So you think braces are just about great looks? And only for children or teenagers anyway? No! Braces are not just about a dazzling smile, although this is certainly a huge bonus and often the main reason why people are getting their teeth straightened. But beyond good looks there can be many compelling reasons for orthodontic braces – at any age.
Healthy gums are important because they are the structures that hold our teeth in place. But when teeth are hard to clean, bacteria tend to accumulate and cause infection along the gum line. Brushing and flossing between crowded or misaligned teeth can be a difficult task. Cleaning between straightened teeth is much easier and thus significantly reduces the risk of gum disease. Thoroughly cleaned teeth also go a long way in helping to eliminate bad breath.
The difference between teeth and the bite
But it’s not just about individual teeth. Misaligned teeth often cause an improper bite, i.e. a situation where the upper and lower arches don’t fit together. Apart from the cosmetic aspects of so called malocclusion many other associated problems are common. Misaligned teeth can rub and grind against each other causing uneven wear and ultimately damage of tooth enamel, which makes teeth vulnerable to cavities. An uneven distribution of pressure or unusual stress on certain teeth can also make them weaker and susceptible to chipping or breaking.
An improper bite can also often be the cause for sensitivity or pain around the jaw or ear, or even general headaches that originate in the temporomandibular joint. This is the hinge that attaches the jaw to the skull and makes it possible for the jaw to move up and down and side to side, so we can talk, chew, and yawn.
Problems further down the line
And last but not least: one of the side effects of misaligned teeth is difficulty in chewing food. Yet teeth play an important role in digestion by breaking down food and mixing it with saliva before it enters the stomach. Food that is not properly chewed can cause gastrointestinal problems and prevent nutrients from being fully absorbed.
Unfortunately teeth can shift at any age. Even people who had straight teeth in the past may at some stage discover a crooked tooth or suffer the consequences of a misaligned bite. The good news is: teeth can be shifted, or shifted back into alignment at any age, and it doesn’t take as long as you may have thought. Nicholas Cage, Tom Cruise and Faye Dunaway got braces later in life.
Closer to home and less famous, our record holder for adult braces is a 67-year-old lady. She is just one of an increasing number of adult patients who are opting for braces. By the way, if you want to become the age record breaker, talk to us about a special deal.