Published on August 25, 2016, Updated on August 25, 2016
Do you know the signs that you may need braces? Are your teeth crooked or misplaced? Does your bite seem off when you chew, talk or swallow? Do you have recurrent jaw pain? Learn the signs to look for that may indicate that you need braces or orthodontic treatment. Our friendly staff at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics can help you on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile.
Consider the following common indicators that you may need orthodontic treatment. You may have one or several on the list below, but if ANY are present, it is recommended that you call Dr. T.C. Hardy at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics for an evaluation and orthodontic consultation:
According to the Mayo Clinic, malocclusion–misaligned teeth–is a common condition that affects 200,000 people each year. Malocclusion is responsible for the majority of the signs listed above that indicate that you need braces. The reason you bite your cheek when you eat, or that your teeth collide, is because your bite is not aligned correctly. Your jaws should fit together evenly, but they often do not. When jaws are not working properly you can put unnatural stress and tension on your jaw joints and muscles causing jaw pain, joint pain and even a disorder called TMJ.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research it is believed that over 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ disorder and joint pain. TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, involves your body’s temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which connects your jawbone to your skull much like a sliding hinge. When the hinge mechanism that connects the upper and lower jaw isn’t working you can experience pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
Teeth that are misaligned can affect the placement of the tip of your tongue. Tongue placement affects the proper formation of sounds like ‘t’,’n’ and ‘d’ sounds. Typically, braces can correct this type of speech issue. Chewing can become a painful process for people that have weakened jaw muscles due to improper use and overuse from misaligned jaws. When the jaw is moved to its correct position, these painful sensations from chewing food dissipate along with the occasional jarring that occurs when teeth collide.
While you have read about the functional importance of braces, no one can discount the immeasurable effects that a straight smile can have on your confidence. Where before you may have shied away from sharing your smile with others, after orthodontic treatment you will WANT to share it with others. Teeth that are aligned properly not only look and function better, they also improve the shape of your face. Often malocclusion affects the way the skin hangs around your face and the jaw structure. Braces improve your face shape along with your smile.
Overbites, underbites, open bites, and crooked teeth all affect the symmetry of your face. Overbites can cause your upper lip to jut out and make your cheeks look sunken. Open bites stretch out the muscles around your mouth elongating it unnecessarily. Underbites affect the placement of your chin in relation to your face causing it to stick out farther than it should. Braces alter the way your jaw and teeth fit together which allows for better harmony throughout the lower half of your face. While most of these asymmetries are subtle, severe malocclusion can drastically affect your face shape. Braces improve your appearance and the functionality of your mouth and teeth.
The best way to understand all that braces can do for you is to make an appointment with Dr. Hardy so that a thorough examination can take place. With our state-of-the-art technology, Dr. Hardy can show you digital images that reveal exactly what is going on inside your mouth, head and jaw structures. You are living in the best era for orthodontic treatment. Treatment options today are effective, aesthetic, fast, and customized for your unique needs and goals. Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics offers several types of braces and orthodontic treatment options for all our patients’ unique needs. If you have more questions about the types of braces offered by Dr. Hardy at our Erie office, or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office today at 720-887-6003 to make an appointment.