When our children are young, we watch their precious smiles develop as permanent teeth take the place of baby teeth. Because these larger teeth can come in crooked in some instances, as parents, we often respond quickly by having them begin orthodontic treatment.

While we are rarely hesitant to provide our children with the care they need for a healthy smile, many of us tend to set our own needs aside. We may have crowded, crooked teeth ourselves but often blame treatment time and expense as why we fail to correct the problem.

I applaud parents who sacrifice for their children’s sake. However, there are many reasons YOU should be just as committed to your own smile. When it comes to properly aligned teeth, there are a number of problems you can avoid, include:

• Straight teeth support a healthy smile: When teeth are in proper alignment, they are easier to keep clean. Teeth that are crowded or crooked tend to create tight angles where brushing and flossing has difficulty reaching. This gives oral bacteria ideal hiding places and leads to accumulation, thus increasing your risk for cavities and gum disease.

• Straight teeth help you avoid problems associated with bite misalignment: Your jaw joints (TMJ) are located on each side of the head just in front of the ears. These hinges attach the lower jaw to your head. Each joint is in motion every time you speak, eat, laugh or even yawn. It takes very little to cause stress and strain to the joints. When the bite is misaligned, the problems that can originate from these joints are vast. These include migraines, headaches and sore jaw joints as well as teeth that are chipped, worn or broken. Other problems are night-time clenching and grinding, ear ringing, jaw popping, difficulty opening the mouth and dizziness. Because people don’t always associate some of these issues with their jaw joint or bite alignment, some spend years seeing one specialist after another trying to resolve the problem.

• Straight teeth create a smile you’ll want to share often: When we smile, our brain releases endorphins. This is a chemical that creates a happy mood. Research has shown that this occurs even when we force a smile (so fake it even when you don’t feel like it)! When we feel good about our smile’s appearance, it motivates us to smile often. And, research has also shown that people who smile often extend their lifespans by 3 years, on average.

• Straight teeth project a positive impression to others: When teeth are in proper alignment, they look healthy. This sends a positive message to others about your commitment to oral hygiene. It also improves the appearance of a smile. This can boost self-esteem and self-confidence, helping you feel more outgoing and upbeat.

• Straight teeth can add years to your life: The proper alignment of your natural teeth can enhance your ability to keep your natural teeth all of your life. People who have their natural teeth live ten years longer, on average, than those who wear dentures.

• Straight teeth help you avoid damaging adjacent teeth: When teeth are crooked, the teeth beside, above or below tend to shift. This can easily lead to chips, breaks and fractures. While these occurrences typically require a crown to repair, a break that extends below the gum line means the tooth will need to be removed. This results in a whole new set of expenses and ongoing maintenance.

It’s not hard to list the reasons ALL ages should have straight teeth. And, with today’s Invisalign, you can enjoy achieving a smile with properly aligned teeth without the discomfort, frustration and awkwardness of brackets and wires. Invisalign is a clear mold that moves teeth as rapidly (or even more so) than traditional orthodontics. The molds are also removable for eating and brushing. Plus, they are undetectable when worn.

Enjoy all the benefits of straight teeth! Call 219-987-5733 to arrange a free consultation. During this time, we can also discuss treatment fees and easy payment options.