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It's More Than Appearance: Why Straight Teeth Are Healthier

It's More Than Appearance: Why Straight Teeth Are Healthier

There’s no doubt that crooked teeth are embarrassing and make you want to hide your smile — and that’s an important reason to get your teeth straightened — but cosmetic issues aren’t the only problem.

If your teeth are crooked, your upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly when you bite down, which is known as a bad bite. The way your teeth fit together has a significant impact on the long-term health of your teeth and jaw.

At Today’s Dentistry, located in San Jose, California, Dr. Peter Lee solves both problems with Invisalign®, giving you strong teeth and a smile that makes you proud.

What is a bad bite?

A bad bite, also called misaligned teeth or malocclusion, may be caused by crooked or twisted teeth, but it also arises from dental problems such as:

Malocclusion develops for many reasons. Your mouth may be too small for your teeth, your upper and lower jaws may not be the same size, or they may be out of alignment. You could inherit a tendency to malocclusion, or misalignment may arise from an injury, thumb sucking, tooth loss, and gum disease.

If any type of malocclusion goes untreated — when your teeth aren’t straight — it causes excessive pressure and stress somewhere else in your mouth. As a result, the following health problems can occur:

Tooth decay and gum disease

Misaligned teeth make it more difficult to keep teeth clean. A tooth that’s crooked may not get brushed properly because its surface doesn’t face the same direction as your other teeth. A misaligned tooth may also make your brushing miss parts of surrounding teeth.

Even when you diligently brush twice daily, you could end up with food left on your teeth, ultimately causing decay and plaque that leads to gum disease.

Loose teeth

When your mouth is out of balance due to misaligned teeth, the uneven pressure can loosen teeth or force them to move, worsening your malocclusion.

Abnormal wear and tear on your teeth

Your teeth are designed so that each upper and lower tooth aligns properly when you bite down. Good alignment lets them do their job of chewing while minimizing the stress on your tooth enamel.

Misalignment interferes with that process, so some teeth take on more wear and tear than they should. The affected teeth are susceptible to enamel erosion, cracks, and decay.

Although abnormal wear can affect any tooth, depending on the type and severity of your malocclusion, it takes an exceptional toll on your molars.

Every time you chew, your molars exert the equivalent of 150 pounds or more of pressure. The pressure increases to 250 pounds if you clench your teeth while you sleep. Because the pressure is normal and necessary to break down your food, your teeth are built to withstand the strain.

Here’s the catch: Your teeth can only withstand the pressure when it’s evenly spread over all of your molars. The only way for each molar to bear its fair share of the pressure is when they meet together properly as you bite down.

If misaligned teeth cause a bad bite, only a few molars meet each time you chew, so they take the full burden. When that much force goes to any tooth, it eventually becomes damaged and its enamel wears down. As a result, you’re at risk for cracked teeth, cavities, and infection.

Jaw pain

When your teeth are out of alignment, your jaw may be forced out of its normal position, affecting its movement as you chew food. Over time, this leads to joint damage such as erosion or degeneration, which in turn can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

TMJ’s primary symptom is pain in one or both jaw joints, in and around your ear, and on your face. It can also make it difficult to chew your food.

What are the benefits of Invisalign?

You can straighten your teeth, gain cosmetic improvement, and prevent possible complications with Invisalign. As an added benefit, you can do all of that without people noticing because Invisalign aligners are made of clear plastic that’s virtually invisible.

Dr. Peter Lee offers Invisalign because the aligners fit snugly and comfortably, yet they’re easy to remove when you eat, brush and floss. It only takes 6-18 months before your teeth are straight and healthy again.

If you have questions or you’re ready to straighten your teeth, call us at 408-412-3820 or schedule an appointment online today.

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