, all of these conditions can worsen.
Eating Will Be Easier
You may not associate misalignment with uncomfortable eating, but the two are definitely connected. Any misalignment of the teeth or the jaw can cause pain while eating, but can also result in more severe pain, as well as other pain such as headaches. In not being able to chew food properly, problems can also extend beyond the mouth to the stomach in the form of digestion issues.
It’ll Make You Look Different
Straight teeth will change the way you look. Not only will straight teeth make for a beautiful smile, but correcting that malocclusion can also change your expression. How is this possible?
Well, let’s take an overbite, for example. An overbite or underbite can cause you to look angry, even when you aren’t. It may seem unlikely, but it’s true; the way your teeth sit does affect the rest of your head and face.
You’ll Be Easier To Understand
We know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking there can’t possibly be any way that your teeth can affect how others understand you! This is not only completely possible, but it’s quite common. Those with malocclusions can struggle with slurred speech, due to the overlap of their upper and lower teeth, called an underbite or overbite, depending on whether the top teeth are jutting ahead of the lower teeth or are behind them.
What If You Can’t See Anything Wrong?
The benefits of correction above mention certain symptoms that can seem unrelated to misaligned teeth. So, what if you’re experiencing these symptoms, but can’t tell if they’re because of your teeth or not? Make an appointment with your orthodontist. Their job is to identify possible problems before they become worse.
For example, you may think your smile is great, but there can be minor misalignments that may simply not be visible to you. In taking x-rays of your teeth, your orthodontist is better able to see just where misalignments are located.
Another way that your orthodontist can spot alignment problems is via the wearing down of your teeth. Just like anything wears out over time, through years of chewing, your teeth will wear down; it’s just a normal part of having them. Although your teeth are built for a lifetime of wear and tear, teeth that aren’t aligned properly will cause that wear and tear to be uneven.
Why is this a problem? Because the more wear a tooth endures, the sooner other issues can develop. Simply put, your teeth will age a lot faster than they should. You may experience greater sensitivity to hot and cold substances, or even pain in your teeth due to the enamel no longer being there to protect the surface.
Making Malocclusions Better
Your orthodontist is great at correcting malocclusions; that’s what they do! It’s anything but a one-size-fits-all situation; they absolutely need to examine your teeth and identify what kind of malocclusion you have before recommending a solution for correcting it. So, what kinds of solutions can you expect? This really depends on the severity of the condition.
Moderate to Severe Misalignment
Braces are ideal for correcting more widespread misalignment issues. The great thing about braces is that they work on all of your teeth at once. Brackets are attached to teeth, and then connected to one another using wires. Bands and other devices are added, which help to shift your jaw and individual teeth into proper position.
Stabilization of the jaw bone may be necessary. This solution involves the use of an acrylic splint to place the teeth into alignment while the splint is worn. This reduces the abnormal activity of jaw joints, facilitating proper alignment over time.
If it’s a problem with the jaw itself, then braces and stabilization may not be enough. In these cases, surgery can be ideal, as it will allow the jaw to be repositioned.
Where there is misalignment that isn’t yet serious enough for braces, a solution that may be recommended is Invisalign. These are worn in a series. Your orthodontist gets impressions of your teeth, and then you must wear the first set of these transparent appliances for two weeks. The next set of aligners will gently push your teeth even further into their correct position and, after two weeks, you will move to the next set.
Because your orthodontist can spot misalignment issues early on, they can also suggest things you can do at home to help move teeth into their ideal position. They may suggest doing certain exercises to help the jaw or show you how to ensure proper breathing, which is another surprising way in which your teeth can get out of alignment.
How Long Will It Take To Get A Better Smile?
You may wonder just how long you’ll have to wear those braces or how many visits you’ll need before you’re given the green light for a healthy smile. It all depends on your type of misalignment and the method your orthodontist uses to correct them. You’ll need to meet with them, be examined, and then go over their proposed care plan for you.
Braces can take anywhere from six months to two years of wearing them before your teeth are corrected. Invisalign appliances offer a shorter treatment time and more freedom to eat and drink what you wish, but you will still need to wear them for the recommended amount of time to see the complete correction of your alignment.
Other methods like proper breathing techniques and exercises will take time, as they need to be remembered and made into a habit. Once doing these things on a regular basis, it can be a while before teeth are naturally coaxed into their proper positions.
Regular checkups will be necessary to ensure that treatment is progressing in the right direction, but, again, the number of visits will vary according to the kind of treatment you’re getting for your misalignment.
Don’t Wait To Straighten Your Teeth
Misaligned teeth can cause a lot of discomfort and pain if not corrected in a timely manner. If you want to explore your options for treating malocclusion, call Labbe Family Orthodontics. We offer a free complimentary consultation to all of our new patients and, no matter whether you visit our Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton/Gambrills, or Greenbelt locations, you’ll always be treated like family. Call us at (410) 267-7300 and discover why life is better with a smile.