People often ask, Why should my teeth be straightened? or, Why should my bad bite be fixed?
These are reasonable questions – after all, nobody dies of crooked teeth!
In fact, the vast majority of people with crooked teeth or bad bites (malocclusions) don’t have orthodontic treatment. Furthermore, most of these people don’t develop significant problems from their malocclusions.
In a way, orthodontic treatment can be considered elective.
The common reasons why people proceed with orthodontic treatment are discussed below to help you decide whether you should proceed with orthodontic treatment.
These days, with adequate oral hygiene and regular dental care, you should expect to keep your teeth for a lifetime. Wouldn’t it be nice if your teeth looked straight too?
If you don’t like the appearance of your teeth, then orthodontic treatment can usually solve your problem. In fact, most people who undergo orthodontic treatment do so to improve the appearance of their teeth.
On the other hand, if you’re not concerned about the appearance of your teeth, then you may find little benefit from undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Problems which are claimed to be related to malocclusions include:
Jaw joint problems – some bad bites stress the jaw joint causing damage to the joint and pain in and around the joint.
Tooth wear - some bad bites increase the likelihood of clenching, grinding, and excessive and/or uneven wear of the teeth.
Gum damage - sometimes, when the lower front teeth bite into the gum behind the upper front teeth, severe gum damage can occur.
Tooth cleaning – it’s more difficult to clean crooked teeth, but any tooth can be cleaned with sufficient care and effort.
However, you should be aware that clinical studies haven’t found convincing “cause-and-effect” relationships between malocclusions and these problems. Therefore, no guarantee can be given that, if a malocclusion is corrected, these problems won’t develop.
In spite of the lack of scientific support, most orthodontists suspect that there is less likelihood of these problems developing if the teeth are well-aligned and meet and function perfectly.
Your orthodontist can point out the variations between your teeth and the orthodontic ideal. They can explain how the ideal can be obtained and, with your co-operation, they can obtain that ideal.
However, it is you who must decide whether to proceed with orthodontic treatment or not.