Life Changing Benefits to Having Straight Teeth
“When we smile the whole world smiles back.” Twenty-five percent of Americans are self-conscious about their smile. Technically seventy-five percent of us have a malocclusion. Malocclusion is an abnormality in the way our teeth come together. It is how our teeth function, how they interact with one another during speech and eating. Having perfectly straight teeth allows us to achieve optimum dental health, emotional fulfillment, and overall health of our entire body.
What causes our teeth not to be straight
- Genetics: The hand that our parents dealt us. This affects the ratio of the size of our jaw bone to the size and amount of our teeth. Too much bone to teeth causes spaces; too little bone to teeth causes crowding.
- Bruxism: This is the involuntary grinding of our teeth, usually when we sleep. This condition, along with Clenching can lead to the following problems:
- Bone loss and subsequent periodontal disease: When we see gum recession in the mouth it invariably leads to bone loss (under the gum). The primary cause of this loss is the horizontal forces that we place on our teeth when we are grinding. As the bone shrinks the tooth develops mobility. Pathological pockets are formed between the height of the gum and the now lowered height of the bone. These pockets can trap food and bacteria. Once this happens we are dealing with an infectious process. We are not only concerned about crooked teeth, we are concerned about not losing our teeth. If the teeth are aligned properly, we are not grinding, food is not being trapped, pockets are not forming. We have eliminated pathology simply by keeping our teeth straight.
- The wearing away of enamel.
- Decrease in vertical dimension of the face (nose to chin distance is diminished): When we grind and wear out the upper edges and chewing surfaces of our teeth. Our teeth in terms of their length become smaller. Thus in order to make our teeth touch the jaw has to close more than it did before. This over-closing leads to muscle strain. Our profile is diminished, our mouth spreads across our face and we develop puppet lines. It’s imperative to stop grinding by having straight teeth and maintaining the proper dimensions of our upper and lower jaws.
- Temporomandibular joint problems: This is pain in muscles of face upon opening and closing. If our teeth are not straight then when they come together in occlusion our bite will be off. This malocclusion will disturb the relationship of the lower jaw (mandible) to the upper jaw (maxilla). This can lead to an arthritic joint and pain in the face and neck.
- Disturbance of sleep that can lead to snoring and even sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a serious disease where the person literally stops breathing, this condition can lead to increased incidences of stroke.
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold: Because of grinding, nerve (pulp) inside the tooth gets overstimulated, irritated, and thus overacts to outside stimuli like hot, cold, and percussion.
- Unsightly smile: When our teeth are in balance, our smile is symmetrical and life is good.
- Thumb-sucking: Usually upper anterior teeth protrude.
- Incomplete dentistry.
- Not replacing missing teeth: ”nature abhors a vacuum” When we lose a tooth the space created must be filled; if not the surrounding teeth will tilt in and the opposing teeth will grow up into the space.
- Not getting proper restorative procedures when teeth break or are decayed.
- Not having orthodontic treatment when young: ”A stitch in time saves nine”. When we are young crooked or crowded teeth can be moved more easily as the bone is less dense. A little interceptive orthodontics goes a long way to preventing more complex work when we are older.
- Trauma: getting knocked in the mouth from sports, accidents, etc.
Benefits of Straight Teeth
- Improvement of overall health: Periodontal disease, which is a direct consequence of crooked teeth, can lead to systemic problems. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, and dementia.
- Better digestion: Digestion starts in the mouth with our teeth grinding up the food and the release of saliva that contains enzymes that start to break down the food.
- Easier to keep our teeth clean: When teeth line up properly they are in good contact from side to side. When this occurs food is deflected away from the teeth and not trapped under the gum.
- Decrease in caries: To have decay bacteria plus sucrose must be present. If teeth line up well food debris and sugar cannot form plaque which causes cavities and periodontal disease.
- Decrease in periodontal disease, bone loss, and loose teeth: If teeth are straight food debris cannot get trapped, we will not grind our teeth, teeth will not break thus preventing disease of the gum and bone from forming.
- Better speech: Tip of tongue hits teeth perfectly to allow for excellent enunciation.
- Better spacing for implants: If we have a missing tooth, surrounding teeth will tip into the missing space. Straight teeth allow the dentist to maintain the space properly without losing the integrity of the arch and thus have room to place an implant to restore the missing tooth.
- Decrease in chips.
- Decrease in wear of enamel.
- Virtually eliminating the risk of TMJD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), vertical dimension loss, poor articulation of lower jaw (condyle) to the upper jaw (glenoid fossa).
- Less risk of serious injury due to trauma: If unwanted force is delivered and teeth are straight, the force goes through the long axis of the tooth, many times decreasing serious dental consequences.
- The tremendous increase in self-esteem and self confidence-life changing: When we have a beautiful smile we feel good about ourselves. Our smile is fifty percent of our facial appearance. It is very important. So when we have more confidence, we are more outgoing, more friendly, more willing to share. We become more attractive to people intellectually as well as aesthetically. They take us more seriously and unconsciously want to be closer to us. This leads to promotions at work, making more friends and being more socially active, and meeting a lifelong partner.
How to Get Straight Teeth
- Retainers: Night guards are easy inexpensive devices that stop grinding and maintain the position of our teeth so that they do not become crooked.
- Porcelain veneers: These are delicate pieces of porcelain that go over the front surface of our teeth. They are made in our laboratory by a master technician. They are one of the most esthetic restorations in dentistry. They can correct chips, decay, spaces and even rotated teeth. In the hands of Dr. Benjamin Ifraimov, our cosmetic dentist, your amazing new smile can be created in just two visits.
- Invisalign braces: These are “invisible”, clear, ultra-thin aligners that fit over your teeth. They are totally unobtrusive. We change the aligners every two weeks. Over a period of months, usually less than a year the teeth are gently moved back into beautiful alignment. Dr. Benjamin Ahn is our nationally renowned expert. He has had brilliant results with overbites, underbites, crossbites, spaces and rotated teeth.
209 NYC Dental is the longest-running dental practice in NYC. It was established in 1888. We have the most modern equipment, in an ultra-modern and tranquil office. Our dental specialists are here to help you achieve the smile that you always dreamt about. Please call us to set up a complimentary appointment. We know that we will make you smile.