As dentistry advanced and our knowledge of dental health grew, it became apparent that some aspects of dentistry required their own science to master. For instance, the position of your teeth and how they fit together can vary so widely, and influence so many other factors, that an entire branch of dentistry evolved around this phenomenon. Orthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on studying and treating malocclusion, or poorly aligned teeth. Your Moreno Valley dentists explain how you and your family can benefit from the science of orthodontics.
The Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment
If you’re unhappy with your smile, chances are that you don’t smile very often, if at all. The aesthetic value of orthodontic treatment is impressive. Studies have shown that smiling can positively influence your personal, social, and professional life, and improve your mood. Because smiling is infectious, flashing your pearly whites can make others around you do the same, creating a lighter atmosphere and more pleasant environment.
The benefits of straighter teeth go beyond making your smile pretty. Crooked or misaligned teeth are harder to clean. They offer many hiding places for bacteria to proliferate, which increases your risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease. If your entire bite is misaligned, your jaw muscles have to work extra hard to keep your jaw straight when you eat, chew, or talk. The extra stress on your jaw can lead to complications with your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs. These large joints allow the complex movements of the jaw. TMJ disorder can cause tooth-grinding (bruxism), and lead to pain in the jaw, face, and neck.
Do You Need an Orthodontist?
If your dentist decides that your case requires specialist attention, he or she may recommend you to seek an orthodontist. The following are common conditions that require orthodontic treatment.
- Overbite—informally referred to as “buck teeth,” an overbite occurs when the upper front teeth extend too far in front of the lower teeth (in a normal human mouth, the upper teeth should extend between 3-5mm in front of the lower teeth).
- Underbite—as you may have guessed, an underbite is the opposite of an overbite and occurs when the lower teeth over-extend in front of the upper teeth.
- Crossbite—when your teeth angle outward toward the cheek or inward toward the tongue, instead of straight up or down to meet its opposite, the condition is called a crossbite.
There are many other cases of malocclusion that require an orthodontic specialist. If you believe you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment, schedule an appointment at our Moreno Valley dentist office by contacting us at (951) 697-6800.