When I discuss cosmetic dentistry with patients who wish to improve the appearance of their smiles, our conversation doesn’t just focus on creating a smile of white, pretty teeth. We discuss the importance of the shape, size, and position of teeth to ensure a balanced, natural appearance.
While today’s cosmetic dental techniques and materials provide exceptional options for a natural look and feel, every tooth involved in treatment plays a bigger role than merely how it appears in a smile.
The mouth is structured to support an upper row and lower row of teeth. Each tooth supports the teeth on both sides as well as the tooth above (or below), helping to keep it at a proper length.
These arches of teeth hold various shapes and sizes that, together, are designed to work harmoniously.
While a proper bite is necessary for good oral health (affecting our overall health, which I’ll explain further below), a beautiful smile relies on the correct positions of teeth as much as it does their shape and shade.
It doesn’t take much to trigger ‘malocclusion.’ This is when the bite becomes misaligned, typically due to a lost tooth or one that tilts or turns out of position. Like dominoes, it only takes one to cause a like reaction to the others.
When one tooth becomes ‘crooked,’ adjacent teeth no longer have the bolstering support they need and can tilt or turn as well, and so on for the next one and next. Crooked teeth mar the appearance of a smile, creating a jumbled appearance. Yet, they cause more problems as well.
Crooked teeth are more difficult to keep clean. The tight angles and nooks formed when crowded, crooked teeth bunch up make it more difficult for the bristles of a toothbrush to do a thorough job at removing oral bacteria. Flossing becomes more challenging in these areas as well.
When oral bacteria are not thoroughly cleansed from the mouth, they quickly form a sticky film of plaque that coats the teeth and gums. Here’s how you can feel plaque with your tongue: Brush your teeth in the morning and then run your tongue over them. Feel how slick and clean they are? Before you brush in the evening, run your tongue over them again. You’ll feel something coating them and your mouth won’t feel as clean and fresh. This is accumulated oral bacteria and the origin of nearly every oral problem that exists.
Oral bacteria is the cause of periodontal (gum) disease, cavities, and most tooth loss. It can also become bloodborne and trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Research has linked the infectious bacteria of gum disease to a long list of serious health problems. These include heart disease, stroke, preterm babies, some cancers, arthritis and diabetes.
Yet, the problems of misaligned teeth aren’t limited to the ability to keep them clean. Crooked teeth generally mean that the upper and lower teeth fail to fit in a unified way. When they do not rest together comfortably or work together harmoniously (such as during chewing), the stress and strain can be transferred to the jaw joints.
TMJ Disorder is generally the result of an improperly-aligned bite. Although it can lead to sore jaw joints, headaches, migraines, ear ringing, dizziness, and difficulty opening the mouth fully, it is the teeth that typically take the biggest brunt of the problem.
Teeth that don’t work together can ‘hit’ incorrectly, resulting in teeth that are chipped, cracked, fractured and broken. And, during sleep, teeth can grind or clench together, eventually leading to worn teeth.
For many adults, the thoughts of realigning natural teeth conjures visions of uncomfortable brackets and wires – not to mention the awkward look of braces. Even clear brackets and bands can stand out in a way that is less-than-flattering for adults.
When combined with the dread of the prickly feel to tender gums and the ordeal of keeping food out of wires and brackets, it’s no wonder that some adults ignore the need to straighten crooked smiles.
Invisalign to the rescue! The Invisalign process uses clear, custom-designed molds that snap over your teeth, gently moving them in stages that are appropriate for you. They can be removed for eating and brushing and are virtually undetectable in a smile. For some adults, they can move teeth at a pace that is faster than traditional orthodontics.
Invisalign can eliminate the awkward look and uncomfortable feel of braces so you can enjoy an appealing smile with your natural teeth. This also allows you to protect the integrity of your natural tooth structures, supporting their own ability to remain healthy.
As a Certified Invisalign provider, I’ve helped many patients to gently ease teeth into proper alignment for a beautiful, healthy smile. If you suffer with crowding or misaligned teeth but have avoided having them straightened because of the challenges associated with braces, call 910-254-4555 to arrange for a free consultation.
Having a smile of straight teeth will enhance your appearance and oral health. I look forward to discussing how this can be achieved through Invisalign with you soon. Call to schedule or tap here to begin.