A smile is more than just straight teeth.
If you think about it, teeth are like gears on a wheel. Mother nature has configured a bite so that teeth are designed to fit together in a certain way to do a certain job. When teeth don’t fit together, they are not able to do their job, and this may lead to a variety of oral health problems.
“You mean teeth do more than just chew food?”
Yes, we need teeth for a variety of reasons.
Every time you smile, frown, speak or eat you need to use your mouth and teeth. Your front teeth (incisors) are meant to bite and “cut” food – such as taking a bite out of an apple. Subsequently, you need your back teeth (premolars and molars) to chew that bite of the apple and turn it into mush and begin the process of digestion. You also need your teeth to make sounds and speech (phonation). Together with tongue and lips, teeth help form words by controlling the airflow out of the mouth. Try saying “the” or “Mississippi”. Notice the delicate balance of lip and teeth proximity?
So why is it important to have straight teeth?
There are many more reasons why a smile is more than just straight teeth and the benefits are many. For starters, straight teeth are easier to brush, floss, and keep clean. It can be very difficult to remove plaque from crowded and teeth that overlap. You can remove plaque more easily when teeth are aligned. Crooked teeth offer lots of nooks for plaque to hide and can get missed easily when brushing. This plaque buildup can result in tooth decay through cavities, gum inflammation (gingivitis) which results in puffiness and bleeding of the gums, and ultimately, gum disease. Progressive gum disease can go from gingivitis to periodontitis, which can lead to bone loss.
What if your front teeth appear straight, but don’t really fit together with the bottom teeth?
Teeth that stick out far (protrude), especially at the front of the mouth, are more prone to injury. We call this the trauma zone. Many children play sports and engage in roughhousing, making protruded front teeth vulnerable to trauma, such as tooth fractures. Some other common problems are irregular wear of teeth, chipping of teeth, and teeth grinding (bruxism, clenching) are very common problems when a bite is not correctly aligned. Jaw problems and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems can also arise, leading to a breakdown of the bones that support your teeth as well as TMJ pain, orofacial pain, migraines, and headaches.
Much research has been conducted on jaw position and its correlation to sleep-disordered breathing. This data also suggests that jaw position and size may be the reason for some sleep issues including sleep apnea.
The health benefits of straight teeth and an aligned jaw are vitally important to your overall well-being.
The good news is there is a way to treat many of these malocclusions and jaw position issues. Here at Roland Park Orthodontics, Dr. Dina Sanchez can develop a personalized plan with you on how to align your teeth and ensure a healthy bite is achieved. Dr. Dina Sanchez is a Board Certified Orthodontist and a Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland training the next generation of Orthodontists. We offer many treatment options for all ages, such as traditional braces, clear braces, and Invisalign.
Call for your complimentary smile assessment 410-296-4400