It is not uncommon that I recommend my patients to consider orthodontic treatments to straighten their teeth. Sometimes my adult patients’ initial reaction would sound something like: “I am too old for that, and I never thought about the cosmetics of my smile…”
Having straight teeth is not ALL about cosmetics.
The misalignment of teeth can cause a variety of problems ranging from TMJ issues, to bone loss, to excess fractures and wear facets on the teeth. This type of break down in the dentition can take many years to manifest. Unfortunately, sometimes when the patient starts to notice the problems, the solutions may require a complex combination of orthodontics and restorative treatments.
Properly aligned teeth actually follow very scientific principles created by nature to establish the most stable functional foundation. When teeth are properly aligned, certain functional movements of the jaw allow for optimum chewing, relaxed muscle state, and ideal joint health. The cosmetics of the smile is automatically achieved secondarily when the functional foundation is established. Finding the right orthodontist is key to successful treatment.
Hence, when you choose to have orthodontic treatment done, you are stabilizing the most important aspect of the dentition: To allow you to sustain life by being able to chew effectively throughout the course of your life span. As the human life span continues to lengthen, it is extremely important to make sure that you will continue to have a stable dentition for your chewing needs.
In the photos below you will find a smile with “crooked teeth”. Whereas the patient was never concerned with the cosmetics of her smile before, she has lately been concerned with the fractures lines and wear facets indicated by the red arrows. Her question to me at the last check-up was: “What would my teeth look like…say ten years down the line…”
My answer to her was: “They would look more broken down, and you will also notice problems with the back teeth as well.”
So as you can see… My recommendation for this patient to choose orthodontic treatment was based on achieving proper function, and not ALL about cosmetics.
Alex Nguyen, DDS is a Saratoga Dentist who practices General Dentistry, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry. For over 20 years the practice has been serving the residents of Santa Clara County and San Francisco Bay Area.