When Should You See an Orthodontist? Reasons to Schedule a Consultation Today
Orthodontists specialize in treating malocclusion. Essentially this means that they help straighten teeth and improve a patient’s bite by correcting the alignment of both the jaws and teeth. There are a variety of ways that this is achieved and orthodontists can also help with several other mouth-related issues.
So if you are wondering, when should you see an orthodontist, you’re definitely not alone! It’s a great question, and there are several signs that could indicate a need for orthodontic treatment.
In general, if you have concerns or questions about your teeth’s positioning, you should see an orthodontist. But, let’s break down some specific examples of reasons to see an orthodontist.
#1 – You Are Experiencing Soreness or Pain in Your Teeth, Gums, or Mouth
You aren’t supposed to be feeling soreness or pain in your teeth, gums, or mouth. If you are, something in particular is causing it. In some cases, improper tooth alignment could be causing it. Or it could be due to other underlying problems in your mouth. If you’re experiencing soreness or pain, an orthodontist can determine exactly what the cause is and what orthodontic treatment would offer relief.
#2 – You Are Having Difficulty Chewing
To be able to eat, you have to be able to chew properly. But if your teeth are not aligned properly (aka malocclusion), this can be very difficult. There are a variety of different types of malocclusion— including underbites, overbites, open bites, and crossbites — that all prevent your teeth from closing together as they should, making it difficult to sufficiently chew. Orthodontic treatment can help make it possible for you to enjoy your food without difficulty or pain.
#3 – You are Struggling to Speak Properly
If you are struggling to properly articulate your words when speaking, it could be due to your teeth. For example, an overbite or gaps in the teeth can sometimes cause a noticeable lisp or whistle when speaking. Additionally, an abnormal jaw structure or misaligned teeth placement can restrict mouth movement and sometimes cause people to slur or even stutter.
Similarly, misaligned teeth can sometimes make it hard to pronounce certain words. Some sounds, like “s”, “t,” and “ch” require contact of your tongue with your teeth. So, the placement of your teeth might be preventing you from being able to make the correct pronunciations. With treatment, an orthodontist can properly align your teeth and enable you to articulate words better than ever before.
#4 – You Suffer from Sleep Apnea or Other Breathing Troubles
In many cases, sleep apnea or breathing troubles are caused by airways being blocked. Sometimes this can be attributed to a narrow jaw, which prevents the proper alignment of teeth. Thus, blocking air from passing through. If you frequently wake up with a sore and/or dry throat; snore loudly; or breathe through your mouth to get sufficient oxygen; then you probably suffer from sleep apnea. Fortunately, there are several orthodontic treatments that are effective at improving sleep apnea and breathing troubles.
#5 – You Are Not Confident in Your Smile
You may not be experiencing any of the above more serious issues and you just want to be able to smile confidently. If you don’t like the appearance of your teeth, you may be constantly trying to avoid photographs, hiding your smile, or even resisting smiling altogether. You deserve to be confident in your smile and proud to show it off to the world, as well as all the other benefits of having straight teeth. So, if there is any reason that you are embarrassed about your smile, orthodontic treatment can significantly change your life.
Some of the common misalignment types/teeth issues that people see an orthodontist for include:
This is the most common tooth issue that people seek orthodontic treatment for and is caused by a variety of factors. The most common is a discrepancy between the size of the teeth and the space available in the jaws. Overcrowding can lead to a misaligned bite, impacted teeth, and an undesirable appearance.
It is referred to as an underbite when the lower front teeth protrude out in front of the upper front teeth. This is most commonly caused by a Class III malocclusion, which is when the patient has a smaller upper jaw, a larger lower jaw, or a combination of the two.
An overbite, or overjet, is when the front upper teeth overlap over the front lower teeth. It is referred to as a deep overbite (aka deep bite) when the upper teeth completely cover the lower front teeth. An overbite often causes damage to the gum tissue and underlying bone behind the upper front teeth because the lower front teeth bite directly on the gums.
When there is a lack of any vertical overlap of the front teeth it is known as an open bite. This is because it causes the upper and lower front teeth not to touch at all when biting down. An open bite can be caused by a long-term thumb or finger sucking habit as a child or an abnormal growth of one or both jaws. A tongue thrust habit (which is when, during swallowing, the tongue moves between the front teeth) can also be a contributing factor to an open bite.
If the teeth don’t line up properly when the mouth is closed it is referred to as a crossbite. Crossbite can affect one single tooth or groups of teeth, like your back or front teeth. In most cases of this malocclusion, the upper teeth are wider and sit on the outside of the bottom teeth. Crossbites often cause problems with biting and chewing.
We Can Help You Achieve the Smile You Want
If you are experiencing any of the above signs that you need an orthodontist, look no further than our team here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics in Springfield. Our team specializes in a variety of different orthodontic treatments to deliver a smile you are excited to show off every day.
If you are ready to transform your smile, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation today!