Even though we have plenty of adult and child orthodontic patients at Sturgill & Storie Orthodontics, the majority are teenagers and that’s because the teen years, especially between the ages of 10 and 13, is an amazing time to begin comprehensive orthodontic treatment. Since teenagers are still growing, when they see a pro like Dr. Sturgill, he can harness the growth spurts and their superstar metabolisms to more effectively move the teeth and jaws and make treatment quicker and more comfortable.
However, the best timing is different for every child, as you know they all have growth at different times; that’s why it’s so important to come in for a free consultation to help determine your child’s ideal time for treatment. The result will be a dramatic smile transformation. But, aside from the cosmetic perks, does having straight teeth matter? The answer is, yes. Orthodontic treatment can be life changing and not only for the reasons you may think.
There are a number of positive effects of braces for teenagers and just as many with Invisalign Teen, including:
1. Excellent Oral Health
Straight teeth are easier to brush and floss, which improves oral health. This is one of the most important long terms effects of braces and Invisalign Teen. Food gets stuck in between crooked teeth and it’s harder to reach every nook and cranny to get rid of all of the plaque and bacteria.
This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease and there’s a strong overall health and oral health connection. Oral infection and bacteria have been tied to conditions, such as clogged arteries, heart disease, stroke, endocarditis (an infection of the heart’s inner lining) and, in pregnant women, even premature birth and low birth weight.
Gum disease also happens to be a major cause of tooth loss in adults, in turn leading to bone loss in the jaw and a whole host of other concerns. While it’s never too late to perfect your smile, doing it during the teenage years can make it easier, more affordable and less invasive and allow your child to enjoy the health benefits of straight teeth throughout adulthood.
2. Improved Chewing
When teeth aren’t in their correct places or their positioning makes them difficult to clean, causing gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss, it compromises your ability to bite and chew. You may favor one side of their mouth or only pick softer foods and miss out on essential vitamins and nutrients. A well-balanced diet is important for everyone but it’s especially crucial for teens who are growing and developing.
3. Clear Speech
Producing sound is a surprisingly complicated endeavor and there are a few articulatory difficulties related to the structure of the jaw and the position of the teeth. Your tongue has to touch the teeth in a specific way to make some sounds or have room to move to make others.
The teeth also control airflow to produce strident sounds and consonants. When there’s an issue, there can be slurred speech, problems articulating consonants, a lisp or a whistling noise. One of the positive effects of braces is that aligning the teeth and jaws can improve the clarity of a teenager’s speech.
4. Protects the Teeth
Research on dental injuries has found more than five million teeth are knocked out every year in the United States. A lot of these injuries occur during sports and physical activity, which highlights the importance of wearing a mouthguard. However, anyone could trip and fall at any time and sustain a blow to the face.
When teeth stick out, they’re a lot more susceptible to damage. This is most commonly seen in the front teeth. Braces and Invisalign Teen can shift protruding teeth back, which, in addition to the aforementioned mouthguard, can go a long way in preventing tooth loss.
5. Better Sleep and Breathing
Sometimes, sleep apnea and mouth breathing are related to the shape and position of the jaw. By correcting issues with the jaw or palate, we can open the airway and improve a patient’s ability to breathe through their nose, which helps with both breathing and sleep. Dr. Sturgill is experienced in treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, so if your teen is struggling, schedule a consultation today and see if orthodontic treatment or an appliance like SomnoDent can help.
6. Less Pain
A bite imbalance can put pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), causing jaw soreness, headaches, neck and shoulder pain and decreased jaw mobility. In some cases, it can be debilitating. Another of the most powerful health benefits of straight teeth is that proper alignment helps prevent these aches and pains.
7. A Huge Boost in Confidence
When people think of the positive effects of braces, they often immediately jump to the cosmetic benefits and rightfully so because they’re significant. While there are plenty of long-term effects of orthodontics that tie into our overall health, having a beautiful looking smile can be a powerful thing too.
If your teenager’s teeth are crooked, spaced, protruding or they have a noticeable overbite, underbite, crossbite or openbite, they’ll often feel self-conscious and lack the confidence they need to take on challenges and seek out new experiences. Sadly, it can also result in teasing by their classmates.
Confident teenagers who feel good about themselves, appearance included, tend to be happier, more well adjusted and are less likely give in to peer pressure. One of the reasons Dr. Sturgill became an orthodontist was because wearing braces as a teenager improved his self-esteem and he wanted others to experience the same thing.
If you think your teenager can benefit from the positive effects of braces and reap the health benefits of straight teeth, schedule a free consultation at Sturgill & Storie Orthodontics. If your child is hesitant about noticeable brackets and wires, we also offer clear braces, lingual braces and Invisalign Teen in Johnson City, TN and Norton, VA. At the initial exam, Dr. Sturgill will walk you through the diagnosis and help you decide on the treatment option that works best for you and your teen, so they can start on the path to a healthy, beautiful smile for life.