Braces are a popular choice for adults and children who want to perfect their smile. A perfect smile helps promote efficient chewing, prevents abnormal tooth wear, and decreases your risk of tooth injury. Metal braces have been the mainstay of orthodontics since the 1700s, even with the presence of clear aligner systems like Invisalign, Clear Correct, and Laster Perfect Smile.
If you’ve been referred to an orthodontist by your dentist, you should be aware of the common orthodontic issues that getting braces can solve. When assessing your smile, your orthodontist will evaluate the position of your teeth, the size of your jaw, and other factors to determine your treatment plan.
How Do Braces Work?
There are many benefits to orthodontics, one of them being that you can perfect your smile. When in the wrong position, teeth may not come together correctly when you bite down, causing issues when chewing, speaking, and even sleeping. Most malocclusions that braces can solve may also put you at risk for injury if you play sports, or if you continuously cause abnormal tooth wear.
Braces work by applying constant pressure that slowly encourages teeth to shift into the correct position. The archwire does most of the work, while the brackets and other parts hold the braces in place. Orthodontists with advanced technology can precisely apply brackets and adjust archwires to create a more accurate result faster. Most braces patients will need to use rubber bands or other appliances during their treatment, depending on their orthodontic issue, to help correct their smile.
The 10 Orthodontic Issues Braces Can Fix
A misaligned jaw is a malocclusion that is best described as when your upper and lower teeth do not meet comfortably. The pressure of an abnormal bite can wear down tooth enamel, which can lead to thinning and chipping of the enamel surfaces. Braces can move your upper jaw forward or backward to help teeth meet. In severe cases, jaw surgery may be required per your orthodontist’s recommendation.
Crowding happens when there are too many teeth for your dental ridge to accommodate. Orthodontists treat overcrowding by removing one or more teeth, then applying braces to move the remaining teeth into place. An overcrowded smile is difficult to brush and floss. This means that food particles and bacteria can easily build up in the nooks and crannies of your smile, especially at the gum line. This build-up can ultimately cause plaque and tartar, which may lead to gum disease.
Crooked or twisted teeth are often the result of overcrowding. Like overcrowding, crooked teeth may also leave you more susceptible to gum disease.
Excess Spacing Between Teeth
Excess spacing between teeth, referred to as diastema, is actually one of the most common reasons patients seek braces. Gaps in teeth can be caused by teeth that don’t grow in properly, jaw size, and even incorrect swallowing reflexes. A common cause of diastema in between the front two teeth is caused by an overgrowth of the gum tissue that borders these teeth. Braces can easily shift your smile to close any gaps in your teeth.
Overbite happens when the upper teeth sit too far forward over the lower teeth. Braces are commonly used for overbite correction because they can easily shift the upper teeth back towards the lower teeth. Rubber bands may need to be used with braces to correct overbite and other bite malocclusions.
If your lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth are too far back, you likely suffer from an underbite. An underbite can cause an unbalanced facial appearance and accelerated aging. Braces move either your upper or lower teeth, or both your upper and your lower teeth, to correct the underbite. In severe cases, jaw surgery may be required in conjunction with braces to correct an underbite.
A crossbite occurs when only some of your upper teeth do not come down over the lower teeth when biting. A crossbite can lead to tooth fractures, receding gums, and asymmetrical growth of the jaw in children.
An open bite happens when the front upper and lower teeth slant outward so they don’t touch when you bite down. Open bites can cause biting difficulties, lisps, and other speech problems. One of the biggest causes of an open bite is extensive thumb-sucking or pacifier use. Braces work to correctly align the upper and lower teeth in open bite cases.
An excess overjet is a malocclusion that occurs when there is a horizontal overlap of the maxillary central incisors over the mandibular central incisors. Not to be confused with an overbite, those with an overjet have front teeth that protrude, commonly referred to as ‘buck teeth’.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint that connects your jaw to your skull. In some cases, misalignment between the upper and lower teeth where the teeth meet can cause pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). In these cases of TMD, braces can offer a solution to correctly align the upper and lower teeth to prevent irregular pressure on the temporomandibular joint.
Braces can solve a variety of orthodontic issues, from crooked teeth to an underbite. Your length of treatment will depend greatly on the severity of your orthodontic condition, and the results you are hoping to achieve. No matter your length of treatment and smile goals, you should always make sure to take extra care of your braces to maintain your oral health.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to Propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster's in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.