Orthodontics Aren’t Just Cosmetics

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Guest Blogger: Jenna

imageOn the heels of $20 copayments at the doctor’s office, expensive trips to the pharmacy, and a fresh set of eyeglass frames, we often feel reluctant to initiate long-term expenditures at an orthodontist’s office.

Your child’s teeth might look pretty good to you, after all, and aren’t braces mainly for providing a supermodel smile?

The truth is that correcting the alignment of your children’s teeth doesn’t just make them look fabulous. It provides real dental value that will stay with them throughout their lives. And unlike most cosmetic procedures, we associate with the rich and famous, good orthodontic work won’t slowly fade away with age. Done properly, it’s a correction made for life.

York Mills Orthodontics sees a steady stream of children and adults whose teeth seemed good enough, but upon examination proved to be in need of help. If you aren’t quite ready to make an appointment, consider these items and see if your decision doesn’t get a little easier.

Painful Intrusions

Regardless of all the jokes about toothless grandparents tearing into a T-bone and gumming their way through the meal, pressure against gums is painful.

Misaligned teeth provide too many opportunities for seeds, sharp potato chip edges, and every other problem food in the world to get past the chewing zone and into the gums. Improper bites can also cause top and bottom teeth to collide during impacts such as sports collisions or ordinary childhood falls, leading to chipped, cavity-prone teeth.

More Complicated Dental Hygiene

If you’ve ever set about cleaning ceramic tile, you know how much easier it would be if not for those pesky grout joints. From that experience, you know that a flat, smooth surface is an easier surface to clean.

Teeth are the same way. If the upper teeth are all in line except one that’s turned out of line, the deeper part of that tooth’s front surface may be tough to contact with a brush. Overcrowded teeth are harder to floss, and any excessive space can welcome unwanted food particles that wedge between the tooth and gum, possibly leading to gingivitis.

Teeth that are properly aligned and spaced are easier to brush and floss, and they create a much lower likelihood of cavities. In both childhood and adulthood, people with straighter teeth have a much easier time keeping them clean.

Yes, It’s Cosmetic, But So Much Deeper

For all the health value of orthodontic correction, there are still aesthetic reasons for doing so. But this is not cosmetic in the same way as a few laugh lines or unwanted arm flab.

A child whose teeth aren’t properly aligned is often teased by schoolmates and siblings. In adulthood, they may be asked why their parents didn’t correct their teeth when they were younger. Unfair as it is, people do make value judgments about you if your teeth aren’t reasonably well aligned.

The effects of those behaviors can be far-reaching and lifelong. A child may be reluctant to smile, or may do so only with lips together. He or she may feel unattractive, and may ultimately not worry about other cosmetic issues; “my teeth are so crooked, what does my hair matter?”

So despite the general perception that cosmetic body changes are vain and shallow, at least in the case of teeth, it’s more far-reaching than that. Over the long haul, people of any age will see far more benefit from orthodontic work than just the million-dollar smile it will get them. They will find it much easier to eat (and clean up from!) their favorite foods, leading to happier, healthier lives.

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