When people think about orthodontics, they often focus on the cosmetic benefits of orthodontic work—and it’s easy to see why. Studies show that those with straight smiles are perceived to be happier and more successful than those with misaligned teeth. One study from Invsialign even found that people with straight teeth are perceived to be friendlier, more popular, and more trustworthy than people with alignment problems.
Such research shows the real-word impact of smile issues and explains why crooked teeth can deeply impact your confidence, self-esteem, and desire to smile in public. In fact, the American Dental Association states that:
- 25% of adults avoid smiling due to the condition of their mouth and teeth
- 23% of adults feel embarrassment due to the condition of their mouth and teeth
- 20% of adults experience anxiety due to the condition of their mouth and teeth
By fixing issues such as crowding, bite problems, and tooth gaps, orthodontic patients frequently report having a better self-image and more confidence on a day-to-day basis. That’s part of why orthodontic treatments like Invisalign can so drastically improve quality of life.
But beyond these mental health-boosting effects, there are also many physical health benefits of straight teeth. Below, we examine these various benefits to show how orthodontic treatment can lead to a lifetime of better oral and physical health:
#1 Health Benefit of Straight Teeth: Lower Rates of Dental Decay and Gum Disease
“Malocclusion” is the official term for misaligned teeth and bite problems. Malocclusions come in a variety of forms, ranging from single tooth misalignment to severe bite-impacting problems.
Malocclusions are organized into different classes and divisions depending on where the misalignment occurs. For the sake of simplicity, we have listed some of the most common types of malocclusion below using everyday language:
- Overbite: The top front teeth extend far beyond the bottom front teeth
- Underbite: The bottom front teeth extend far beyond the top front teeth
- Crossbite: The top teeth fit inside the lower teeth
- Open bite: The top teeth don't touch the bottom teeth when the mouth is closed
- Overcrowding: The teeth are crooked and overlap one another
- Diastema: There is an excessive gap between two teeth
When these issues are mild, they generally won’t cause problems beyond aesthetics. However, the more severe a malocclusion is, the more difficult it becomes to properly clean each tooth.
People with misaligned and crooked teeth often find it difficult to properly brush and floss. This can lead to an unhealthy amount of oral bacteria, creating a greater risk of cavities and gum disease.
After patients undergo orthodontic work, oral hygiene becomes much easier to maintain, leading to lower rates of decay and gum problems—one of the most important health benefits of straight teeth.
#2 Health Benefit of Straight Teeth: Decreased Risk of Chronic Pain
Many malocclusions place abnormal amounts of stress on the teeth and jaw. Even for individuals with perfect teeth, vital oral functions such as biting, chewing, and swallowing require a significant amount of force. For people with severe malocclusions, the additional stress caused by their alignment problems can cause lasting pain issues.
The most common chronic pain issue experienced by people with malocclusions is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jaw to the sides of the head and plays a key role in moving facial muscles to perform everyday tasks like yawning, chewing, speaking, and swallowing. TMD refers to any disorder in which patients report that the TMJ is causing:
- Chronic jaw pain
TMD can be caused by a variety of issues, including malocclusions. Depending on what specific factors are causing a patient to experience TMJ problems, orthodontics may be an effective solution to treat TMD and other facial chronic pain issues.
#3 Health Benefit of Straight Teeth: Improved Oral Function
Just as malocclusions can impede proper oral hygiene, they can also disrupt basic oral functions. For example, some patients with severe malocclusions experience difficulty performing essential tasks like biting, chewing, and speaking.
We often forget how complex everyday functions like eating and speaking truly are. Precise timing, muscle movement, and nerve control are all required to properly grind and swallow food and enunciate words. Severe malocclusions can complicate these processes and cause people to choke on food or mispronounce words.
If you are experiencing trouble eating or speaking due to a malocclusion, there is a good chance that orthodontic treatment can improve your oral functionality.
Searching for Orthodontic Work in the Los Angeles Area? Call Beverly Hills Orthodontics Today
Orthodontic treatment isn’t just a means to a beautiful smile. It also offers a load of mental and physical health benefits. From boosting self-esteem and oral functionality to lowering the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, orthodontic work provides patients with lifelong health improvements. Whether you’re struggling with a minor crossbite issue or severe crowding, the doctors at Beverly Hills Orthodontics have treatment options for you.
Recognized as one of the top Invisalign providers in the country, Beverly Hills Orthodontics corrects all alignment problems with treatment plans that are designed around patient needs and schedules. Using Invisalign, traditional fixed braces, and/or accelerated orthodontic measures, the professionals at Beverly Hills Orthodontics can provide you with a perfect smile in a safe, comfortable, and convenient manner.