Crooked teeth can have a real impact on your confidence. But they also can cause issues with brushing, flossing, and eating. And while seeing an orthodontist is the best way to know for sure, here are a few signs you probably need braces.
1. Your Teeth Are Visibly Crowded Or Crooked
Even if they don’t seem to be causing you any problems with eating, brushing, or flossing, crooked teeth can impact your confidence. When you’re self-conscious about your smile, going through everyday life can feel like a real challenge. You might even find yourself going out of your way to hide your teeth when you smile!
If possible, it’s best to get braces when you’re young because your jaw is still developing. However, adults can and do get braces, and the results are usually successful. Treatment time might be slightly longer than treatment time for a child. But if you’re an adult with crooked teeth, it’s wise to consult an orthodontist as soon as you can. Issues with tooth and jaw alignment tend to get worse as you get older, so treatment can get more complicated if you wait longer.
2. You Accidentally Bite Your Tongue Or Cut Your Tongue On Your Teeth
Nobody likes biting their tongue. But if you find yourself doing it often, it could be that your teeth are misaligned. Similarly, if your teeth are crooked, you may find that you accidentally cut or scrape your tongue on them even without biting them. For example, if your lower incisors angle inward, their sharp edges are closer to your tongue. That makes it easier to suffer a scrape or cut.
3. Brushing And Flossing Are A Challenge
When your teeth are very crowded, flossing around them becomes difficult. And if they’re crooked enough to overlap, it can be very difficult to adequately clean your teeth while brushing. That increases your risk of cavities, stains, and other problems. When your teeth are crooked, you also may find that food gets stuck between them more easily. As a result, you might find yourself needing to floss more often. That can be inconvenient as well as nerve-wracking. After all, nobody wants to constantly worry about having food stuck in their teeth after a dinner out!
4. Your Jaw Clicks Or Makes Other Sounds
If your jaw clicks or pops while you’re eating or just throughout the day, it may be a sign of a disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Sometimes, clicking or popping sounds can be accompanied by pain or discomfort. Disorders of the temporomandibular joint have a variety of causes, and crooked teeth are one of them.
That’s because when your teeth are out of alignment, your jaw compensates to help you eat. Biting and chewing forces aren’t distributed evenly, and your jaw joint is put under significant stress. You may develop a muscle imbalance that pulls your jaw closer to one side of your mouth. Of course, crooked teeth are not the only possible cause of TMJ disorders. An orthodontist will be able to tell you if clicking and/or pain are caused by crooked teeth or something else. But either way, braces are a good idea!
5. Your Teeth Don’t Close Over One Another Properly
You might not think having a misaligned bite is connected to crooked teeth. However, when your teeth aren’t aligned properly, you often change the way you bite and chew. Over time, that can make your jaw crooked or otherwise push it out of alignment. If your teeth don’t seem to close over each other evenly even if your mouth is shut, it might be a sign that you need braces to even everything out. If you visit a New Jersey braces specialist for an evaluation, for instance, they will be able to take a look at your jaw misalignment and tell you if braces are the best way to fix it.
Braces can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. But in most cases, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Once you have reduced jaw pain and a more beautiful smile, you’ll be thankful you took the time to take care of your oral health.