Align Your Smile with Traditional Metal Braces or Invisalign®
Orthodontics are about far more than just aesthetics. Sure, you want your smile to be straight and perfect because it will make you look better, but aligned teeth and a proper bite also give you a healthier smile. Traditional metal braces and Invisalign® are two effective and proven options for straightening your smile.
Determining Who Needs Braces
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have an initial orthodontic evaluation at the first sign of orthodontic problems, but no later than 7 years of age. This early check-up allows a dentist or orthodontist to evaluate your child’s bite and how his or her teeth are developing. Major alignment issues can be addressed sooner rather than later – and sometimes this might even free an adolescent from having to wear braces when they get a little older.
Parents shouldn’t be expected to identify whether or not their child needs an orthodontic solution. Some of the symptoms are very subtle. There are, however, a few signs that may indicate the need for a check-up, no matter your child’s age:
- Losing baby teeth too early or very late
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Breathing through the mouth
- Jaws that shift or make noise
- Misplaced, crowded, or blocked teeth
- Teeth that do not meet or meet abnormally
- Jaw and teeth out of proportion to the rest of the face
- Biting the roof of the mouth or the cheeks
- Abnormally shaped teeth
It’s safe to say that if you had braces, there’s a good chance that your child might need them as well. Malocclusion – misalignment – is often an inherited condition. But there are also habits that can impact whether or not a child will need braces. These practices can be altered by the conscientious parent or early orthodontic intervention so that jaw development is not interrupted and extreme treatment is not necessary:
- Sucking a finger or thumb
- Using a pacifier past the age of 3
- Prolonged use of a bottle
- Poor dental care
Types of Alignment Problems
While plenty of people believe that they don’t need an aligned smile to succeed in life or to be happy, it’s amazing how transformative a straight smile can actually be. Besides the obvious aesthetic benefits, an aligned smile helps you eat better, digest your food better, speak better, and be pain-free. Plus, it’s much easier to clean aligned teeth, and that means a lower risk of tooth decay or gum disease.
So just how poorly aligned do teeth have to be to warrant orthodontics? A little or a lot is the easiest answer. But here are the most common types of misalignment, also known as malocclusion:
- Crowded teeth
- Open bite
When your teeth are misaligned, this can lead to major oral health complications, and your teeth will be unable to perform their vital functions. Teeth should easily fit within the confines of your mouth without being twisted and without any spacing or crowding problems.
There is no rule that says braces are reserved for adolescents as a mortifying rite of passage. While being a “brace face” or “metal mouth” at any age is understandably undesirable, braces don’t have to be embarrassing. As a professional adult, an aligned smile can catapult you to a new level, improving your self-confidence, appearance, and speech.
While some adults do opt for or require traditional metal braces to align their teeth, Invisalign® is the modern innovation that has opened up the possibility of having straight teeth to people who will never agree to metal brackets or wires on their teeth. Invisalign® isn’t the “easy” way to get braces – this method of orthodontics certainly requires its own level of dedication – but Invisalign® is more appealing to adults because of its flexibility, particularly the ability to remove the clear aligners to eat and clean your teeth.
Deciding Between Traditional Metal Braces and Invisalign®
In some cases, traditional metal braces will be the best option for tooth alignment. In other situations, Invisalign® will get the job done. Both types of orthodontia are effective and powerful in straightening a smile, but not every person is eligible for both options – your dentist will tell you what’s possible and what will be best for your oral health.
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