If you’ve been wondering, “Do I need braces?” then we may be able to help you. Sometimes, going to the dentist isn’t enough and you’ll need the services of an orthodontist. Although an orthodontist has completed the same schooling and licensing protocols that are required for a general dentist, an orthodontist has additional years of training in the treatment of structural issues and the realignment of your teeth, which can include braces.
Usually, your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist, but if you think you need to see an orthodontist for braces or for any other structural issue, the following questions may help you to decide.
Why Would I Need Braces?
If your teeth are misaligned, occluded or if you have too many teeth, you might need to have braces. If your teeth are crooked, it may be because your mouth cannot accommodate all the teeth you have. An orthodontist can remove some teeth to make room for the remaining teeth, and then install braces to correct the alignment of your remaining teeth.
What Types of Braces are Available?
Braces are now available in many forms and the degree of your issues and your personal preference will help determine the type of braces that your dentist or orthodontist recommends. Some of the choices available include traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign.
How Long Must I Wear Braces?
The length of time you’ll need to wear braces will depend on your unique situation, but usually between one and two years is average. After the braces are removed, you’ll probably need to wear a retainer so that your teeth remain in the correct position.
Fortunately, retainers can usually be worn during the night, they don’t need to be worn during the day. The length of time you’ll wear the retainer will depend on your unique needs, but your orthodontist will let you know the approximate amount of time that you’ll need to wear your braces.
What if I Need Something Besides Braces?
Orthodontic work can correct many structural issues and your orthodontist may recommend surgery or other corrective procedure. If you’re unhappy with your smile for any reason, a consultation with an orthodontist can help you revamp your smile and restore your self-confidence.
How Long Will Orthodontic Work Take?
The length of time it takes to complete your orthodontic work will depend on the type of procedure you need and the degree of correction that you need. During your consultation, your orthodontist will advise you of the duration of your procedure and what to expect in the interim.
Take our “Do I Need Braces Quiz” to find out if you need to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist.
Do I Need Braces?
Are your teeth straight and even?
Your teeth should be evenly spaced, without gaps or crowding, and your upper teeth should align with the lower teeth so that you don’t have an overbite or an underbite. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you like your smile?
- Do you have difficulty with chewing food?
- Do you experience pain in your jaw?
- Do you have any angled or crooked teeth?
- Has your smile prohibited you from developing a relationship because you were too self-conscious?
- Have you been bullied or made fun of because of the appearance of your teeth?
The answers to these questions will indicate whether you can benefit from orthodontic work or braces.
Is Your Bite in Proper Alignment?
Your jaws should align with each other and your nose. If they don’t, then you may have a bite problem. The most common bite issues are:
- Overbite: More common than an underbite, an overbite makes your upper teeth protrude over your lower teeth.
- Underbite: An underbite occurs when your lower teeth protrude further than your upper teeth.
- Crossbite: If one or more of your teeth tilt toward your cheek or your tongue, then you may have a crossbite, which can occur on both sides of the mouth.
Although we normally think of bite issues as being cosmetic, when left untreated, they can cause difficulty with chewing, jaw pain, headaches, and deterioration of the jaw.
Do You have Lots of Cavities Even Though You Brush and Floss Regularly?
If you regularly practice good oral hygiene, but you have lots of cavities, it might be that you need to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist. Irregularly spaced teeth with gaps in between can be the cause of your cavities because the gaps are an excellent place for food particles to lodge. Orthodontic work can eliminate those gaps.
Do You Still Have Baby Teeth or do You Have an Impacted Tooth?
Baby teeth don’t always fall out and adult teeth can become impacted as a result. Several types of orthodontic work, including braces, alignment devices or surgery, can eliminate impacted, crooked, gapped or misaligned teeth.
Do You Have Difficulty with Chewing?
You should be able to chew easily, even though you may occasionally bite your tongue or cheek. If you have angled or misaligned teeth, you may experience painful injuries or sores and may bite your jaw or tongue more frequently. Orthodontic devices and procedures can straighten your teeth and reduce or eliminate the pain of crooked and misaligned teeth, so don’t delay in seeking treatment for this condition.
Does Your Jaw Make Sounds When You Chew or Does it Feel Like it Shifts out of Position?
If your jaw makes sounds when you chew or if it feels like your jaw shifts out of position, you might need orthodontic services. Your jaw shouldn’t make sounds or move when you chew and an orthodontist can fix that for you.
Does the Roof of Your Mouth Hit Your Lower Teeth When You Chew?
If you have a severe overbite, you may experience difficulty chewing because your lower teeth connect with the roof of your mouth rather than your upper teeth. A severe overbite can be corrected through orthodontic work, so make an appointment with a good orthodontist and correct this uncomfortable condition.
Have You Been Referred to an Orthodontist?
If your dentist has referred you to an orthodontist, we can help you. If you haven’t been referred, but think you need to see an orthodontist based on your answers to our “do I need braces test”, then you can refer yourself and reach out to an orthodontist near you.
What are Your Options?
If you have any of the above problems or you have others, then an appointment with a good orthodontist may be able to help you.
Your teeth are an integral part of your body and they aid in your digestive process. They also maintain the structural integrity of your jaw and your other teeth, so proper alignment of your teeth is essential for your overall good health. A beautiful smile will also boost your self-esteem and your self-confidence, so if you need orthodontic work, contact an orthodontist and schedule an appointment today.
Disclaimer – This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about orthodontics and general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your orthodontist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.
Do I Need Braces? Take The Quiz