Can a straighter smile improve my health?
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Can a straighter smile improve my health?

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Straight teeth can be about more than just appearance. Find out some of the benefits of orthodontics for oral health and general health.

5 minute read

Many teenagers and adults choose to straighten their teeth because they want to balance their smile and feel better about their appearance, but orthodontics is about function as much as it is about aesthetics.

Crooked, misaligned or protruding teeth can impact on oral health and wellbeing in many ways. If an orthodontic issue is causing you problems, your dentist may recommend teeth straightening using braces, clear aligners or other treatments so you can decide what will meet your orthodontic goals.

Good reasons to consider orthodontics for oral health are:

  1. Easier to chew food
  2. Lower risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease
  3. Lower risk of tooth damage
  4. May prevent or lower risk of mouth injuries
  5. May prevent teeth grinding
  6. May prevent jaw joint problems
  7. May lower risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea
  8. May alleviate speech difficulties

Read more about each of these benefits below or call (08) 9227 8777 to book a consultation for teeth straightening at Mount Lawley Dental.

1. Easier to chew food

Easier to chew food

A bite is the way your upper and lower teeth come together, when you have a misaligned bite it can sometimes make it difficult or uncomfortable to chew, or to eat certain types of foods. This could affect what you eat or how much you eat, which impacts on the nutrition your body is getting. It could also mean that your food isn't being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to digestive problems.

These problems may be remedied by bringing your bite into better alignment, making it easier or more comfortable to bite, chew and tear food normally.

Orthodontic treatments themselves may affect what you eat temporarily. If you're having braces, your dentist will advise that you avoid very hard, chewy or sticky foods for the duration of your treatment, as this could dislodge or damage the appliance.

Treatments using removable aligners don't affect what you can eat, but it's still recommended that you follow a balanced diet without too much sugar, so you'll avoid dental problems that could affect your results.

2. Lower risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease

Lower risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease

Along with healthy eating, regular brushing and flossing are important for maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Unfortunately, having crooked or crowded teeth can sometimes make it hard to clean all parts of the teeth, which gives bacteria the chance to multiply and spread around your mouth.

Dental disease can lead to cavities or even tooth loss if it isn't treated, as well as increasing your overall health risks. These problems can usually be treated in the early stages by improving your daily oral care routine and having hygiene treatments at your dental clinic, but more advanced cases can cause permanent damage.

Lowering your risk of gum disease has an impact far beyond your mouth. That's because the bacteria that cause inflammation can spread through the body. Serious health conditions linked to gum disease include heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more.

Straighter teeth make it easier to clean your teeth and gums and properly remove bacteria, which in turn can prevent these far-reaching negative effects to overall health.

3. Lower risk of tooth damage

Lower risk of tooth damage

An uneven bite can mean some teeth are put under more pressure than they're designed for. This can lead to them wearing down at a faster rate and can increase the risk of the tooth cracking or chipping if your mouth is accidentally injured or you bite into something hard.

Straightening your teeth or realigning your jaws can help your natural teeth to last for longer and lower your risk of serious injuries and needing to see an emergency dentist.

4. Prevent or lower risk of mouth injuries

Prevent or lower risk of mouth injuries

As well as being more vulnerable to damage, some misaligned teeth can cause injuries themselves if their angle means they rub against soft tissues in your mouth or cause you to bite your cheeks or tongue. This can lead to irritation, sores or bleeding and a risk of infection.

If you have protruding ('buck') teeth, these are also more prone to being damaged or knocked out when playing sports. A mouthguard can help to reduce the severity of an injury incurred while playing contact sports in the short term, but will work more effectively after orthodontic treatment.

5. May prevent teeth grinding

May prevent teeth grinding

People involuntary grind teeth or clench their jaw (known as bruxism) for different reasons, but the most common physical cause is a misaligned bite. This can cause teeth to wear down unevenly and put the teeth and jaws under unnecessary pressure, leading to tooth damage or jaw joint pain.

Orthodontics can address this physical cause, by bringing your jaw and bite into alignment. Your dentist may also need to strengthen some of your damaged teeth with crowns. If there are likely to be other causes involved, other teeth grinding treatments include trying to avoid stress and wearing a night guard while you sleep.

6. May prevent jaw joint problems

May prevent TMJ Disorder

Uneven pressure or teeth grinding caused by a misaligned bite can also stress the joints that enable your jaw to move (called the temporomandibular joints, or TMJ for short). Symptoms of TMJ problems can include difficulty opening or closing your mouth, jaw pain, headache or earache and dizziness.

Improving the alignment of your teeth and jaws could alleviate TMJ disorders and give the joints a chance to heal. Your dentist may also prescribe pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication or muscle relaxants to help your recovery along.

8. May lower risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea

May lower risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea

A misaligned jaw can affect how your throat opens and closes when you breathe. While this might not cause issues during the day, it could lead to sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) developing. This can happen when the airway gets temporarily blocked and normal breathing is interrupted.

People with OSA (and the people sleeping close to them) can be prevented from getting a restful sleep, and this can have a serious impact on their health and wellbeing if it's not treated. If you have OSA, your dentist may discuss orthodontics in combination with other treatments such as the use of an oral appliance at night to help you sleep more soundly.

What's the best way to straighten teeth?

What's the best way to straighten teeth?

The best teeth straightening treatment for you can depend on the type and severity of issue you want to correct, your preferences and your price range. Your dentist will let you know what the options are after they examine your mouth and jaw, making sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Our experienced dentists at Mount Lawley Dental offer teeth straightening with:

Braces

Braces may be most associated with teenagers, but they're also used by many adults who want to straighten their smiles. Braces are a system of brackets and wires that are fixed in place and exert gentle force on the teeth to encourage them to shift position.

Traditional metal braces are the most durable and resilient teeth straightening option available and they’re commonly used for more complex orthodontic issues, but not everyone likes the way they look.

More discreet brace alternatives include ceramic braces that can be matched to your natural tooth colour and lingual braces that can be attached behind the teeth.

It’s worth knowing that most health fund policies with dental, may cover part of your orthodontic treatment with braces - being that is it considered a functional issue, but will not cover clear aligner treatment as it’s considered cosmetic.

Invisalign®

Invisalign clear aligners are made from a transparent plastic material that's custom made to fit comfortably over your teeth. Each set of aligners is worn for several weeks, then replaced with a new set that's a slightly different shape. Over time, these bring your teeth into a better alignment.

Invisalign treatment is very discreet, more comfortable and more convenient than braces, as you can remove the aligners when you need to eat, drink, brush or floss. However, the treatment relies more on patient compliance and it may not be effective for treating more severe bite issues.

Invisalign® aligners are a registered medical device. Always read the label and follow and instructions for use from your dentist.

Inman Aligner™

If you only need to straighten your front teeth, wearing an Inman Aligner will 'squeeze' these teeth to shift them to a more desirable position, usually in 6 to 18 weeks. These aligners may be used in combination with other orthodontic treatments if you need to straighten more than just the front teeth.

Veneers

An alternative to orthodontics, dental veneers are a cosmetic treatment that are designed to change the appearance of your teeth, but won’t actually straighten teeth.

Veneers may be made from porcelain or composite resin. Porcelain veneers are more natural looking and tend to be longer lasting, but they also cost more than composite veneers. Both options will require you to avoid certain foods to avoid staining your veneers.

Book a consultation for teeth straightening in Mount Lawley

Whatever orthodontic issues you may have, our dentists at Mount Lawley Dental can help. Call us today on (08) 9227 8777 to book a consultation and discuss your options or book online. We also service patients from nearby suburbs including Highgate, North Perth and Inglewood.

 

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