How Braces Improve Jaw Function
Many people, usually as adolescents, choose to get braces for a variety of reasons. The overarching reason is usually to improve the alignment of the jaw and teeth. When people think of braces, their first thought is usually about cosmetic improvement. We want straighter, more appealing smiles. Have a straight smile is incredibly helpful in many ways. It improves self-esteem and can help you make a better impression in general.
However, the positive effects of braces aren’t purely cosmetic. By changing the alignment of your bite, braces can improve jaw and facial structure, leading to better comfort and jaw function! This can even create a positive aesthetic impact for the whole face, as it improves structural harmony.
Misalignment, or poor jaw structure, can lead to a number of issues, such as:
- TMD, or facial tension, which causes pain and discomfort in the muscles around the jaw
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech impediments.
- Migraines and other headaches
- Back and neck pain
- Sleep apnea
- Airway issues, such as airway obstruction
By using braces to improve the alignment of the bite, jaw structure can also be changed, leading to better jaw function and possible relief from discomfort, inconvenience, or pain caused by misalignment. Creating harmony between your teeth and jaw can relieve pain and tension caused by poor alignment.
The best time to get braces is usually during adolescence, as it is a growth period during which teeth can be more easily adjusted. Braces are used to correct a variety of alignment issues, including:
- Overbite or underbite: Both are common orthodontic issues. If the top teeth jut out ahead of the bottom, that is an overbite, while the bottom teeth protruding is called an underbite. Both can vary in severity and cause not only aesthetic problems but structural issues that can deter jaw function.
- Crossbite: This is when the top and bottom of the jaw do not correspond. The top or bottom row of teeth may then overlap.
- Crowding/spacing: Overcrowded teeth may necessitate tooth extraction, while spacing can lead to functional problems.
As you can see, braces can help correct a lot more than simply appearance, although that too is important! Though braces are most effective when the patient is younger, there are also options for adults who wish to have a straighter smile and improve facial structure and jaw function. At Sierra Dental we offer orthodontic treatments for the whole family, including Invisalign, in addition to traditional braces.