Are Braces Optional? - Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

Are Braces Optional?

Parents’ Role in Their Children’s Oral Health
August 18, 2017
Avoiding Tooth Decay for Children and Adults
September 1, 2017

orthodontic treatment

How important is orthodontic treatment? Are braces really optional for optimum health? When not addressed properly, orthodontic problems can affect your oral health AND your total body wellness. Orthodontic treatment isn’t just about treating the appearance of your smile; it encompasses the function of it. Learn what you need to know to determine a course of action for you or your child.


What Is Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontic treatment deals with your oral health just as dentistry does, except it is a branch of dentistry that specializes in correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. Dentistry seeks to treat problems with the mouth such as tooth decay and gum disease. Orthodontists complete 4 years of undergraduate training, 4 years of dental training and an additional 2-3 years of orthodontics. Many orthodontists can perform dental care just like dentists can. However, it’s those extra few years of study that make them unique in their ability to align the teeth.


What Problems Can It Help?

When the teeth are in proper alignment, they work better for your health. The teeth should make a perfect arch on the upper jaw and along the lower jaw as well. The teeth should also rest on top of one another so that pressure is evenly displaced among the teeth. This will avoid the risk of teeth breaking and correct problems with chewing, speaking, speech impediments and more that can form with misaligned jaws and teeth.


Straighter teeth are also healthier teeth. They are much easier to clean than crooked teeth and can help you avoid problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.


Tooth Decay

According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel. This is the hard, outer covering for the teeth. Inside the teeth is a soft, pulpy center that houses the tooth nerves and blood vessels. Plaque causes tooth decay and is the substance that erodes the hard tooth enamel. It is a mixture of bacteria in the mouth and sugar from the foods you eat. This creates a sticky substance that can erode the enamel and eventually seep into the tooth if the teeth are not cleaned often and cleaned properly. If plaque gets inside the tooth, it will begin to cause decay.


Tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in both adults and children according to the National Institute of Dental and Cranial Research. 59% of adolescents have had tooth decay, 42% of children, 92% of adults, and 93% of seniors. That’s a lot of people with tooth decay!


Bite and Alignment Problems

Braces should not be optional when it comes to bite and alignment issues. When corrected early in childhood, children can avoid many chronic problems in the future as well as lengthy dental procedures. In a healthy mouth, the upper jaw should rest on top of the lower jaw pretty evenly. The upper jaw will only slightly be in front of the teeth on the lower jaw. Some bite and alignment problems include:

  • Overbite – The upper front teeth rest in front of the lower front teeth instead of on top of them.
  • Open bite – When biting down on the back teeth, the front or side teeth have spaces or gaps between the upper and lower jaws. The teeth should be aligned and rest on one another in a healthy bite.
  • Underbite – The lower teeth stick out farther than the upper teeth instead of resting evenly together. This can create more chronic jaw problems in the future if not corrected.
  • Crossbite – This is when the upper teeth do not rest slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting down or bringing the teeth together.
  • Crowding – Sometimes there is not enough space in the mouth to accommodate all of the teeth. With orthodontic treatment, we can create the space your mouth needs to fit all of the teeth. Without treatment, crowding can cause severely crooked teeth and create problems with chewing, biting, speaking and more.


Total Body Wellness

If your oral health is suffering, your whole body wellness suffers along with it. In many studies, how a person takes care of their oral health is an indication of how healthy they are as a person. If tooth decay and gum disease are rampant in a person, they are much more likely to have oral infections. When decay is severe, this can lead to an infection in the bloodstream that can go to other parts of the body.


Studies have also shown that oral inflammation can cause an inflammatory response throughout the body and can make problems such as diabetes and heart disease worse. The mouth is also a portal of entry for many forms of pathogenic bacteria that make you sick or cause changes in the body. If you keep your mouth healthy and clean, you are much more likely to avoid many dental health problems and lower your chances for infections and sickness. It’s really worth it to brush those pearly whites several times a day and keep your oral health in check!


Investing In Orthodontic Treatment

Everyone receives orthodontic treatment for different reasons. If your child has a misaligned bite, orthodontic treatment can save them time, money, and especially a lot of pain in the future. Early care can shape the smile easily, while later care is more difficult and painful. If you are a teenager or adult seeking a straighter, healthier smile, you can always benefit from orthodontic treatment. Even though it takes some time to achieve a straighter smile, it is worth it for a healthy, straight smile for the rest of your life. To receive your set of braces, call our Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics office today at (720) 887-6003!