The benefits of braces treatment are well understood but the problems that can be incurred as a result of not getting braces are somewhat less well known. Braces extend a number of dental and psychological benefits. In terms of correcting misalignments in the teeth and jaw, the purpose of braces is clear. There is also a psychological factor here since a straighter, healthier smile also helps improves self-image.
There are, of course, serious long-term consequences to your oral health. Not getting braces often results in common misalignments. More serious problems with the alignment of the jaw can progress and affect the bite to a greater degree over time, causing problems such as overbites and crossbites. Braces correct a range of malocclusions, or misalignments, that can have harmful long-term effects on oral health.
There are a number of malocclusions that affect the average mouth. As permanent teeth come in during adolescence, misalignments and crowding often occur. Braces correct most of these problems over the course of the treatment, usually a year and a half to two years.
Many people exhibit multiple malocclusions before undergoing a braces treatment. These include underbites, misplaced midlines, gapped teeth, overbites, crossbites, and teeth crowding.
Each of these malocclusions can worsen over time if left unaddressed. This can lead to problems like uneven wear on the teeth, speech difficulties, and problems chewing. Addressing irregularities in the bite is an important step in improving long-term dental health.
Long Term Benefits
Properly aligned teeth are both a cosmetic benefit and a practical oral health benefit. Straight teeth are easier to brush and floss, so the risk of tooth decay can be addressed more comprehensively through orthodontic treatment whereby teeth and gums are easier to clean.
There are also issues of wear on teeth and efficiency in chewing and speech. Misalignments between the front and back teeth can lead to premature wear in the back teeth since so much force is applied to the teeth during biting. These malocclusions can also cause difficulties in chewing and may cause speech problems if the irregularities are severe enough and are left unaddressed.
Having healthy, aligned teeth is an important part of lifetime oral health and self-confidence in appearance. Braces treatment is not always pleasant and can seem to stretch on forever, but the lifetime benefits to speech, chewing, oral health, and aesthetic appearance are invaluable. Leaving serious misalignments uncorrected can ultimately prove more time consuming and costly than undergoing a braces treatment as soon as these problems manifest.