At one time, most people believed braces were “just for kids.” In reality, people of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment, and nowadays, adults are increasingly hopping on the braces bandwagon to get the smile they’ve always wanted. According to a recent study by the American Association of Orthodontics, adult orthodontic patients now outnumber adolescent patients. As Dentists in Fort Worth, we’ve witnessed the trend in our own office with adults making up more than half of our patients seeking straighter teeth.
Whether you’re eight or eighty, there’s no age limit to achieving a straighter, healthier smile with braces. In this blog, we’ll look at the problems misaligned teeth can cause and the reasons any number of people can benefit from orthodontic treatment.
Who's a Good Candidate For Braces?
So who’s a good candidate for orthodontic treatment? A lot of people, actually. Studies show that 75% of the population from kids to teens and adults have some sort of malocclusion (or, misaligned teeth) and could benefit from braces.
The truth is you’re never too old to be your best. In fact, one of our patients seeking orthodontic treatment is 72 years old. And while braces can help anyone at any age achieve a stunning new smile, the transformational benefits of treatment go far beyond the cosmetic effects. Recently, our colleague’s daughter overcame a debilitating speech impediment that was a direct result of malocclusion. Her teeth weren’t in the right place which caused a lack of space in her mouth for her tongue to move around to make the correct sounds. Before her treatment, she was a shy girl who mostly kept to herself. After she got braces, she speaks more clearly, is more confident, and more talkative than ever.
If you’re worried you might be too old for braces or that your case may be too complex, don’t be. Orthodontic treatment can have life-changing effects for patients, regardless of age or situation. Your Fort Worth dentist will work with you to create a tailored plan suited just for your needs.
The Importance of Correcting a Bad Bite
Let’s circle back to that m-word we were talking about earlier: “malocclusion.” In orthodontics, a “bite” refers to the way upper and lower teeth come together. A “bad bite,” or malocclusion, means the jaw or teeth are not aligned properly and usually appear as crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and spaces or gaps. While a bad bite might seem primarily like a cosmetic problem, it can lead to a host of other issues such as:
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Speech problems
- Grinding teeth
- Abnormal tooth surface wear
- Tooth loss
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Jaw joint pain
As you can see, malocclusions can lead to a plethora of oral health problems that may also affect your overall well-being. And something that’s not discussed as often, is the impact that these problems can have on your mental health. Let’s take a closer look at these issues below.
Crowded Teeth Are Harder to Clean
Crooked teeth, also known as “crowded teeth,” are one of the most common dental misalignments. It’s rare for people to have naturally, perfectly straight teeth, and while that may impact your self-esteem, the main problem with crowded teeth is their impact on hygiene.
Think about it like this: things are easier to clean when they are straight and easy to reach. That same concept applies to your teeth. When teeth are overlapping or packed tightly together, it’s more challenging to clean in between those spaces and you may be more likely to experience tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and other oral health issues requiring more extensive dental care.
But, this affects more than just your mouth. Studies have shown that oral health has a direct impact on your overall health. When bacteria builds up in your mouth, it can enter your bloodstream and reach organs in your body, which may lead to diabetes, heart disease, birth complications, and even depression.
Misaligned Teeth Makes It Harder For Them to Perform Basic Functions
It’s no surprise that properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, but did you know proper alignment helps them function better too? Your mouth is like a finely calibrated machine and each tooth is intended to meet at certain points so that you can bite, chew and speak properly. However, all it takes is a few misaligned teeth to throw the system out of balance.
When teeth meet at the wrong angle or are not in the correct position, pressure is unevenly distributed across your teeth as you bite and chew. So, every time you eat, one or two teeth end up bearing the brunt of the force that was intended for five or six teeth. This can cause your teeth to wear down faster over time, become chipped or cracked, and can even cause discomfort while eating. In some cases, you may even experience jaw pain, otherwise known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. This is because an improperly aligned bite can place additional strain on the joint, making it harder to perform basic functions, like chewing food or even opening and closing your mouth.
Aesthetic Issues Can Lead to Self Confidence Issues
There’s a misplaced belief that wanting straighter teeth is a vanity issue. While the end goal of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthier mouth, cosmetic concerns are still a valid reason to get braces as misaligned teeth can have a serious impact on the quality of your life. There’s nothing worse than when you hide your smile from the world because you’re embarrassed about your teeth. And studies even show that people with misaligned teeth tend to avoid social situations and relationships because they feel self-conscious.
Orthodontics can correct a range of aesthetic issues from excessive spacing to overbites, gaps, and more, which can have a life-changing impact on someone who’s self-conscious about their smile. In fact, a 2019 study showed that patients who underwent orthodontic treatment gained a significant improvement in self-esteem and social interaction.
Everyone deserves to feel confident about their smile, and seeing a dentist in Fort Worth can help get you on that path.
Our Fort Worth Dentists Can Help You Achieve The Smile You've Always Wanted
Whether your child needs braces or you’re getting them later in life, we are here to help your family’s journey to a healthy, long-lasting smile. At Smile Fort Worth, we understand that everybody’s teeth are unique and we know that some treatment methods will be more suitable than others based on the individual’s needs. If you prefer traditional braces, Invisalign, or other cosmetic procedures, we’ll work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to enable you to look and feel your best—no matter your age.
Ready to take the first step towards the smile you’ve been waiting for? Contact us today to schedule an appointment.