Do I Need Braces? 7 Signs You May Need Orthodontics
Dentists and orthodontists recommend orthodontics for many reasons. While there are some obvious signs a person might need braces, such as crooked teeth, an overbite or an underbite, there are other less common indicators that you may need orthodontic treatment. Having straight teeth can not only improve your confidence; they are also much easier to clean and floss between. An aligned bite can also make chewing more comfortable and fix some speech impediments. If you’ve ever asked yourself ‘do I need braces?’ here are some signs you might.
1. Your teeth are crooked or crowded
An obvious indicator that you need braces is if you have teeth that are crooked or crowded in your mouth. Crooked teeth can affect your self-confidence and make you feel embarrassed to smile. They are also harder to clean between which increases the risk of tooth decay.
Crowding happens to teeth when there isn’t enough room in the mouth for all of the adult teeth to grow. Dental crowding is also caused by:
- having teeth that are larger than your jaw and don’t ‘fit’ correctly
- losing an adult tooth early and having another adult tooth move into the empty space
- wisdom teeth emerging and not having enough space to sit comfortably in the mouth
- over-retention of baby teeth which prevents adult teeth from growing correctly
2. You breathe through your mouth
Our bodies are designed to breathe nasally. If you breathe through your mouth excessively, especially when you sleep, it could be because closing your mouth doesn’t feel comfortable. In a well-aligned mouth, the top row of teeth rests gently on the bottom row when the mouth is closed. For some, this doesn’t feel natural, which leads to breathing through the mouth rather than through the nose.
Breathing through the mouth excessively can change the way your face looks as you develop from adolescence into adulthood. Mouth breathing can lead to dry lips, bad breath and other health issues.
Fixing the alignment of your teeth will not only fix the way you breathe, it can also improve the appearance of the face.
3. Your teeth don’t align properly
Ideally, the top and bottom rows of your teeth should rest gently on one another when your mouth is closed. If you have an overbite your top row of teeth will protrude over the bottom row. If you have an underbite, the bottom teeth protrude out further than the upper teeth.
Underbites can make it difficult to chew properly and may make closing your mouth feel uncomfortable. Many people choose to get their overbites fixed for aesthetic reasons. Overbites can lead to:
- Breathing difficulties
- Pain or discomfort when chewing
- Gum disease if bottom teeth aren’t brushed properly
- Speech problems
4. You have a speech impediment
Having crooked or misaligned teeth can cause speech issues such as lisping, whistling or a lateral lisp. The alignment of your teeth affects where the tongue is placed when speaking. Crooked teeth can disrupt your ability to correctly form certain words. Overcrowded teeth can make it hard for the tongue to move as freely while large gaps between teeth can cause whistling sounds, especially on ‘s’ sounds.
When teeth are properly aligned, your tongue can produce the right sounds without obstruction.
5. You have trouble chewing
Misaligned teeth can cause problems with your jaw, making it harder to chew your food properly. If you experience clicking or pain in the jaw, you could also have problems with your temporomandibular (TMJ) joint. This joint connects the jawbone to your skull. Long term grinding of the teeth can also cause pain in the TMJ.
Your dentist will be able to tell you whether or not braces can fix any problems with your jaw that make chewing difficult. For some people, braces won’t be enough. Instead, they may need jaw surgery to fix problems with their TMJ.
6. You sucked your thumb past the age of five
If you sucked your thumb as a child past the age of five, you may need orthodontics to correct your teeth. Sucking your thumb for long periods of time, especially in childhood when your adult teeth are emerging, can push the front teeth forward into an overbite.
If your child is a thumb-sucker this doesn’t necessarily mean you should force them to stop. Most children grow out of the habit naturally. However, if your child is five or older there is a higher chance that their habit will change the way their teeth form and could lead to alignment issues.
7. You don’t like the look of your smile
You don’t have to experience problems with your teeth to have orthodontics. Plenty of people get braces for aesthetic reasons. Whether you have a gap between some of your teeth or one or two crooked teeth, no matter how small the aesthetic ‘problem’ braces can be a great solution.
Straight teeth can boost your confidence by fixing any issues that may stop you from wanting to smile. Straightening your teeth can also give a more harmonious look to the face and improve your jaw structure.
Orthodontics at Gentle Dental
At Gentle Dental we offer traditional braces, clear braces, lingual braces and Invisalign. Traditional braces are made from stainless steel to gently move your teeth into place. Clear braces are similar to traditional braces, but use ceramic brackets for a more discreet look. Lingual braces fit to the inside of the teeth and are better suited to adults than kids or teenagers. Invisalign are a great option for adults seeking orthodontic treatment. The trays are transparent, easy to use and are barely noticeable.
No matter what type of braces you choose, we focus on providing a gentle touch when it comes to fitting your orthodontics. While many orthodontists will remove teeth in order to create room in the mouth to align the teeth, we try to avoid removing teeth wherever possible.
If you are interested in orthodontics for you or your child, book a consultation with us today.