The research is clear – your smile has a lot to do with self-esteem. A recent study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics confirmed what may seem obvious to most of us. Namely, that orthodontic treatment has a significant impact on teens’ self-perception of themselves as attractive, and that, unsurprisingly, this led to a big increase in overall self-esteem!
The study drew a clear line between the degree of malocclusion present in each test subject (that is, the degree to which their orthodontic health was affected by improper tooth growth or movement) and a subject’s perceived aesthetic impairment.
That is to say, the degree to which they were unhappy with their appearance as it relates to their smile, jawline, or other features relevant to orthodontics. This means that not only is it essential to treat orthodontic issues for reasons directly related to overall oral health, but also that your sense of self-worth is an important consideration!
Here at Balance Advanced Dentistry and Orthodontics, we know that your self-esteem is vital to you. Not only that, but your oral health is critical! Read on to learn why teens should get orthodontic treatment.
It Can Reduce Social Anxiety
The same study demonstrated that orthodontic treatment presents a positive psychological effect on teens entirely independent of the degree to which they suffer from actual malocclusion. The sense of taking control of an aspect of their lives, particularly one related to appearance, has a very positive connotation for teens.
While social and psychological considerations are important, it happily turns out that your teen years are also the best years to seek orthodontic treatment from a purely medical perspective. Let’s find out why!
Teen Years Are Ideal For Orthodontic Treatment
The American Association of Orthodontists says that the average age for beginning orthodontic treatment is between 12 and 14. But why is that? On one level, it is as simple as the fact that by the age of 12, children have most often finished losing their primary teeth (baby teeth), and their permanent teeth have likely all come in. Once the permanent teeth have erupted, then Dr. Hernandez, Dr. Rios, or Dr. Urrego-Torres can properly assess the type of orthodontic care that will be appropriate. Then they can develop a treatment plan, diagnose any bite problems, and apply the appropriate measures to ensure you can unlock your absolute best smile!
But what sorts of bite problems are there facing teens today? And what causes them? That’s what we’ll discuss next.
What Causes Bite Problems?
Even though every bite is different, it comes down to one of a few environmental or genetic factors:
- Myofunctional Habits – Referring to the musculature of the jaw as it relates to orthodontic issues. Excessive thumb sucking, aggressive bottle feeding, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting, or several other behaviors can lead to bite problems.
- Genetics – maybe she’s born with it!
- Facial Development – sometimes, for whatever reason, we’ll find that a mix of environmental and genetic factors will lead to issues requiring corrective orthodontic care.
- Injury – Ouch! Trauma such as a broken jaw or teeth can require orthodontic intervention.
Common Bite Problems
In the case of an overbite, the upper front teeth overlap or cover part of the lower front teeth. This can lead to excessive wear and tear of the teeth, particularly the incisors (the two front teeth). Another concern with an overbite is the possibility of damage to the gum tissue leading to excessive gingival display (that’s a gummy smile to the rest of us).
Most often, traditional or clear braces or even aligners such as Invisalign can correct the issues leading to an overbite.
Also known as an anterior crossbite, this is where the lower jaw sits out in front of the upper jaw. When uncorrected, underbites can lead to excessive stress and pressure on the joints of the jaw and face. That means tension headaches, tooth grinding, and temporomandibular disorders, or TMJ.
Underbites typically require more aggressive treatment than would be the case for the more common mild overbites. In more severe cases of underbite, Dr. Urrego-Torres, Dr. Hernandez, or Dr. Rios may refer you to an oral or maxillofacial surgeon with whom they’ll work closely to reshape the jaw to develop a proper bite.
Refers to a misalignment of either the teeth, jaws or both, in which upper teeth sit inside lower teeth. This often becomes worse over time and can lead to issues with properly chewing food. The sooner this is detected, the better.
In another case where early detection can save a heap of trouble, an open bite may lead to swallowing and airway issues! This is the case for both anterior and posterior open bites.
With an anterior open bite, the upper and lower teeth never meet or overlap when the back teeth are together, causing a visible gap in the space, leading to the name. A posterior open bite is similar, but the front and side teeth will close properly, but a gap forms in the back teeth.
One of the most common orthodontic issues, crowding, can cause self-esteem issues due to a lack of confidence in your smile, but there are more functional concerns as well. Crowding can lead to difficulty maintaining proper dental hygiene. This can cause an increase in cavities and gum disease, such as gingivitis.
The opposite of crowding is spacing. As the name suggests, there is just too much space between teeth. All that extra space is ideal for the formation of harmful plaque and bacteria, so just like crowding, this can lead to issues of gum disease and other oral hazards that go along with having difficulty maintaining proper dental hygiene.
Often a result of early loss of baby teeth or missing permanents, dental midline issues result from your upper and lower incisors not aligning symmetrically. For a famous example of dental midline issues, check out early photos of the actor Tom Cruise.
He had his dental midline issues addressed with braces when it was time for his children to see their orthodontist, and so can you! Not only can dental midline problems lead to self-confidence issues, but also they can lead to systemic orthodontic malocclusion if left untreated.
Clear Aligners Can Treat Bite Problems
For many teens, a big concern when it comes to receiving orthodontic treatment is visibility. Luckily, clear aligners like the ones we provide here at Balance Advanced are capable of treating all of these issues and more. In some cases, aligners can be even more effective than traditional metal braces! In particular, aligners are often capable of rendering successful treatment outcomes faster and more efficiently than traditional braces.
Call Today for Your Free Consultation
We’re so thankful you’ve taken the time to learn more about why teens should get orthodontic treatment. We hope we’ve been able to answer some of your questions but give us a call today with any more! Better yet, why not go ahead and schedule a free consultation to find out if our in-house clear aligners are right for you or your teen? We’re close by, with a convenient office in Duluth.
Let’s get you smiling today!