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Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. The overall health, wellness, and beauty of your smile is a critical piece of your overall wellbeing—both physical and mental. That’s why it’s so critical to visit your dentist for routine exams and dental maintenance throughout your life. When the time comes to correct problems with the alignment of your teeth and jaws, head straight to an orthodontist for specialized orthodontic treatment.

What’s so special about an orthodontist?

Orthodontics is so much more than just straightening teeth for a better smile. The misalignment of teeth and jaws can cause a wide range of serious health issues and pain including speech impediments, chronic headaches and TMJ, sleep apnea, and digestive issues. Only an orthodontist has years of specialized training beyond dental school required to effectively correct an improper bite or jaw alignment to improve your ability to chew, speak clearly, and avoid problems like tooth decay.

Beyond the physical benefits, a properly aligned jaw and bite provides psychological benefits, too. Imagine the feeling of self-confidence a beautiful smile will bring to life’s big moments such as a first date, wedding, or pivotal job interview. In fact, Psychology Today reports that, as an indicator of happiness, a wider smile actually increases your lifespan by as much as 7.2 years.*

The impact of oral health on overall health

A good bite does a great deal more than simply make it easier to bite, chew, and speak clearly. An article published by Harvard Health Publishing** suggests a connection between gum disease and heart disease.

Proper orthodontic care creates healthy changes in the jaw bones, facial bones, and soft tissue as it moves teeth into proper alignment. Word of advice? Follow your orthodontist’s instructions and keep your regularly scheduled appointments. The result will be a healthier smile that not only lasts a lifetime, but a longer lifetime.

Although early intervention is preferable, appropriate orthodontic treatment can provide a lifetime of healthy, pain-free smiles, no matter what your age. Benefits include:

  • Improved appearance: By shaping the look of your smile and face, proper teeth and jaw alignment can influence your self-confidence, how often you smile, and the first impression you make on others.
  • Proper jaw and bite alignment: Proper jaw and bite alignment improves the ability to chew properly, which means less digestive issues. Proper alignment can also help alleviate face, head, and neck pain as well as issues caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction like headaches or muscle spasms. It can also help alleviate, or improve, some speech impairments.
  • Healthier teeth and gums: Proper tooth alignment eliminates those hard-to-reach spots that can be tough to brush or floss. This reduces the risk of cavities, periodontal disease, gum inflammation, and bone destruction, making your trips to your regular dentist easier and less expensive.
  • Less wear and tear: Over time, the excessive pressure from unhealthy and misaligned chewing and biting wears down teeth, causing them to weaken, chip, or even break.
  • Greater self-confidence and self-esteem: The psychological effects of a healthy, well-aligned smile cannot be overstated. The way you feel about your smile and how you speak impacts the way you feel about yourself, as well as how you approach your daily life.

What about treatment from someone other than an orthodontist?

Only an orthodontist has the specialized training to diagnose, prevent, and treat orthodontic issues to ensure proper alignment of the teeth, mouth and jaw. An orthodontist has received 2-3 years of additional training beyond dental school that is focused on safe tooth movement and the appropriate guidance of dental, jaw, and facial development.

Seeing someone less qualified can actually do more harm than good as others may at best be untrained in orthodontic issues, or at worst, focused on “quick fixes” which will lead to more costly procedures down the road.

When should I see an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends an initial orthodontist evaluation no later than age 7, while most children still have a mix of permanent and baby teeth. This is the ideal time to detect a problem if one is developing. Your Dietmeier orthodontist can then monitor the problem to ensure treatment is provided at the appropriate time, usually between the ages of 9 and 16.

If you notice a problem sooner, however, there’s no reason to wait. The AAO recommends seeing an orthodontist for any of the following concerns:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude, or are recessed
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way, or don’t meet at all
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Inability to comfortably close lips

Don’t delay or hope a problem will go away on its own. Some problems only get worse when left uncorrected, leading to more intensive and costly treatment later.

No referral is necessary for quality orthodontic care. In fact, your Dietmeier orthodontist offers a no-cost evaluation, including digital x-rays, an iTero® scan with 3D model of your teeth and gums, and consultation with a doctor. With no financial obligation, we make it easy to determine whether orthodontic treatment is necessary. Schedule a no-cost consultation now!

*https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-happiness-doctor/201704/how-live-72-happy-years-longer
**https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/gum-disease-and-heart-disease-the-common-thread
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