If you think orthodontic treatment is primarily for aesthetic improvements, you are not alone. Most people have the same misunderstanding because advertising campaigns have traditionally appealed to vanity. Unfortunately, “sex sells.” So, the overall health benefits of proper bite and alignment are often ignored.

Proper bite and alignment are far more important to overall physical and emotional health than simply flashing a sensational smile. Clinical studies show that bite and alignment have significant impacts on dental health, digestion, respiration, speech, and emotional well-being.

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Bite and Alignment Problems

Orthodontists classify malocclusions, or incorrect relationships between upper and lower teeth, into two broad categories: bite and alignment.

Bite malocclusions

  • Overbite – the upper front teeth extend over the lower front teeth
  • Overjet – the front teeth protrude outward
  • Underbite – the lower teeth and jaw extend beyond the upper front teeth
  • Crossbite – one or more of the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth
  • Open bite – a large space exists between the upper and lower teeth

Alignment malocclusions

  • Crowding – the teeth do not have enough room to grow properly, leading to crooked, twisted, or overlapping teeth
  • Spacing – the teeth grow too far apart

The combination of bite and alignment malocclusions can lead to significant problems, resulting in poor dental health, digestion, respiration, speech, and mental health.

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Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

Improves Dental Health

Oral hygiene is a key contributor to overall dental health. But even the most conscientious person will struggle to prevent bacteria from damaging teeth and causing cavities if their teeth are overcrowded because the bacteria that cause tooth decay can hide in crevices that cannot be reached by brushing and flossing.

While tooth decay can lead to pain and infection, the leading cause of tooth loss is gum disease. Patients with overcrowding also have a higher risk of gum disease, which has been linked to serious medical conditions, including heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, and dementia.

Orthodontic treatments, including traditional braces and clear aligners, optimize spacing for thorough cleaning, preventing both tooth decay and gum disease.

Improves Digestion

Biting and chewing food is automatic and effortless for people without bite abnormalities. People who suffer from a misaligned bite, however, often bite their tongue, cheeks, and lips while chewing certain foods.

For that reason, patients either chew these foods incompletely, forcing the stomach and intestines to work harder, or they forego these foods altogether, eliminating nutritious foods from their diets.

Consequently, frequent abrasions from biting the tongue, cheeks, and lips are painful and can lead to infection. Poorly chewed food can cause indigestion and hinder the absorption of key nutrients during digestion.

Braces and aligners can bring jaws and teeth into alignment, which allows for thorough chewing and digestion.

Improves Respiration

Certain bite and alignment problems have been associated with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition caused by physical blockages of the airway during sleep. This blockage can reduce or halt airflow, leading to poor sleep quality and related issues.

Properly aligned jaws and teeth improve airflow, which enhances a person’s ability to sleep soundly.

Improves Speech

The lips, tongue, jaw, and teeth collaborate to produce sounds. Problems with any of these components can affect speech. Therefore, speech clarity can be compromised when the jaw is misshapen or misaligned or when teeth are crooked, twisted, or overlapping due to overcrowding.

Advances in technology allow orthodontists to diagnose and treat bite and alignment issues faster, more precisely, and more comfortably than ever before, allowing patients to communicate clearly and effectively.

Improves Emotional Well-Being

All of our body systems work together to create optimal health. If bite or alignment issues negatively impact dental health, digestion, respiration, or speech, our overall physical and mental health will suffer.

Reuland & Barnhart Orthodontics is here to help you thrive in every area of your life. Contact us to see how advanced metal or clear braces or aligners might improve your dental health, digestion, respiration, speech, and emotional well-being today.

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