Many patients seek out orthodontic treatments for the cosmetic benefit of having a more symmetrical smile, but there are numerous health benefits to realigning the teeth. Not only do straighter teeth resist decay better than crooked ones, but they also ensure better chewing function and can help you prevent painful jaw disorders and breathing problems.
If you are interested in orthodontic treatments, for yourself or your child, visit Docklands Dental Studio and we’ll explain the treatments we provide. There are many choices today for patients whose teeth need straightening, and treatment times are shorter than ever. In addition to improving your appearance and self-confidence, correcting your smile with orthodontics will give you the peace of mind that you are taking every possible step to maintain the long-term health of your teeth and gums.
Straighter Teeth are Easier to Clean
When teeth are crowded together, it can be much harder to brush and floss the surfaces where plaque and bacteria hide. Patients with teeth that overlap often find flossing difficult. You might hear a popping sound when the floss gets through the tight space, and the force required to accomplish this may damage the gums. Dental floss may shred or break when teeth are too close together, and you may feel like giving up entirely. Even when you manage to get floss into those tight spaces between the teeth, you are less likely to do a thorough job cleaning the area properly.
The reason why this is a problem is because mouth bacteria are tiny. Even if there’s no room for toothbrush bristles and floss to get between the teeth, there is plenty of room for bacteria to set up camp. Cavities may eventually develop in these spaces and require complex restorations–as it’s not easy for dentists access those tight spaces, either!
When you choose to pursue orthodontic treatment, you help ensure your teeth will be easily cleansable in the future and you increase your chances of keeping your teeth free of cavities.
Bite Problems Can Harm Your Teeth
A poorly aligned bite is most visible in patients who have an obvious overbite (bunny teeth) or under bite (bulldog bite), but there are other bite disorders that can damage your tooth enamel. For example, cross bite occurs when the teeth appear to align from the front, but the back teeth do not meet properly when you bite down.
All bite disorders have the potential to harm your long-term oral health; teeth that do not align correctly when you bite and chew are teeth that experience more friction and stressful contact. Our top and bottom molars, especially, are designed to work together to pulverize our food when we eat. When the teeth do not meet up the right way, it can lead to the enamel becoming cracked or worn down. You may not experience this early in life, but as you age, and your teeth naturally become more brittle, cracks and fractures become more common in patients with misaligned teeth.
Bite Issues Can Affect Jaw Function
We rely on the proper functioning of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) all the time, every day. Each time we speak, eat, or open our mouths to take a drink of water, we open and close the jaw via the two joints at the base of the ears.
When a bite is not aligned properly, it changes the way the many interconnected parts of the jaw work together to achieve mobility. Over time, this can lead to harmless symptoms, such as a popping and clicking sound, or worse. Incorrect bite can ultimately lead to problems with the ligaments, cartilage, and muscles that ensure the smooth functioning of the jaw joints. Patients may experience muscle fatigue, facial pain, headaches, neck pain, and even limited jaw mobility.
TMJ disorder can present differently in different patients, as there are many parts to the jaw that can be affected. As such, there are several ways to treat TMJ disorder, including muscle relaxation techniques, splint therapy, Botox injections, and even surgery. If all of these symptoms can be prevented by correcting bite alignment issues with orthodontics, doesn’t that sound like a better option?
Bruxism is Often Connected with Bite Disorders
In the world of dentistry, the tendency to grind one’s teeth together or clench the jaw is referred to as bruxism. It usually happens at night when you are sleeping, but some patients do it during the day, as well. While it’s possible there may be neurological and genetic factors that cause bruxism, it is frequently correlated with bite problems and TMJ disorder. This means you have a better chance of not developing the condition if your bite is properly aligned and your jaw functions optimally.
There are two reasons why is bruxism bad for your health. First, grinding the teeth together causes the enamel to crack and wear down. Second, clenching the jaw when you sleep can lead to muscle fatigue, headaches, and poor quality of sleep. Discrete bruxism treatment usually consists of the patient wearing a night guard to keep the teeth from grinding together–but, again, if correcting your tooth alignment with orthodontics may help prevent developing this condition, wouldn’t you rather take a preventive approach?
Common Orthodontic Treatments
The traditional approach to orthodontic correction is bracket-and-wire braces. This dependable system is composed of metal brackets that are permanently affixed to the teeth, with wires threaded through them. The wires are tightened or loosened at strategic points to encourage the teeth to shift their positions. In addition to the braces, rubber bands and appliances may be used to encourage teeth to shift vertically or correct bite problems. Braces apply carefully controlled pressure, so the body can respond appropriately and the changes will be permanent. Over time, teeth are shifted into more healthy and aesthetic positions: a beautifully balanced smile!
Clear, removable braces (such as Invisalign) work by the same principle, but apply pressure to the teeth using acrylic aligners rather than brackets and wires. This orthodontic system offers benefits that are appealing to adult patients, such as the lack of dietary restrictions and a less noticeable appearance. However, clear aligners cannot correct the same range of issues that traditional braces can. They are typically only recommended for cases of mild-to-moderate misalignment and crowding.
Treatment times may vary based upon your orthodontic needs, but the average timeline is 18-24 months for bracket-and-wire braces, and 12-18 months for clear braces. Both options are an excellent way to transform your smile and give you the confidence to shine in your professional and personal interactions. Your dentist at Docklands Dental Studio will discuss your orthodontic treatment options in greater detail during your initial visit.
Your Orthodontic Consultation
If you would like to learn more about orthodontic options for correcting your smile, we will schedule a consultation in which your dentist will (1) conduct an examination, (2) explain your alignment concerns, (2) recommend appropriate orthodontic treatments, and (4) suggest a possible timeline for your treatment.
Using x-rays and the most up-to-date digital imaging technology, our doctors will carefully assess your teeth and facial bones and provide a complete clinical diagnosis and written summary of your alignment concerns. You will see a detailed treatment plan that outlines the proposed treatment, goals, and estimated fees.
Docklands Dental Studio provides orthodontic treatments to help our patients achieve the confidence that comes with a beautiful smile. Contact us today at to make an appointment!
Docklands Dental Studio is conveniently located in the Victoria Harbour Precinct in Docklands, Melbourne. It is easy to get to us from Southbank via car (through the city or M1, then take Wurundjeri Way) or by foot (a 20 minute walk).
Also published on Medium.