Beyond providing a great smile, orthodontics also corrects "malocclusions" or bad bites. A malocclusion (the term for crooked, crowded or protruding teeth) occurs when the teeth are not lined up properly. Malocclusions can affect the way a person chews, talks, or smiles, and in some cases, can affect the jaws causing pain and discomfort.
Almost everyone who has experienced orthodontic care can easily list reasons why they had their teeth straightened. Not only has their biting, chewing, and speaking improved, they also find it is much easier to maintain the health of their teeth and gums. Along with teeth that function properly, the lifelong benefit and pleasant "side effect" of orthodontics is that their smile has become an attractive asset. A beautiful smile contributes to self-esteem, increased confidence, and can enhance social and career success. As the orthodontist brings teeth, lips, and face into proportion, he or she shapes not only the smile but also a person's general attitude toward life. People with beautiful smiles have a lot to be happy about!
Twelve early warning signs indicating it is time for an orthodontic exam:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Finger sucking or other oral habits
- Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or retrude
- Speech difficulty
- Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don't meet at all
- Facial imbalance or asymmetry
- Grinding or clenching of teeth