When an individual has teeth that become crowded, crooked, or tilted out of proper alignment, it is typically noticed in the mirror. We can easily look and see whether or not our teeth are straight – can’t we? Maybe not.
Teeth can appear straight, yet be terribly misaligned. This is true for things like an “open bite” or “overbite.” These are examples of how upper teeth and lower teeth do not “fit” together harmoniously. Without this proper resting position, teeth (and more) are at risk for a number of problems.
For example, when teeth are not functioning together during chewing, one can strike another and cause fractures, chips and breaks. Keep in mind that when a tooth breaks below the gum line, it must be removed since a crown can no longer be placed to protect it.
Bite misalignment also leads to jaw joint problems. How a bite functions has a tremendous effect on the jaw joints, which are located on either side of the head just in front of the ears. These are known as TMJ, an abbreviation for temporo-mandibular joints.
The TMJ is what connects your lower jaw to your skull. Ideally, the joints rotate fluidly as you chew, speak, yawn and even move slightly when you swallow. They are nearly always in motion. So, you can imagine how stress or strain could create problems. An improper bite makes their unified motion less efficient.
When the jaw joints do not move easily in their sockets, the results can be headaches, migraines, dizziness, ear ringing, sore jaw joints, difficulty opening the mouth fully, and even pain in the head and neck muscles.
Growing up, I remember a song that went, “The head bone is connected to the neck bone and the neck bone is connected to the shoulder bone and the shoulder bone is…” As we sang, we’d touch each part, all the way down to our toes! The jaw joints are truly connected to so many aspects of our health. Thus, when not functioning properly, the results can cause a top-down reaction.
Obviously, bite alignment plays a much bigger role than in creating an appealing smile. Straight teeth are important for appearance as well as the health of your teeth and everything connected to them (which is pretty much your entire body!). Straight teeth are also easier to keep clean, allowing your toothbrush and floss to dislodge bacteria more effectively.
Overcoming a misaligned bite and achieving a healthy, beautiful smile is possible through orthodontic realignment. However, for many people (adults and adolescents alike), the thoughts of years of wires and brackets is enough of a deterrent to avoid correcting the problem. This is where Invisalign comes to the rescue!
Using clear aligners, Invisalign moves teeth at typically the same rate as traditional braces, but does so without prickly braces or uncomfortable wires. And, because they are clear, they eliminate having an awkward look while you’re in treatment. Most people would never know you are wearing Invisalign.
For adults, not having a “metal mouth” is a big plus. For adolescents, they also enjoy the ability to play sports without the fear of broken wires or cuts from brackets.
Another advantage that Invisalign offers is the ease of brushing and flossing. Because Invisalign molds are removable, you can eat, brush, and floss without food being trapped — and without having to use floss threaders!
Invisalign is not an option for everyone, but is a terrific option for many people. To learn if Invisalign will work for your specific needs, we offer a no-charge consultation.
During this time, I’ll explain how Invisalign can gently guide your teeth into position and the estimated time in treatment. We can also discuss easy payment options. We work with many patients to help make Invisalign affordable for nearly every budget.