Inevitably this question comes up with many parents during a consultation…. Doc I get it…straight teeth are nice, but is it really necessary??

Like many medical and dental services, orthodontic treatment should aim to improve the overall well-being of the patient. With this at the forefront, every consultation should focus on the patient’s unique needs and wants. This article will aim to differentiate between the needs and wants that are addressed with orthodontic treatment. The reality is that they both play an important role but may be prioritized more by some patients at different times.

Why Would Someone Want Braces?

People with outstanding smiles display more confidence in social interactions, may have an easier time finding a job, and are perceived by their peers as being more successful. Numerous studies recently published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics have shown this to be the case in several cultures around the world. In addition, straight alignment of teeth creates an environment for improved hygiene and better function. For these reasons, it is easy to see why many people in this country want and desire an amazing smile.

A girl that is happy with the way she looks with her braces

Why Do I Need Braces?

While these reasons may answer why one may want braces, are there reasons backed by science for why someone may need them? In reality, the question should be, do we even need teeth? There are plenty of people all across the globe who have lived most of their adult lives with no teeth and still eat their favorite foods, have many friends and live truly fulfilled lives. However, the majority of people in the world and especially in the United States value their teeth and want what is best for their overall health. We recognize that having healthy teeth and gums of which we are proud of is important to our quality of life.

So again with this context in mind, the answer is yes. Some people do need orthodontic treatment in order to have optimal oral health. Many fall into the category of early/interceptive treatment or interdisciplinary treatment (orthodontics as part of an overall dental plan). Research shows the following need to be addressed because they will affect jaw growth and the overall health of the teeth:

  1. Severe crowding where adult teeth cannot come in on their own (impaction),
  2. Crossbites in the back that affect chewing (usually due to a mismatch in the upper and lower jaws),
  3. Underbites (usually same reason as #2),
  4. Severe overbites in active children that make trauma to the upper front teeth likely,
  5. Open bites due to thumb sucking or other harmful habits. ()

We only get one set of adult teeth. Unlike sharks who sprout a new set every year, once we get our adult teeth that’s it! Give yourself the best possible set. We at Orthodontic Specialists Indian Valley love to share information and will always develop a plan that is unique to you. No one should go through life ashamed of their smile. Call today to make an appointment, or pre-book on our webpage!