Posted on 2/22/2019 by Dr. Seth Senestraro
|Some of us may wait eagerly for those prized brackets, but many, particularly teens, may drag their feet on the way to their Portland orthodontist. The thought of “extra work” and a little more oral equipment than they're used to can be… daunting.
The flip side of this is: there are actually long term health problems associated with malocclusion. Beyond a confident smile, orthodontic work is regarded as preventive dental medicine that can have wide-ranging effects.
Malocclusion (the medical term for over-crowded or crooked teeth) isn't just an issue for the mirror, an overcrowded mouth can actually lead to tooth decay. Because crowded teeth are much more difficult to clean properly, patients may struggle with oral hygiene despite their best efforts. Flossing can be challenging if teeth are grouped too tightly, and brushing might not reach all the hiding places where bacteria live.
At first glance, it's easy to think a cavity here or there is a discrete problem affecting only your mouth, but a growing body of scientific evidence is showing that oral decay is linked to systemic problems like heart disease and alzheimer's!
Worn tooth enamel
This is actually another reason why malocclusion can cause tooth decay. If teeth aren't aligned properly, certain teeth may get worn down simply by talking, chewing, and going about the business of being a person.
The reason why your orthodontist is concerned about worn tooth enamel is that this leads to tooth decay; your enamel is the hardest substance in your body, and it protects the “softer” parts of your teeth from invasion by microbes. When enamel is broken down by abnormal wear and tear, your teeth are susceptible to cavities.
The shape of our mouths is critical when it comes to forming words and communicating. Malocclusion in younger children can lead to speech problems or difficulty in shaping the words they are just beginning to know.
Speech problems can have a significant impact on a child's self-esteem, social interactions, and how he or she performs in school. This is a critical example of how widely malocclusion can affect an individual's life.
Chewing and jaw problems
On top of abnormal wear and tear to teeth, resulting in the uneven erosion of enamel and consequent susceptibility to cavities, this abnormal wear can also result in jaw pain, or TMJ. This is because the human jaw has evolved to operate based on a pretty much one type of tooth arrangement. Uneven teeth can impact the muscles of the jaw, causing long term problems.
Additionally, patients with malocclusion are actually more vulnerable to poor digestion because their teeth are less adept at proper chewing. So in addition to a sore jaw, they may also be suffering from a belly ache!
Your orthodontist isn't only concerned about your happy, healthy smile, at Senestraro Family Orthodontics, we have the health of your entire body in mind. To learn more about how we can make a difference in a happy, healthier you, call now for your free consultation!