How Do You Know If You Need Braces?

How Do You Know If You Need Braces?

A snorty laugh. A lopsided smile. Our imperfections make us beautifully human.  But when it comes to our teeth, certain imperfections should be corrected in order to avoid costly dental complications. For example, a gapped tooth smile can be cute, but if the gap is too wide or if there are spaces between too many of the teeth, it can alter the bite and ultimately have a negative impact on the person’s overall oral health. Fortunately, modern dental technology provides solutions for a number of functional imperfections. Braces are one of the most common and most effective solutions for restoring healthy smiles. But how do you know if your dental imperfections are just quirks that make you you, or if you need braces to fix them? Here are eight signs that you may need braces. 


Problems with chewing

When your teeth are out of alignment, it can result in difficulties with chewing your food. Chewing properly is important for smooth digestion and nutrient absorption. Misaligned teeth can affect your digestion, your enjoyment of food, and your overall health.  Braces help bring your teeth back into alignment. Check out How much do invisible braces cost?


Overlapping teeth

Overlapping teeth can result in a range of dental problems. In addition to negatively impacting your ability to chew properly, overlapping teeth also cause issues with bruxism and an increased risk of tooth decay. Braces can straighten your teeth and resolve the overlap. 


Baby teeth remain after age 12

Most people lose all their baby teeth before age 12. If any baby teeth remain after age 12, it’s typically a sign that orthodontic treatment is needed. Whether the issue is crowded teeth, malpositioned teeth, or impacted teeth, braces are often an important part of the solution. 


Late or delayed permanent teeth

In most cases, a permanent tooth will erupt within six months of losing the baby tooth. Sometimes, it takes as long as a year, but anything longer than that is considered a delayed eruption. The exact treatment will depend on the cause of the delayed eruption, but in many cases, braces are used to create space and encourage the growth of the permanent tooth.  


Gaps between the teeth

Large spaces and gaps between the teeth can be plaque traps that increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.  Gaps can also alter the bite, leading to a higher likelihood of chewing problems, chipped teeth, and jaw problems. Braces help move the teeth into proper alignment and close the gaps. 


Crowded teeth

Dental crowding is a common orthodontic concern. Overcrowded teeth are vulnerable to decay, gum disease, and impact injuries. They can also cause misalignment of the jaw, chronic stress headaches, and neck and jaw pain. Braces can correct crowded teeth, providing gentle pressure that moves them into their proper position.  


Frequent cheek biting

Frequent accidental biting of the cheek, lips, or tongue may be a sign of malocclusion, or misaligned bite.  Cheek biting can also be caused by a nervous habit, a deviated molar, or an ill-fitting crown, but when the cause is misalignment of teeth, braces are often an effective solution. 


Abnormal bite

In a healthy bite, the teeth are symmetrical and the upper jaw sits slightly over the lower jaw,  putting even pressure on all teeth when biting and chewing.  An abnormal bite occurs when the upper teeth extend beyond the lower teeth (overbite), when the lower teeth extend beyond the upper teeth (underbite), or when some of the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth (crossbite). These and other abnormal bites cause uneven wear and tear on the teeth and result in further dental complications. In the majority of cases, braces are an effective solution for correcting the bite and properly aligning the teeth. 

Orthodontic treatment in San Diego 

At Smile Designers in San Diego, we’re not just concerned about how well you brush your teeth—we’re concerned with your overall oral health, including the position of your teeth and the health of your bite.  Whether you have concerns about your own teeth or those of your child, we’re here to help you achieve your healthiest, most vibrant smile.  For more information about standard dental services, cosmetic dental services, or orthodontics at Smile Designers, give us a call at (619) 222-6000 today.