If you’re thinking about getting braces for the first (or second) time or if you’re wondering whether or not your child needs braces, consider how orthodontic treatment may reduce these dental problems:
Periodontal (gum) disease
There’s absolutely no guaranty that having orthodontic treatment will prevent periodontal disease. However, it is significantly easier to clean straight teeth! It’s more challenging to brush and floss every surface of crowded, crooked, or spaced teeth. Without meticulous oral hygiene practices, gum disease may develop over time.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain
Research is inconclusive that orthodontic treatment can alleviate TMJ pain. The cause of Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is multifactorial and has a psychological component.1 However, when an existing bite causes your jaw to shift to one side, this may contribute to the development of TMJ pain, often when combined with jaw clenching, grinding, and/or stress. It’s wise to eliminate the cause of a jaw shift due to a crossbite of the teeth or to teeth positions that interfere with healthy jaw functions. Crossbite are most stably treated in childhood and early adolescence, so if you’re considering having your child wait for braces have them evaluated first.
Protruding teeth have an increased vulnerability to trauma, which is especially relevant for children that play sports or roughhouse. Teeth that stick out often prevent one from being able to close their lips, which protect the teeth. In some cases, it may be recommended for a younger child (age 7-9) to have limited orthodontic treatment to improve the protrusion of the teeth to minimize this risk of trauma.
A bite relationship that doesn’t interdigitate properly, a bite that overlaps too much in the front (a deep bite), or a crossbite often result in increased loss of enamel. This wear may be exacerbated by a night time grinding habit. Additionally, teeth can wear irregularly if they’re crowded. Wear of the front teeth can be unsightly, but can be improved by reshaping the teeth or by being restored with veneers.
- Luther, F.; Layton, S.; McDonald, F. Orthodontics for treating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev: 2010; 7(7). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20614447