Will I need braces?

One of the most commonly asked questions during a dental cleaning visit is “Do I need braces”?

Most people are aware that the presence of crowded or crooked teeth is always a strong indicator that braces are needed to straighten teeth. However, what most people don’t know is that braces are also necessary to correct the way the upper and lower jaws relate to one another and to correct Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders.

Approximately 75% of the population has a bite in which the upper and lower jaws are not aligning together correctly. In these cases, the lower jaw is usually positioned further back from its normal place. Often when this relationship is present the teeth also tend to have some crowding, but not always. An example of this type of bite is the classic “buck teeth” or deep overbite appearance that most people are familiar with. Orthodontic treatment is indicated in these cases to correct both the bite and any teeth crowding present.

Most people want braces to straighten teeth to improve the esthetic appearance of their smile. However, correcting the bite is also very important to overall health as well. When the lower jaw is positioned far back from its normal position TMJ problems can arise and muscular tension in the facial and neck muscles can develop. There are 26 muscles that are attached to the lower jaw. So when the lower jaw is not positioned well, these muscles can also be in a state of constant tension. Ear aches and chronic ear infections can also be associated with a deep overbite, especially in children. Other possible health concerns include chronic headaches and teeth grinding. Orthodontic treatment affects more than just our teeth. We now know that correcting your bite can ultimately improve overall skeletal posture and health.

In addition, correcting deep overbites and buck teeth in the absence of crowded teeth helps to alter negative facial traits and create positive facial esthetics. Only about 8% of the population has a totally perfect bite and smile. So…to answer one of the most commonly asked questions…”Do I need braces?”, unless your one of those very lucky people within that 8% most likely orthodontic treatment will be beneficial in correcting any slight or severe teeth crowding or any jaw/bite misalignment that is present.

Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH) trained in orthodontic treatment can examine your bite during a dental cleaning appointment and help to answer questions about orthodontic treatment.

Pina Mazza is a registered dental hygienist trained in orthodontic treatment. Visit Maple Dental Hygiene Care.


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