Everyone wants a beautiful smile, and Invisalign offers a wonderful solution for those not happy with the appearance of their crooked or poorly aligned teeth. But properly aligned, healthy teeth not only look better but last longer and are less likely to require costly dental work in the future.
And, good tooth alignment is also exceedingly important for the long-term health of your teeth, gums and jaw.
By choosing to straighten your teeth, you can not only look forward to a beautiful smile, but you will be improving your overall health and have far fewer chances of developing gum disease, or mandibular joint problems or badly worn teeth. Here’s why.
Crooked, poorly aligned teeth (a.k.a. malocclusion) is suffered by approximately 74% of adults in the US, to a greater or lesser degree. If left untreated, those with poorly aligned teeth are more likely to suffer periodontal disease, premature wear (resulting in teeth grinding, wearing away, chipping or fracturing), and negatively affect your overall health.
Not all teeth alignment problems can be avoided, though. Genetics causes many of these problems. However, depending on the severity, it is recommended that tooth alignment issues are treated. Tooth alignment problems include:
- Overcrowded Teeth – When there is not enough room in your jaw for all your teeth to fit normally. If left untreated, plaque can accumulate (due to difficulty cleaning the teeth), resulting in tooth decay and potential gum disease.
- Widely Spaced Teeth – When you have extra space within your jaw due to genetics, small teeth, abnormal growth in your jaw bones, missing teeth (the remaining teeth spread out as there is nothing to keep them in proper alignment) or problems caused by tongue protrusion. When too much gum is exposed, as there are not enough teeth to protect the gums, periodontal disease can develop.
- Overbite – When the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. This can be caused by bad oral habits (e.g. thumb sucking), genetics, or too much bone development around the area that supports the teeth. Irritation, tooth wear on the lower teeth and painful jaw problems can occur if untreated.
- Underbite – When the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth. And underbite is usually caused by a lack of growth in the upper jaw, too much growth in the lower jaw – or even both. Sometimes it can be caused by missing upper teeth. Those with and underbite can suffer as normal function of the teeth and jaw are not possible, resulting in tooth wear and painful jaw bone and joint issues.
- Crossbite – When both upper and lower jaws have poorly aligned teeth, one or more of the upper teeth can bite on the inside of the lower teeth. This can occur on both the sides and front of the mouth. Without treating the crossbite, patients can experience worn teeth, bone loss and gum disease.