Orthodontic treatment takes commitment and it’s natural you might need time to consider whether it’s the right option for you or your child.
That said, it is important to remember orthodontics is not just about the aesthetics of a straight smile. The orthodontic process involves aligning the teeth and jaw to create a smile that lasts a lifetime, is easier to care for and has benefits for your long-term health.
If braces have been recommended, but you’re having second thoughts, here’s what can happen without orthodontic intervention.
The wholistic approach
Although one of the major benefits of orthodontic treatment is straight teeth and a winning smile, it’s not just about looking good.
In fact, when an orthodontist advises you on the best treatment to suit your needs, they’re often looking at a range of factors that together allow for better oral hygiene, less teeth wear and long-term dental health.
This includes the alignment of your bite, the way your teeth meet, and the position of your jaw.
These elements are all assessed in the knowledge straight teeth, and a well-aligned bite add up to create a smile that lasts a lifetime, is easier to care for and has benefits for your overall health and wellbeing
So, let’s talk about what can potentially happen if you don’t proceed with braces…
Minor overcrowding and spacing issues
Even if your problems appear minor and only extend to overcrowding or uneven spacing, failing to address these issues means you will need to be extra diligent when it comes to cleaning your teeth throughout the course of your life.
The tiny nooks, crannies, and overlaps that result from overcrowding mean teeth are harder to access, and in some cases can be near-impossible to floss.
As a significant percentage of the surface area of your teeth is between them, regular and effective flossing helps guard against the plaque and tartar that can ultimately lead to cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.
Orthodontic treatment creates even spacing between teeth, allowing them to be thoroughly cleaned and flossed.
Cross bite is the condition where a single upper tooth or group of teeth sits behind the opposing bottom teeth. It can occur in the front or side of the mouth and is often the result of a narrow upper jaw.
Cross bite that is left unresolved results in uneven wear on teeth. In severe cases, it can also cause teeth to chip or crack.
Like cross bite, severe overcrowding sees teeth meet where they aren’t supposed to, causing uneven wear and even long-term damage to teeth.
It also makes teeth harder to clean, which leads to extra risk of plaque build-up, tartar, cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.
An open bite occurs when front teeth are unable to meet even when the jaws are closed. This results in difficulty chewing and, in some cases, can even affect speech.
Ultimately it can also potentially result in problems with your temporomandibular joints, which connect the jawbone to the skull. As the teeth cannot meet correctly, the jaw is forced into an unnatural position, which over time can lead to discomfort and fatigue.
Common signs of this include headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, ear aches, and facial pain.
Increased overbite sees the top teeth excessively overlapping the bottom teeth vertically. Again, this leads to uneven wear on the teeth that can result in permanent damage like cracking and chipping.
Increased overjet is the excessive protrusion of the top teeth beyond the bottom teeth horizontally. Commonly known as “buck teeth”, increased overjet sees the front teeth more susceptible to trauma.
Under bite refers to a scenario where the bottom teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth. Again, this leaves these teeth more susceptible to trauma in the long-term.
In severe cases malocclusion (or teeth that aren’t properly aligned) can lead to long-term alterations to the look and shape of the face, and failing to address it early can result in costly surgery later.
For example, in the cases of a severe under bite or a recessed chin, early orthodontic intervention can utilise appliances to encourage the even development of the jaw.
If this intervention occurs during a child’s growing years, it can eliminate the need for costly surgery, which becomes the only option once an individual stops growing.
This is just one of the reasons the Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends children first visit an orthodontist at about the age of seven. At this age, orthodontists can flag any potential issues early and take action of required.
Ultimately early intervention may eliminate the need for teeth extractions and reduce the likelihood of invasive work in the future.
Invest now, save later
It might be tempting to look at orthodontic treatment as an unnecessary expense that is optional. But the reality is treatment like braces or Invisalign is an investment that can save pain, extensive dental work and very real money in the future.
And, with dental hygiene linked inextricably to general health, it can set you up for a lifetime of better wellbeing.
Not only will effective treatment improve the look of your smile, it will treat the underlying issues behind misaligned teeth and jaws.
Ultimately, that makes orthodontic treatment a hugely valuable investment in your appearance, your wellbeing and your long-term dental health.
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.
We also have a suite of treatments available that include discrete, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.