A smile that you or your kids can be confident in is important at any age. Straight, white teeth are important, not only cosmetically, but functionally as well. Your ability to chew, bite and speak are all affected by your teeth.
As soon as your child grows out of their baby (primary) teeth and into their adult (permanent) teeth, it’s time to take this important indicator of health into account. Orthodontic treatments to straighten adult teeth may be recommended as early as 10 years old, but should be considered for people of any age.
The Benefits of Straight Teeth
Straight teeth make it easier for your dental floss, toothbrush, and mouthwash to do their job. When teeth are not aligned, they are harder to keep clean and are more prone to cavities as well as the irregular wear on the teeth themselves, which may lead to other health problems down the road.
There are also plenty of social benefits to having straight adult teeth which may be important to your child’s self-image and self-esteem. With all the new technology we have today, there are many more options for straightening your teeth then there used to be. If you’re concerned about the social stigma of metal braces, you can let that one go because they’re not your only option these days.
Alternatives to Traditional Metal Braces
- Invisalign – These custom-made, clear and removable aligners straighten teeth without the use of metal or wires. Teeth will gradually move into place, but the aligners must be changed out every two weeks to accommodate the changes along the way. This procedure takes longer than metal braces, but they are popular because they are less noticeable and can be taken out for social events and to eat.
- Lingual Braces – These braces are metal, but their placement is behind the teeth, so they are out of sight, which is the opposite of the old school metal braces that were on the front of the teeth. These braces can be uncomfortable because you can feel the wires and braces against your tongue. It is also a bit harder to keep the teeth clean with these braces and to learn to talk with them at first may be a challenge.
- Clear Ceramic Braces – These braces are another almost invisible option for straightening adult teeth which is more like a retainer, and many people won’t even know they are there, even from a few feet away. The wire itself is still silver, but the brackets and bindings are clear or tooth-colored, so they are not noticeable at all.
Potential Complications with Misaligned Teeth
Adult teeth straightening, even with metal braces, is as much of a health procedure as it is a cosmetic one. Teeth misalignment could cause extra problems down the road, and may be more costly to fix, the longer you wait.
- Gum Disease – Crowded or overlapping teeth can be challenging to clean, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Malocclusion – When teeth don’t come together properly when the jaw is closing, it can cause a “bad bite” or malocclusion to occur, which may lead to chewing and swallowing problems.
- Facial Pain – When teeth are not aligned it can create difficulty in pronouncing certain sounds as well as putting extra stress on the chewing muscles which ultimately can lead to facial pain.
- Chronic Jaw Pain – Misaligned teeth put added pressure on the jaw muscles that connect to the temporomandibular joint which over time leads to ongoing jaw pain.
Why Not to Wait for Adult Teeth Straightening
There are many reasons not to wait to straighten your teeth as an adult. There are more potential complications, mostly because adult teeth are different than the teeth of children and teenagers. Here are a few issues to consider.
- Age-Related Considerations – Tooth realignment can be a more rigorous process with adult teeth, which is due to the aging of the tissues. This aging process causes the tooth to take longer to adjust to the new positioning. Adult teeth may also have insufficient bone between the roots for adequate blood supply. Adults may also have age-related problems such as gingivitis as well as bone loss.
- Bite Correction Concerns – Adult patients may have a more pronounced overbite, and often there is not enough room in the mouth to make room for the teeth to move back which leads to tooth extractions. Also by adulthood, the wearing down of teeth can cause the overbite to be even worse.
- Tooth Extraction Issues – Many adults have had one or more teeth extracted, and this can create a problem. Old extraction sites may not be acceptable locations for teeth to move into and to close the gaps between the teeth caused by extractions and keeping them that way may be difficult because the adult bone doesn’t respond to pressure the same way the growing child bone does.
- Root Resorption – Due to family history as well as oral habits, adult teeth have a higher risk of root resorption. This problem occurs when the body reabsorbs the root of a tooth, which leaves the tooth without an anchor holding it in place.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the number of adults seeking braces increased 37% between 1994 and 2004. The stigma of adults wearing braces has declined significantly over the recent years. The desire for adults to straighten their teeth is no longer just for appearance, but also for overall health and wellbeing. The cost will depend on how long you have waited and the severity of straightening needed.
Call Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas
At Children’s Dentistry, you can talk with one of our friendly and caring doctors to get answers as well as options that are available for your unique needs. We have a vast array of dental services and locations in the Las Vegas metro area, and we accept most dental insurance plans, including Medicaid and LIBERTY.
Do not wait another minute, contact us today. Straight teeth and optimal health are both reasons to smile!