Do I need braces? In this day and age when looks matter probably more than they should, this question gets asked a lot. Dental health is highly important, but straight teeth mean so much more than just a beautiful smile. Crooked teeth can affect your health in ways that may surprise you. From gum disease to bad breath, they may even damage your mental health. We are here to give you tips on how to tell if you need braces. Let’s go over the signs together.

do i need braces

Do I Need Braces? – Signs You Do

Do I need braces? Truth be told, only a dentist can give you a clear answer. However, most people can figure out for themselves by looking for common reasons for concern. It’s very important you identify these problems early on. If you’re an adult, get in for a consultation as soon as possible. If you suspect your child might be needing braces, then it would be best not to waste any more time.

Here are the signs you may be needing braces:

1. Crowding

This is the main reason why people seek orthodontic treatment. When your teeth suffer from crowding, it means that there is not enough space in the mouth for all your teeth. As a result, the teeth crowd each other, thus growing crooked or modifying straight teeth over time. Unfortunately, as time passes, this problem tends to get worse.

There are many reasons why crowding happens. Some people’s mouths are too small for all the teeth to grow properly. Many experience it once the wisdom teeth grow in. Wisdom teeth can actually cause a number of problems, which is why we recommend you see a dentist as soon as they appear. You might need to take them out to prevent issues such as crowding.

Simple dental practices such as brushing or flossing become complicated. Since it is almost impossible to clean all teeth properly, dental problems start to develop. These are caused by the accumulation of plaque. This buildup of biofilm causes tooth decay, halitosis, gum disease, and it may ultimately lead to bone loss.

Do I need braces? A good way to determine if your teeth are crowded is by testing them with dental floss. Try to get the floss between the teeth. If it is very difficult to slide it, this means that your teeth are too close one to the other.

teeth crowding

2. Teeth too far apart

While some people’s teeth grow to close one with the other, some have large gaps between them. If you notice such a gap or your teeth are proportionally small, or have lost a teeth or more, then seek a dentist. Spacing is another reason why people need braces. Furthermore, this issue can impair the functioning of your jar or bite.

missing tooth and far apart teeth

3. Overbite

An overbite means that your upper teeth overlap the lower teeth. The severity of this condition varies but it’s fairly easy to spot it. This is due to the fact that you or other around you may notice that your front teeth stick out more than the lower ones. When you have an overbite, you are at risk of trauma to the front teeth, fracturing of the front teeth when suffering an injury, complications when getting fillings, veneers, and crowns.

patient with overbite

4. Underbite

An underbite is a condition where the lower teeth and jaw overlap the upper teeth. It’s the exact opposite of an overbite. An underbite can make your face appear imbalanced, you may experience difficulty when biting or chewing, and it can even accelerate facial aging.

This condition is caused by genetics, thumb sucking, extended use of a pacifier, and constant thrusting your tongue against the teeth. Do I need braces to fix an underbite? If your child has an underbite, they should get braces as soon as possible. Severe cases of underbite require surgery in order to fix the problem. Don’t let it get this far.

patient with an underbite

5. Open bite

An open bite is defined as a dental condition where the upper and lower teeth extend outwards to a degree in which they do not touch each other. More often than not, it is the patient who is responsible for this problem. The main causes for an open bite are thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, poor resting tongue position, or chewing on a pencil or other object. Bottles and pacifiers who are used for a prolonged period of time or incorrectly used are also a risk factor.

Do I need braces for an open bite even though I don’t appear to have any other dental problems? Yes, because an open bite can cause difficulties biting and speech problems.

patient with open bite

6. Food getting stuck

If the food you eat gets stuck in your teeth, then it may lead to bacteria buildup. Braces can take care of those gaps or pockets found in between your teeth. This way, you can prevent dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

man trying to get food out from between his teeth

7. Halitosis

If your breath smells even though you believe you perform dental hygiene practices correctly, then you might have a problem. Frequent and persistent bad breath is a sign that bacteria has buildup between your crowded or crooked teeth. This issue is called halitosis. But do I need braces for this? Yes, because it will fix whatever is causing the malodor.

woman smelling her breath

8. Speech problems

Listen to how you pronounce words or ask your friends if they have noticed something is wrong. If you have speech problems, such as a lisp, then it may be caused by a malocclusion. By aligning your teeth and jaw with the help of braces, you will get rid of such issues.

woman with letters coming out of her mouth

9. Jaw pain

Jaw pain might be caused by a misaligned jaw. This is due to the fact that it puts to much stress on the temporomandibular joints. Do I need braces just for this? If your jaw hurts often, then you need braces to align it.

woman with jaw pain

Types of Braces – What Should I Get?

Once your dentist or orthodontist has decided that you do indeed need braces, you will have to decide on the type that best fits your needs. There are several types of braces you can choose from:

  • Metal braces. Also known as traditional braces, these are the most noticeable, yet many specialists believe that they are the best for the job. Also the least expensive type, they are perfect even when you are on a tight budget.
  • Ceramic braces. These braces are tooth-colored or have clear brackets that ensure they are almost invisible. They the same size and shape as the traditional ones, yet definitely less noticeable. Of course, they are also more expensive and require more care. If not, the brackets may stain.
  • Lingual braces. These braces have the great advantage of being invisible. This is due to the fact that they are placed on the inside of the teeth. Other than that, they look just as the metal ones. Because of the way they are placed, they are more difficult to clean. Furthermore, if your case is severe, then they won’t be suited for you. Nonetheless, if you are a good candidate for lingual braces and can afford them, then nobody will know you are wearing these appliances.
  • Invisalign. These almost invisible aligners consist of 18 to 30 plastic aligners. They look similar to mouth guards. The good thing about them is that they are removable, but require being replaced every two weeks. However, they do not work for serious dental issues. Children are also not suitable candidates for this method. Of all the other types of braces presented above, Invisalign is the most expensive option. The treatment may also take longer than with other braces.

 The Risks Involving Braces

While you can’t work your way around this if you do need braces, you must also be aware of the risks. Sometimes, problems may appear. Discuss this with your dentist or orthodontist and they will advise you on how to prevent these issues:

  • Tooth discoloration. If you fail to remove the deposits of food from your teeth, then you may experience mineral loss. This affects the outer enamel surface, possibly leaving permanent white stains on the teeth.
  • Tooth decay or gum disease. It is harder to clean your teeth properly when you have braces. Parts of the food you eat can easily get stuck between the brackets and your teeth. This may cause cavities or even gum disease.
  • Shorter root lengths. When the teeth move, some of the bone dissolves as the new bone is laid behind. You may lose a part of the tooth root length during this process. Unfortunately, this is a permanent problem. However, this is a very rare consequence of wearing braces.
  • Loss of correction. The way you care for your teeth during the time you have braces on, but also after removing them, will dictate the outcome of the treatment. When your dentist removes the braces, you will have to wear a retainer for a while. This ensures that your newly straighten teeth remain in the correct position. Every so often, people neglect the importance of retainers. This, of course, will cause the teeth to shift back into an incorrect position.

We hope to have provided you with the necessary insight on how to know if you need braces. These nine signs are the main reasons for concern, and you can easily spot them yourself. However, your dentist or orthodontist is the only one that can place the correct diagnosis.

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