The most obvious benefit of straightening your teeth is aesthetics – everyone notices a straight, beautiful smile! There are many other advantages to straightening your teeth that are much less noticeable, but equally (if not more) important than appearance.
Teeth are meant to fit in a specific way, like pieces of a puzzle. When the pieces don’t fit, they will often wear down unevenly or faster than when the pieces do fit. Tooth wear can lead to damage to the enamel and/or to cracks in the underlying tooth structure. Crooked teeth that don’t bite together correctly wear unevenly and have edges that can become thin. The thin portion can then flake away or break off. Heavy wear or thinning of the enamel is detrimental to the long-term health of your teeth and may make them more sensitive and prone to damage.
The forces of eating and chewing are meant to be absorbed by straight, upright teeth. When teeth are tipped forward, back, or sideways, the forces of biting or chewing are distributed incorrectly. Malpositioned teeth may predispose an individual to gum recession or to increased tooth mobility. Over time, these outcomes negatively affect the long-term health of the teeth and the supporting structures, and may lead to a shortening of the life span of your teeth.
Teeth are used for smiling and talking, as well as for eating. Straightening your teeth will make them work more efficiently, and make it easier and more comfortable to bite and to chew. Misaligned jaws in addition to misaligned teeth can make eating certain foods nearly impossible. In these types of cases, when the teeth and the jaws are ultimately aligned, chewing efficiency may improve immensely.
Can you imagine talking without teeth? Another benefit of straightening your teeth is that in certain cases, alignment can improve speech and enunciation. Certain sounds need the teeth to be in a specific position for the sound to be made clearly. If the teeth are too far forward or have large spaces between them, the tongue cannot ideally position itself and sound can end up slurred or mispronounced.
The lips use the teeth as a support and are part of each person’s unique smile. Tooth alignment can change the way lips are positioned. Tooth alignment may relieve muscle strain that can arise when lips have to strain in order to close over protrusive teeth. Proper alignment may also prevent the lower lip from getting caught repeatedly under the top teeth.
There are many benefits to straightening your teeth, including eating, talking and optimal health. But everyone knows a fabulous straight smile is downright unforgettable!