Many people think of braces as a right of passage that we subject pre-teens and teens to in the midst of their most awkward years just to ensure they have a nice straight smile by the time they reach adulthood. But the truth is that braces can benefit people of all ages and not all of the reasons to get braces are aesthetic.
While most of us think of getting braces in order to have straight teeth, braces have a purpose beyond cosmetics. Braces can be used to treat misaligned bites (the technical term is malocclusion), which left untreated can contribute to difficulty chewing, jaw pain, and uneven wear on your teeth. Once your braces treatment is finished, you’ll get the benefit of a beautiful smile that is also functional.
In addition to this, braces have other benefits for your oral health: straight, properly spaced teeth are also easier to clean. When your teeth are properly aligned there are fewer places where your toothbrush can’t reach that might accumulate bacteria and plaque that could lead to tooth decay. The same goes for properly spaced teeth: it is much easier to floss teeth that are not too crowded.
Another side benefit of braces treatment is an improvement to your facial aesthetics. If the purpose of your braces is to fix an underbite, overbite or otherwise misaligned bite, the result may also result in a more proportional and attractive relationship between your jaw and the rest of your face. It should be noted that more severe jaw alignment problems cannot be fixed by braces alone and may also require jaw surgery. While facial aesthetics alone are not necessarily a reason to get braces, improvements in this area are often seen once treatment is finished.
Your options for orthodontic treatment may vary when it comes to braces that are for primarily for cosmetic versus structural purposes. Many of the clear or quick options, such as clear aligners, may not be able to fix more complex orthodontic problems the way that traditional braces can. But while traditional braces may not be as attractive or fast as other braces or aligners, you will still end up with a beautiful, straight smile at the end of your treatment. No two sets of teeth are quite the same, so start a discussion with your doctor or orthodontist about which braces options might be right for you.
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