People with crooked or protruding teeth sometimes mute their smile, because they’re embarrassed by dental imperfections.
Does this sound like you?
If you have misaligned teeth, you may also experience health complications such as pain when eating, speech issues, insomnia, chronic headaches and poor oral hygiene.
Orthodontics is a dental speciality that focuses on straightening teeth and fixing other structural issues such as overbites. Wearing temporary braces is one of the most popular and effective ways to improve your smile, for good reason.
This article explores the benefits of braces for adults and children alike.
But first, what are braces?
What are braces?
This dental appliance largely consists of metal or ceramic brackets that are connected by a wire and rubber bands.
An orthodontist fixes this system to their patient’s teeth, in order to correct alignment and create a flawless smile.
Patients wear braces around the clock for around 18 to 36 months – even when sleeping, playing sports and eating. During this time, the braces apply constant pressure to gradually (and gently) push teeth into the correct position.
Follow-up appointments occur every four to eight weeks, so dentists can tighten the braces to adjust the pull.
Many patients (especially teenagers) take this opportunity to request a colour change for their brackets, because they want their braces to stand out in fun ways. Although older patients tend to prefer enamel-toned brackets that don’t draw as much attention.
Most people who wear braces are teens, but this treatment is suitable for adults too.
Actually, we see a lot more adults wearing braces now, compared to years ago!
Braces are often a suitable treatment for these conditions
- Crooked teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Jaw problems
- Widely spaced teeth
- Impacted teeth
5 health benefits of braces for adults and children
- Feel better about smiling
- Resolve the pain, insomnia and headaches caused by misaligned teeth
- Improve your oral health and prevent infection
- Better digestion
- Improved speech
1. Feel better about smiling
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t let crooked teeth lower our confidence or hold us back from socialising – because we know there’s beauty in imperfection.
But in reality, many of us are overly conscious about our appearance. One study of 1784 adolescents draws a link between low self-esteem and dental trauma, tooth loss and untreated carious lesions. Students had lower self-esteem due to their dental aesthetics and saw themselves as “less attractive”.
It’s only natural to want to look your best and make a good first impression. When your teeth are properly aligned after braces, you’ll look forward to showing off your smile!
2. Resolve the pain, insomnia and headaches caused by misaligned teeth
Beyond cosmetic concerns, a misaligned bite can lead to physical discomfort and pain in the teeth and jaw. This sometimes impacts other parts of the body – leading to chronic migraines, ear aches and insomnia. These issues usually go away when alignment has been corrected, as teeth no longer push against each other or strain the gums and jaw bone.
3. Improve your oral health and prevent infection
Bacteria tends to build up on teeth that are crowded and overlapping, as misaligned teeth are harder to clean properly (especially if they feel tender while brushing).
When your teeth are perfectly aligned after braces, you’ll have an easier time brushing and flossing, and there will be no spots that are difficult to reach.
This is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, while keeping your breath fresh too!
4. Prevent bone erosion
Misaligned teeth put too much pressure on the jaw when you’re chewing. This can have a detrimental effect over time – eventually eroding the jaw bone and surrounding tissue. You’re less likely to experience bone erosion when teeth are realigned with braces, as the jaw is no longer under strain.
5. Better digestion and speech
Often people with severely misaligned teeth can’t chew properly, so food doesn’t get broken down into small particles before it reaches their stomach. There can be unpleasant side effects like bloating, gas and stomach cramps when food isn’t adequately digested. Realigning the teeth makes it easier for people to chew their food into easily digestible pieces.
By the same token:
Misaligned teeth can interfere with the movement of your tongue when speaking. This sometimes makes it harder to pronounce certain words, and you may experience other speech problems, such as a lisp. Braces help to rectify this, by correcting the position of teeth and creating an ideal oral environment for precise speech.
Despite the benefits of braces for adults and children, this might not be your preferred orthodontic treatment…
Dental braces are suitable for patients older than nine, with mild to complex cases of misalignment. Note: children younger than nine can sometimes get braces, it just depends on the individual circumstances.
Braces get the fastest results out of all orthodontic options, especially when the problem is extensive. As long as you don’t mind the visible appearance of brackets and wires! Note: ceramic braces are more discreet than visible braces, but can still be seen.
If you have mild to moderate misalignment problems, you may prefer to wear clear Invisalign aligners instead of braces.
These removable trays also correct alignment, but don’t exert as much pressure as braces. Invisalign is very discreet as the trays are practically undetectable. However, you need to remember to stick to the routine of removing and reinstalling the trays after each meal. This treatment won’t be effective if you don’t wear the aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours a day.
Not sure which option is better for you? Read more about Invisalign vs braces here.
Should you get braces? Book a complimentary consultation at Mona Vale Dental on the Northern Beaches
Even though we’ve talked about the benefits of braces for adults and children, it’s important to speak with a dentist to see if you need orthodontic treatment in the first place.
Our team is passionate about delivering the best dental care to all patients and we’ve been trained to use advanced technology for all dental problems.
We also specialise in Digital Smile Design for cosmetic procedures, which means you can preview a 3D mock-up of your new smile before committing to the treatment.
Fill out this contact form or call our team on (02) 9997 1100 for more information.
If you’d like to read more information about orthodontic treatment, please refer to this FAQ on Invisalign and braces.