Signs You Need Braces

People get braces for many different reasons – some obvious, others not so much. For instance, feeling self-conscious about showing crooked teeth when you smile is a common sign you need braces. However, you may not realize that if your jaw is making strange sounds, the cause could well be an orthodontic problem.

Braces may also help if you:

  • Find yourself regularly breathing through your mouth.
  • Have crowded or gapped teeth.
  • Have a speech problem.

Issues with the way your teeth come together are invariably another sign you need braces, which can realign your jaw to address bite problems. You may also need braces if you lost your primary teeth too soon. If your primary (baby) teeth fell out earlier than normal and the permanent (adult) teeth did not emerge for a while, this can affect the development of adult teeth. Studies suggest that adults are just as likely to need orthodontic treatment as children and teens.

Braces to Straighten Teeth

The most common reason people get braces is to straighten crooked teeth. Braces comprise brackets, wires, and bands too:

  • Help prevent tooth decay – teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean.
  • Reduce the risk of gum disease – the main cause of tooth loss among adults.
  • Alleviate headaches and jaw pain caused by an abnormal bite.
  • Help your digestion by rectifying your bite function.

Braces to Address Jaw Issues

If your jaw makes clicking or popping noises when you open your mouth, it can indicate a condition called temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

Other signs you need braces for TMD include:

  • Tender jaw muscles.
  • Difficulty opening or closing your mouth.
  • Headaches.
  • Neck pain.
  • Grinding sounds when chewing.

Braces to Fix Crowded or Gapped Teeth and Speech Problems

Crowding of teeth occurs when there’s insufficient room in your mouth for all your teeth. It’s a common sign you need braces, without which the issue can get worse with time. The opposite of crowding, gaps in teeth can be caused by a large jaw. In many cases, braces can reposition these teeth to eliminate excess spacing. If you have difficulty making yourself understood in conversations, this could be a sign you need braces, particularly if you have trouble pronouncing certain words.

Braces to Correct Abnormal Breathing

If you have to breathe through your mouth on a regular basis, you may not realize this can be a problem with the development of the jaw and teeth. Nevertheless, orthodontic treatment might be able to correct the problem.

Braces to Rectify Bite Problems

A problem with your bite function is typically a sign you need braces, which can correct issues such as:

Crossbite. Crossbite is a condition in which the upper teeth bite on the inside of the lower teeth. Without orthodontic treatment, a crossbite can cause substantial wear of teeth, irregular jaw growth, and gum recession.

Overbite. An overbite happens when the upper front teeth overlap their lower counterparts, increasing the risk of damage to the teeth. Like crossbite, an overbite can also lead to serious tooth deterioration and receding gums.

Underbite. The opposite of overbite, an underbite occurs when the lower teeth project beyond the upper teeth. This can affect facial appearance and make chewing difficult.

Open bite. When the upper and lower teeth fail to make proper contact, this is known as an open bite, which can cause speech problems and difficulty eating.

Why Adults Get Braces

Research indicates that adults can benefit from braces just the same as youngsters. The number of over-18s getting orthodontic treatment more than doubled from 1994 to 2010 to over one million a year, says the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO).

People are now generally living longer and keeping their teeth for life, and the AAO reports that a growing number in their 60s, 70s, and 80s are getting braces. In many cases, adults get braces because their teeth have shifted over time because of natural changes in the mouth. This can happen even if you wore braces as a child. Your teeth can also be moved out of position through injury.

The risk of cavities increases as we get older, particularly if your teeth are misaligned. Braces can help to safeguard your teeth and maintain a lifelong healthy smile. Braces can also lessen the risk of gum disease, which is prevalent among adults in the U.S. Some adults get braces ahead of dental implants to replace a few missing teeth. For implants to be effective, your remaining teeth need to be straight.

As an adult, you may need longer orthodontic treatment to get the same results as younger people but it’s typically just a few years of braces in exchange for a life of healthy teeth. Braces have improved greatly over the years. Today’s appliances are lighter, more discreet and less expensive, and you have a wider choice of options.

The Invisalign Alternative

A popular alternative to traditional braces is provided by the Invisalign system of teeth straightening. Invisalign clear plastic aligners are the most popular removable orthodontic appliances and offer several advantages over standard fixed braces. Invisalign provides a high level of comfort and convenience, the appliances are practically invisible, and they can be used to treat both simple and complex orthodontic issues. Because Invisalign aligners are removable, it’s easier to keep your teeth and gums clean than when wearing conventional braces.

Deciding Whether You Need Braces

Rectifying crooked teeth and bite issues is crucial to your oral health – with the added bonus of giving you a great smile! An experienced orthodontic specialist like Dr. Amy Buchler at OMG Smiles can help you decide whether you need orthodontic treatment, and what type of braces – or aligners – would be best for your specific case.

They can:

  • Discuss any potential signs you need braces.
  • Talk you through the whole orthodontic process.
  • Draw up an individualized course of treatment to safeguard your dental health.

Start your path to straighter teeth today and call OMG Smiles today!