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Benefits of Having Straight Teeth

March 5th, 2021

STRAIGHT TEETH AREN’T just about looking good. People with straight teeth are perceived as being wealthier, happier, and more attractive than people with crooked teeth, and it can definitely be a nice confidence boost. What we want to focus on, though, are the very real health benefits that come with having straight teeth.

Straight Teeth Help With Clear Speech

Crooked or crowded teeth or a bad bite (such as a severe overbite or an underbite) can make it harder to enunciate clearly when speaking. We need our tongues, teeth, and lips in the right places to make the correct sounds, and if our teeth aren’t where they should be, then we have to try to compensate for it, which isn’t always very effective. Orthodontic treatment can help with that. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to figure out how to speak clearly around braces or a retainer. That will all be worth it at the end of treatment!

Straight Teeth Help With…Digestion?

It might sound strange, but yes, having straight teeth does help improve digestion. Chewing is a crucial step in the digestive process, and not just because it breaks food into small enough pieces to swallow. As our teeth grind up the food, digestive enzymes in our saliva begin to break it down chemically.

Poorly aligned teeth make it hard to get the most out of this step in the process, which puts a heavier burden on the rest of the digestive system and leads to gastrointestinal issues. It can even make it more difficult to lose weight!

It’s Easier to Breathe With Straight Teeth

First speaking, then eating, but breathing? What does breathing have to do with a straight smile? It’s about the way our teeth fit together. If you aren’t able to comfortably close your jaws when resting, then odds are you’ll end up breathing through your mouth more often. Mouth breathing is linked with many negative health effects, from dry mouth (which makes gum disease and tooth decay more likely) to bad breath to lower energy levels and difficulty focusing.

Straight Teeth Are Easier on the Jaws

A bad bite makes problems with the jaw joint (such as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMD) much more likely. Symptoms of a jaw problem include clicking sounds when moving the jaw, jaw pain, and even frequent headaches.

It’s Easier to Clean Straight Teeth

Teeth that overlap each other and are crowded together can be harder to effectively clean. There are more tight spaces that are hard to reach and easy to miss, leaving them more at risk of decay. It’s much easier to clean all the surfaces of straight teeth and keep that plaque at bay!

Let’s Get Started on a Straighter Smile!

Even if the aesthetics of a crooked smile have never bothered you, you could still be missing out on the health and function benefits of having a properly aligned smile. Just about everything we need teeth for works better when our teeth are straight. If you have any questions about the advantages of a straight smile, just give us a call!

We love helping patients achieve their smile goals!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Lip and Tongue Ties

January 28th, 2021

DID YOU KNOW that it is possible to be tongue-tied in a medical sense? That’s right, it’s not just an expression. Lip ties and tongue ties are what we call it when the thin pieces of tissue that connect the upper lip to the gums and the tongue to the floor of the mouth are thicker and tighter than usual. These pieces of tissue are called frenula (frenum singular).

What’s Normal for a Frenum?

A normal frenum is supposed to be thin and highly elastic. This allows free mobility of the lips and tongue, which we need in order to chew, swallow, and talk normally. When the frenum under the tongue is too restrictive, it makes it harder to pronounce words correctly or chew effectively. Some people with tongue ties can’t even touch their tongues to the roofs of their mouths! They also can’t use their tongues to clean pieces of stuck food away.

A lip tie affects the frenum between the upper lip and the gums. Infants with lip ties may not be able to effectively latch when breastfeeding, and it can cause a large gap between the front teeth when they grow in as well as increasing the risk of gum recession.

Frenectomies: Untying Lips and Tongues

Fortunately, lip and tongue ties are easy to correct, thanks to a simple surgery called frenectomy. A frenectomy removes or reduces the abnormal frenum. It can be done quickly and there isn’t a long recovery period afterward. The doctor simply numbs the area and makes a small incision in the frenulum to release the lip or tongue. One technique to make recovery time even shorter and further reduce the risk of complications is to use laser surgery.

This procedure is one worth learning more about if you believe you or your child might have a lip tie or a tongue tie, particularly if it’s causing pain or discomfort, in addition to the complications mentioned above. After the surgery, make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully so that recovery will be as quick and smooth as possible!

Who Can Diagnose a Tongue or Lip Tie?

Most of us are fortunate enough to have thin, stretchy frenula that don’t get in the way of the movement of our lips and tongue, but if you or your child are having difficulties, a dentist or orthodontist is a great place to start! They can then determine whether a frenectomy would be a good solution.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

How COVID-19 Created the Perfect Time to Get Braces

December 11th, 2020

It seems counterintuitive to say that the pandemic has created the perfect opportunity for patients to seek orthodontic treatment, but it’s true! If you have always wanted to transform your smile, but were hesitant about actually wearing braces, this really may be the right time for you.

Over the past few months, we have noticed a substantial increase in the number of people – especially adults - starting treatment with our office! When asked what lead them to seek out treatment, the most common response we get is that this is the perfect time for braces, because so much of the transformation will be completed behind a mask.

Having Braces During COVID-19

Here are a few things to ease your mind about starting your smile transformation and visiting our office during this time:

  1. If you considered the esthetics of braces to be a barrier, you can now rest easy knowing that much of your smile transformation can happen behind your mask!
  2. Working from home? This allows you to accomplish much of your treatment and get accustomed to your braces from the comfort of your home!
  3. We have always upheld the highest level of sterilization and disinfection in our office. This past year, we have implemented even more ways of keeping our patients, staff, and doctors safe so that we can continue to create beautiful smiles in a safe and healthy environment.

When the Mask Comes Off…

This year has turned into one of self-improvement for many, both mentally and physically. Why not extend that to your smile, too? Straighter teeth not only make for fabulous, confident smiles, but they are also much healthier, easier to clean, and function properly! If you’ve been thinking about straightening your smile, simply give our office a call. We would love to meet you to discuss your unique treatment goals.

You could be well on your way to the smile of your dreams when the mask comes off! What are you waiting for?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock free images.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions

Why Do We Get Crooked Teeth?

August 18th, 2020

 

IT’S NOT ALWAYS fair or logical, but we get judged on our appearance all the time, and having crooked or straight teeth is a big factor in that. Studies show that people with straight teeth are perceived to be more successful, smarter, and more likely to get dates than those with crooked teeth. But why do crooked teeth happen in the first place?

The Impact of Diet on Dental Alignment

It still isn’t entirely clear what causes teeth to grow in crooked, but one of the current leading theories is called the Soft Foods Theory. The basic idea is that we eat much softer foods than our hunter-gatherer ancestors did, so we aren’t stimulating as much bone growth in our jaws when we chew our food, which leaves our teeth with insufficient space to grow in straight. We also might be getting fewer of the vitamins and minerals that help teeth and bones grow.

That doesn’t mean you should change to a hunter-gatherer diet; the downside of having to chew so much more is that the teeth are subject to a significant amount of additional wear and tear. Personally, we think needing a little orthodontic treatment is a much better deal than an increased risk of wearing out our teeth.

The Impact of Genes

Another contributing cause of crooked teeth is our genes. If you inherit a small jaw from your mother and large teeth from your father, they probably won’t fit together very neatly. Children of parents who had braces are also more likely to need them, but that could be at least partly because parents who had braces know the benefits of having straight teeth better than other parents who didn’t!

Daily Habits Have a Real Impact on Teeth

We can’t control what genes we get and a hunter-gatherer diet doesn’t sound very fun, but there’s another factor that absolutely impacts dental alignment, and that’s daily habits. The good news is that this is one factor we can control. Some of the habits that can seriously affect a dental arch are thumb sucking or pacifier use beyond age four, habitual mouth breathing, a tongue-thrust reflex, and even simply resting your chin on your hand a lot!

Teeth Continue to Shift as We Get Older

Even someone who had straight teeth as a kid or who got them thanks to orthodontic treatment can still have their teeth shift as they age. This is called mesial drift. Over decades of chewing and talking, our teeth rub against each other countless times, which can gradually wear away at the sides of each tooth, making them a tiny bit narrower. When this happens, they can scoot closer together and gradually push towards the front of the mouth, which is why older adults sometimes need braces too! This can be prevented by following your orthodontist's instructions and always wearing your retainer - it's a lifelong commitment!

Bring Any Alignment Issues to the Orthodontist!

Whether you have crowding issues because of genes, habits, or a lifetime of eating processed foods, the orthodontist can help you get the smile you deserve. Give us a call to set up a consultation so we can start developing your unique treatment plan!

We can’t wait to see your braces before and after pictures!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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