The human body is designed to be in proper alignment. From the head down through the spinal column and balancing on two legs and feet, our body functions properly in a balanced position.
The teeth are also designed to function in a balanced manner, working together as a group. Each tooth serves its own purpose – playing a role in the ability to bite, chew and speak.
A tooth is bolstered on each side by neighboring tooth as well as the one above or below. Thus, a properly-aligned tooth also helps to keep surrounding teeth in place.
However, when one tooth tilts out of position, the teeth on either side are also able to move. This disruption in balance leads to a domino effect and problems that extend far beyond the appearance of a smile.
Misaligned teeth can lead to a disharmony of the bite. When teeth “hit” incorrectly during chewing, the result can be chipped, broken, or fractured teeth. (Keep in mind that a tooth that breaks below the gumline must be removed.)
I often hear people tell me a tooth broke when they were eating something as soft as a chicken salad sandwich. The culprit is typically not the food being chewed but the way the teeth were interacting during the chewing process.
Bite misalignment can also lead to strained jaw joints. Known as TMJ disorder, strain on these joints can cause frequent headaches, migraines, difficulty opening the mouth fully and night-time clenching and grinding. Grinding is also a common reason for worn teeth.
Teeth that are in correct alignment are also easier to keep clean. When teeth are crowded and crooked, the tight angles and nooks mean oral bacteria is more difficult to brush or floss away. Straight teeth support your ability to prevent cavities and gum disease (both are the result of accumulated oral bacteria).
As a dentist, it is exciting to help patients achieve a beautiful, confident smile with straighten teeth. This is why we offer Invisalign, which can help teens and adults enjoy the advantages of properly aligned teeth and avoid many of the problems that come from crowded, crooked teeth. While I support the decisions to enhance appearance, I also know the importance to create proper bite alignment for both oral wellness and structural benefits.
For those who are deterred from teeth straightening with traditional braces, Invisalign uses clear molds to guide teeth without the “wires-&-brackets” discomfort of traditional braces. Invisalign can also be removed for eating and brushing, making them even more appealing for many. And, because they are nearly invisible when worn, Invisalign patients avoid feeling self-conscious during treatment.
What the patient sees in the mirror after treatment is a naturally-beautiful smile of straight, healthy teeth. As a dentist, I see the terrific smile PLUS proper bite alignment that provides harmonious function of teeth, jaw joints, facial muscles and head-&-neck structure. Too, I see the problems that are avoided in the future with a properly aligned bite.
Crowded, crooked teeth will only continue to move. Addressing the problem sooner than later can help decrease the amount of treatment time required and prevent other issues from arising.
Call our Demotte dental office at 219-987-5733 to schedule a free consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss how you can enjoy a smile that looks great and functions optimally!