Braces Are Useful for More Than Just Straightening Teeth
It seems that people who get braces later in life do so because they think that a person’s smile is one of the first things others notice when meeting someone. And while this is definitely a fair assumption, the health of the mouth should also be taken into consideration when contemplating braces. Braces are beneficial not just for the aesthetic appeal their end result gives a person, but also because misaligned teeth affect more than just a person’s smile.
Teeth that are aligned incorrectly may cause gum disease and tooth decay, speech impediments, sleep apnea, grinding or clenching of the teeth, jaw pain or temporomandibular disorders (TMD), uneven wear of teeth and enamel, and even headaches. Crowding, spacing and incorrect bites are all potential attributes of misaligned teeth.
Orthodontic treatments can help alleviate and even end the unexpected side effects caused by misaligned teeth.
Crooked teeth are not easy to get completely clean even with regular brushing and flossing. After a while, being unable to thoroughly remove tartar and plaque can begin to cause tooth decay, resulting in more cavities and a higher likelihood of gingivitis and other oral diseases.
Noticeable lisps or whistling while speaking can occur when people with misaligned teeth or incorrect bites talk. Because a person’s teeth are a key factor in the proper articulation of words and for speech in general, having crooked teeth can make it difficult to pronounce certain words correctly.
With sleep apnea, a person’s breathing is temporarily and frequently interrupted throughout the night while they’re sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common form, occurs when breathing is interrupted because of a blockage in the airway. Besides the dangerous possible outcome of sleep apnea, it also inhibits an individual’s natural sleep rhythm and prevents a person from reaching the kind of deep sleep the human body requires. Sleep apnea has a variety of causes, with one of them being misaligned teeth. Because your teeth are not lining up properly, your bite may be completely off and could cause your airway to be blocked.
Grinding or Clenching of the Teeth
Most of the time people chalk up the grinding or clenching of the teeth to emotional factors like stress, anxiety, or anger. While emotions do come into play, physical factors like misaligned teeth can also cause people to unintentionally grind their teeth while chewing food or even speaking simply because of where a crooked tooth sits in the mouth. Grinding the teeth over a period of time may also lead into our next point: Jaw pain or temporomandibular disorders.
Jaw Pain or Temporomandibular Disorders
After clenching or grinding teeth for even a short period of time, a person’s jaw may begin to ache while eating, while speaking, or while doing nothing at all. This can, in time, lead into temporomandibular disorders. Because clenching or grinding the teeth puts a lot of pressure on the temporomandibular joint (more widely known as the TMJ), which is the hinge that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull, over time a person may begin to experience difficulty opening their mouth widely, they may hear clicking or grating sounds in their jaw when chewing food or speaking, and pain may spread around their face or area around their jaw.
Uneven Wear of Teeth and Enamel
If a person’s teeth are not aligned correctly, eating or biting down in general will cause some teeth to wear out at a different rate than others. This can happen because some teeth may be protruding further than the rest, or they are twisted in a certain direction, or because of an incorrect bite. Whatever the reason, some teeth are wearing out more quickly than others, which could lead to a cracked tooth, weak enamel, or even tooth decay.
As you may have already guessed, prolonged teeth clenching and grinding can take its toll on more than just your teeth; that continuous added pressure can lead to tension headaches. Also, because an uneven bite can prevent your jaw muscles from relaxing fully, headaches with characteristic tightness or a dull, throbbing pain in the temples are common. Because the jaw muscles never completely relax, excess lactic acid begins to accumulate, which can cause that dull throb in the head and shoulders.
Orthodontics from Lifepoint Dental Partners
The Lifepoint Dental professionals possess expertise in invisible advanced orthodontics such as Invisalign Clear Braces. Realigning your teeth, whether for aesthetic purposes, because you suffer from chronic headaches, or any other reason, will benefit your oral health in more ways than one.
Please feel free to call us for a free consultation at any of our Lifepoint Dental locations!