Why should it matter if my teeth are straight?!

There are a lot of reasons to want straight teeth, and usually the ones people don’t care about matter most!  The easy and obvious answer isn’t really the one that makes the big difference in the long run.  And, on the other hand, it may matter the most!  Fortunately, invisalign is a simple and comfortable way to quickly correct most bite and alignment problems.

Physics

The way your teeth touch has everything to do with how well they hold up over your lifetime.  According to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, we are built to live about 130 years.  Of course, the goal is to live a long, long time and die fast.  Living a long time and slowly falling apart over 50 years is what pretty much everyone wants to avoid.  We also know that people with a full set of teeth live a longer, healthier, more medication-free life.  So the goal is to have at least 12 teeth on top and 12 on the bottom with no gaps that don’t come in and out.

The gums and bone around them should be free of infection and inflammation.  Also, when you bite together, the force from that bite should be disbursed into the supporting bone.  The reality is when we are eating, our teeth shouldn’t even touch.  The only times they come into contact is when we are swallowing or in what’s called parafunction.  This is defined as function outside what is normal.  This would be things like clenching or grinding your teeth.  When we do this, we load incredible forces into the tooth root and end up chipping away pieces at the neck of the tooth or on the edges.

We used to call this tooth-brush abrasion, but we have known for decades that this isn’t the cause.  The real cause is how the teeth touch when you are closing and if there’s an issue with grinding or clenching.  Another obvious sign of a bad bite is the flat spots that get worn into the teeth.  These are called wear facets, and they are a clear sign that something is wrong with the bite.

Fortunately, we can control the amount of force and how it is directed through the tooth.  One of the best ways to do this, especially early on, is with invisalign.  With these clear aligners, we can gently and quickly reorient the teeth so they function like they should.

Infection

Teeth are designed to be self-cleansing.  The contacts between the individual teeth and the spacing from one tooth to the next is designed to keep them from trapping food and plaque.  This obviously doesn’t mean that straight teeth mean you don’t have to brush because, well, gross!  But, what it does mean is that if your teeth are lined up correctly, the bacteria that lives in the gums around them stays beneficial and helpful rather than aggressive pathologic bacteria.

Even slight rotation and crowding issues have been shown to house dangerous and aggressive bacteria.  These are not only a danger to the gums and bone in our mouth, but also the rest of the body!  The science has shown pathologic oral bacteria in all of the rest of the body!  Plaque in the arteries leading to heart attacks and strokes have been found to include periodontal disease bacteria.  Same issue with respiratory infections and some cancers and even Alzheimers!  We don’t yet know if the gum tissue bacteria actually cause any of these issues, but it is obvious that it is dangerous and something to avoid!

Stability

Our teeth are designed so that they each support the rest of the teeth in the arch. When they are lined up correctly, they stay more stable and function better.  The first molars are responsible for more than half of the chewing on each side and the rest of the back teeth take care of the rest of the chewing.  Meanwhile, the front teeth are responsible for biting off the bit of food you are going to chew.  In order for them to function as a complete set, each tooth has a role and part of that role is supporting the others.  When the teeth aren’t lined up correctly, not only do the teeth end up with sheer forces leading to cracks and infection in the gum tissues around them, but they also destabilize the arches.  This causes the teeth to shift and drive the bite further from a stable foundation.

Even worse, you are also much more likely to bite your lip or tongue!

It’s prettier!

The reason people tend to want straight teeth has to do with the smile.  There’s no question that straighter teeth create a prettier smile, but there’s more to that story too!  Studies have shown again and again that when people like their smile, they are happier.  Their self-confidence is much greater and it impacts everything about how they carry themselves.  This is probably why people with a pretty smile are seen as smarter, funnier, more likeable, and more successful!

Invisalign is a great tool!

Traditional metal braces are a tried and true way to create well developed straight teeth.  They have a long track record of success and are still a fantastic way to align teeth and improve your health and smile.  However, they are ugly.  And uncomfortable.  Sometimes they are also the best way to correct the bite and alignment issue, but invisalign is a great solution for most issues.  In fact, invisalign is often faster too!

If you’ve wanted straighter, prettier, healthier, and better functioning teeth, invisalign might be the answer for you!

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