How Misalignment of Your Teeth Can Affect the Health of Your Smile - Brookline Dental Specialists
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How Misalignment of Your Teeth Can Affect the Health of Your Smile

How Misalignment of Your Teeth Can Affect the Health of Your Smile

If you think that orthodontic treatments are only for correcting the appearance of your smile, you are not alone. Most people think of traditional braces or Invisalign clear aligners only as a means of straightening a person’s smile.

However, these orthodontic treatments can also be used to fix malocclusion, the technical term for misaligned teeth. Misaligned teeth can seriously impact not only the appearance but also the overall health of your smile.

Here are just some of the ways misalignment can affect the health of your smile:

Difficulty in Cleaning

Misaligned teeth can make it challenging to clean between teeth properly. Overcrowding or spacing issues can lead to plaque buildup and increase the risk of developing tooth decay, inflammation, and gum disease.

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

When your teeth are crowded or spaced too widely, it can cause “pockets” to form between teeth and gums where bacteria can thrive, increasing your risk of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to serious dental health issues, like bone and tooth loss.

Uneven Wear and Tear

If misaligned teeth do not come together correctly when you bite down, it can cause certain teeth to bear more of the chewing forces than others. This can result in uneven wear and tear on your teeth, premature erosion of tooth enamel, chipping, and fractures.

Gum Recession

Teeth that are misaligned often shift to a tilted-up position, which can wear down the roots of the teeth and damage the surrounding gum tissue, causing gum recession. Gum recession is irreversible and can lead to permanent tooth loss.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

Tooth misalignment can also affect the alignment of your jaw, potentially leading to TMJ disorders. Symptoms of TMJ disorders include jaw pain, headaches, difficulty chewing, and clicking or popping noises when you open or close your mouth. TMJ disorders can significantly impact your overall quality of life and may require specialized treatment to manage.

Symptoms of Misalignment

One of the most common symptoms of misalignment is jaw pain. Jaw pain occurs when the upper and lower teeth are not naturally resting against one another, creating strain on the jaw muscles.

Another symptom of misalignment is teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Grinding your teeth not only leads to further jaw pain but can also affect the shape of your teeth and expose nerve endings.

Treatments for Misalignment

When properly diagnosed by an experienced orthodontist, there are effective treatments to correct misalignment and protect the health of your smile. One of these treatments is traditional metal braces. Metal braces are affixed to teeth and slowly adjusted to bring teeth back into alignment.

Another treatment option is Invisalign aligners. With Invisalign, teeth are straightened by wearing custom-fit aligners, which can be removed at mealtimes and for cleaning. The aligners are made of a clear plastic that is practically unnoticeable, so only you know you are wearing them!

Correcting misalignment through orthodontic treatment not only improves the appearance of your smile but also plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your smile! Regular dental check-ups can help identify alignment issues early on, allowing for timely intervention and more effective treatment.

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