Not having straight teeth is more than just a cosmetic problem. Whether you have crowded teeth, an overbite, or an underbite, not treating the problem can have significant consequences for your oral health. We discuss common issues associated with misaligned teeth below and the health benefits of correcting the issue with Invisalign clear braces.
Invisalign clear aligners are a popular alternative to traditional wire and bracket metal braces. Adults and teens love Invisalign because their orthodontic treatment isn’t obvious to others and they can remove the aligners for up to two hours a day when eating or brushing their teeth. Treatment time with clear braces averages 12 months, which is shorter than the 24 month average with traditional braces.
When you don’t have straight teeth, the outer layer called enamel that helps to protect against chemical and physical damage can wear away faster than it would have otherwise. Some of the most frequent indications of tooth enamel loss include increased sensitivity to hot or cold beverages or food and stains on your teeth. This can be uncomfortable to live with and may require treatment such as a dental crown if the sensitivity becomes painful and long lasting. Other common oral health issues you may experience due to not having straight teeth include:
Biting your food with adequate force and chewing it enough times for easy swallowing can be challenging when you have misaligned teeth. Your food can become trapped between teeth or the alignment of your jaws can make for uneven biting and chewing. You could also struggle to articulate speech sounds correctly if your teeth get in the way of proper tongue movement.
Keeping your teeth clean can be more difficult when they’re misaligned and you can’t easily reach some teeth with a toothbrush or dental floss. The food particles left in your mouth quickly breakdown into bacteria that attacks both tooth enamel and gum tissue. Gum disease is almost always treatable when detected early. However, untreated gum disease can lead to tooth extraction and other major dental concerns, and even full-body health complications, like risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
Crooked teeth affect the alignment of both jaws because they can’t settle into the correct position. Common symptoms of misaligned jaws include clicking sounds when you eat or speak, pain in the temple and jaw joint, pain in the back or shoulder, and popping sounds in your ear.
Teeth that you can’t properly reach while brushing and flossing due to alignment problems are at greater risk of decay. Our dentists can usually preserve a decayed tooth by filling it with tooth-colored material that blends in with the shade of your other teeth. A standard filling may not be enough for a tooth with significant decay. Your dentist will speak to you about options for treatment in that situation such as inlays and onlays or extracting the tooth and replacing it with a dental bridge or implant.
Any of these common oral health issues due to misaligned teeth make it more likely you will need to have one or more teeth removed for non-cosmetic reasons. You may also require tooth extraction before you get clear braces to allow enough room for your teeth to shift during orthodontic treatment.
It’s never too late to achieve straight teeth for a more attractive smile and improved oral health. We invite you to contact Cedar Walk Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Charlotte to request an initial orthodontic consultation today. We will discuss treatment time, cost, expectations, and other common concerns when you come in for your appointment.