The Power of Straight Teeth [BLOG]

Nearly everyone would rather have straight teeth.   People with pretty, straight, and healthy looking smiles are seen as being more successful and more intelligent and this leads to an increase in confidence when you love your smile.  It’s easy to say that’s simply being superficial, but when you look at what crooked teeth really means, it is much deeper than that! We know that we consistently see an amazing change in people when they transform their smile at Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown and it led us to ask why.

It turns out there’s a pretty predictable sequence of events that leads us to having a crowded and less attractive smile, and also a pretty predictable solution to helping to transform your life through a healthy and beautiful smile.  While there are many different ways that people can end up with a less than perfect set of teeth and smile, we will track one of the most common and the one that makes the biggest difference for our kids and grandkids – and one that has become relatively simple and easy to correct even as adults!

When we are very young our habits start to develop and the muscle function patterns begin to become engrained into daily life.  One of the keys to ensuring optimal growth and development is having an open and clear airway in both the nose and mouth, but particularly the nose.  We are designed to be nasal breathers through life. Unfortunately, young kids often have chronic allergic reactions that may or may not be big enough to be diagnosed, but if they impact the airway, they may create massive and lifelong issues.  If the chronic allergic response creates a clogged nose, the only option to breathe is to open your mouth and become a mouth breather. This disrupts the balance of forces that guides growth and development of the jawbones, face, and how you breathe.

The tongue’s job is to guide growth of the upper jaw to the proper size.  With the nose clogged, the mouth has to open and with the mouth open, the tongue is in the wrong place, which prevents the proper growth of the jaws.   We see kids with some common issues such as snoring or allergic shiners under their eyes, and these same kids end up with a lot of crowding in their mouth as teenagers.  This is often ‘corrected’ with braces by removing permanent teeth and then lining them all up. This is usually the worst thing we could do because even though it straightens the teeth, it creates massive distortions in the size and shape of the mouth and mid-face, and sets the stage for airway and breathing issues in adulthood.

It turns out that crowding is a symptom of a bigger and more critical issue.  The crowded smile may not look as pretty, but there’s so much more to the story.  A crowded smile is a different way of saying that the upper jaw is too small. This impacts the support for the cheeks and face and alters the facial appearance.  It is also very common for this to impact the floor of the nose and distort the shape of the nose as well. Sometimes this distortion is seen on the outside where the nostrils are very small or the bridge of the nose is crooked or bent.  Sometimes it is internal with a deviated septum or a collapsed nasal airway. In any event, this is much more significant than the crooked teeth that we notice in our smile.

The distortion in the upper jaw is also a way of describing a smaller home for your tongue.  The tongue will always get compressed into whichever direction has the least resistance, and in many cases, this is the airway.  With the tongue pushed back into your airway it is even harder for you to breathe correctly and this is a significant cause of sleep apnea and breathing issues.  Whether you are a child or adult, while you are asleep you should be breathing through your nose quietly and easily. This will moisten, warm, and slow down the air you are breathing to allow you to more effectively exchange gas when you are breathing.  Well, this should also be the case when you are awake as quiet nasal breathing is always healthy breathing and noisy nasal breathing or mouth breathing is always a warning sign of an issue, but specifically focusing on sleep highlights one of the important ways a straight smile will make your life healthier and better!

There is a specific sequence or pattern to how healthy quality and quantity of sleep happens.  Simply, it takes a while to get into the deep sleep that allows for our bodies to heal, regulate hormones properly, assimilate short-term knowledge into long-term memories, and stay healthy.  If we don’t get enough sleep, or the sleep we get isn’t quality sleep, then our bodies pay a very high price. While it is easy to brush off crowding as a cosmetic or vanity issue, there are some very significant concerns behind the teeth that we should be addressing in most of the mouths that are crowded.

Crowded teeth usually means the mouth is too small and the tongue is pushed into the airway and supporting musculature is much more likely to cramp and create pain like migraines and headaches.  The solution would be to help the jaws develop to a more normal size and bite relationship to minimize the strain on the musculature and improve the oxygenation of the body. At Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown, we have helped people address these issues for 15+ years and are always thrilled to hear the stories about how now people find their Motrin is expired because it’s been so long since they have needed it!

If your mouth is crowded or your bite isn’t solid, stable, and comfortable, we would be happy to visit with you about options to help get you healthy.  It may simply be a matter of using Invisalign to dial in the alignment of your teeth and get your mouth functioning properly. For people who are dealing with migraine pain or chronic head and neck pain or dizziness, we could start with a simple evaluation of your bite and see if you are a candidate for stabilizing your mouth with an orthotic to eliminate that pain.  If snoring or sleep apnea is a part of the issue, we can also help you to protect your airway while you sleep. With the combined training of our team of doctors, you have a lot of options to help you improve the quality of your life, and at the end of treatment, end up with a pretty smile to boot!

If any of these issues applies to you, please give us a call and set up a complimentary consultation.  We are here to help you live your life pain-free and feeling great!

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