Are Braces Just for Looks?

Many parents seek braces based on how their child’s teeth look.  Adult patients are seeking braces for themselves for the same reason. It’s all about appearance. But are braces really just for looks?

Braces are needed to deal with common problems such as crooked teeth, a crowded mouth, and a poor bite.  These may need a cosmetic fix, but there is much more to it. After the braces come off, a patient has a much better oral health outlook.  Here are some of the reasons why.

Crowded Conditions Lead to Tooth Decay

If teeth are kept clean and seen regularly by a dentist, the patient is more likely to keep those teeth for life.  However, when your toothbrush can’t reach a spot, that spot is vulnerable to plaque.   This can lead to a whole mouth of decay even if the person has tried to be diligent about brushing and flossing.

Wherever teeth overlap, the toothbrush cannot touch every part of the tooth.  It can’t find the gumline.  Since this happens over and over, teeth grow worse over time. Crowded and crooked teeth are more vulnerable to cavities, gum disease, and enamel wear.  As the years pass, the patient becomes more likely to need root canals for damaged teeth.  The cycle continues with tooth loss and bone loss.

Straight, evenly spaced teeth allow for easier daily cleaning. It’s also easier for dental cleanings to reach the spots that need help.  This may seem simple, but it is essential to long-term tooth health.

A Bad Bite Hurts

A bad bite, also known as malocclusion, often causes a patient to regularly bite their cheek during meals.  Even if they don’t, the improper bite puts stress on the muscles and joints that hold the jaw in place.  Poor alignment of the upper and lower jaw may lead to headaches or facial pain.  In the long run, it is associated with TMJ/TMD pain.

Proper orthodontic treatment can correct the bite and protect the patient from jaw-related pain. Sure, it looks better, but more importantly, it feels better every time the patient takes a bite of food.

Teeth Belong Inside

Buck’s teeth have a special vulnerability.  Since they protrude over the front lip, they have less protection. This means that they are more likely to take the full impact of a hit or a fall. This means they may be broken, knocked out or chipped more easily.

With the right orthodontic care, buck teeth can move back inside the mouth. They’ll be better protected from life’s mishaps.

Straightened Teeth May Straighten Out Speech or Chewing Problems

Poor tooth alignment can actually cause chewing problems. In the case of buck teeth, top teeth may hit the bottom teeth when a person is chewing, causing discomfort.  A patient may have trouble swallowing or may not be able to pronounce certain sounds due to teeth misalignment. Kids need help with these problems or they may experience developmental delays.

Correcting speech is an intellectual and mental health imperative that cannot be underestimated.  For that matter, if a child’s eating habits are affected by a bad bite or crooked teeth, it is essential to correct the situation.  That’s a matter of nutrition.

When you hear the word braces, don’t think it’s all about looks. Proper orthodontic treatment is really about your or your child’s oral health.  Straight teeth are destined for a longer, healthier lifespan.


We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.