Crooked Teeth Are Far More Than Just A Cosmetic Issue
If you think of tooth gaps and crooked teeth as just a cosmetic issue, think again. While many people with these problems are self-conscious about the way their teeth look, going to an orthodontist is a lot more than just vanity; misaligned teeth can have real dental consequences.
Decay Between Teeth
Crooked teeth can be difficult to floss, making people less likely to floss daily. And teeth with even small gaps in between them can trap particles of food. Either one of these problems can lead to a buildup of plaque between teeth. This increases your risk of developing gingivitis and periodontal disease. In addition, the activity of bacteria that feed on this plaque eats away at the enamel on your teeth, leading to decay and cavities.
Teeth are supposed to fit together smoothly when you bite down, with the pressure of the bite distributed across the tooth. If your teeth are poorly aligned, however, the pressure of a bite may be focused on just a small portion of some teeth. This puts those teeth at an increased risk of chipping, fracturing, and breaking.
Bruxism, the technical term for grinding your teeth, is a complicated condition with many possible causes. Malocclusion – improper bite alignment – is one contributing cause; one theory is that your brain may, subconsciously bothered by the feeling of improperly fitting teeth, be trying to force your teeth back into proper alignment. If you grind your teeth, you may find that realigning your teeth with braces helps to reduce the amount of unconscious grinding you do.
Difficulty Biting And Chewing
In some cases, poor alignment of the teeth can even make it difficult to properly bite through or chew foods. When you're young, you can usually make up for this through the sheer strength of your jaw muscles. As you get older, however, it becomes harder and harder to chew properly as your muscles weaken. In extreme cases, elderly patients with misaligned teeth can even suffer from malnutrition as it becomes difficult to chew healthy foods like raw vegetables or protein-rich meats.
The Good News About Non-Cosmetic Orthodontics
The fact that misaligned teeth are more than a cosmetic problem has one more very important effect: almost all dental insurance makes a big distinction between cosmetic and non-cosmetic procedures. Since orthodontic work like braces and retainers are fixing a non-cosmetic problem, they are usually covered by insurance, while procedures like tooth bleaching are not. So if you've got crooked or misaligned teeth, make an appointment with an orthodontist to discuss your options.
Contact a dental office like Cazes Family Dentistry LLC to learn more.