How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

It’s fairly common for people to see others with braces and assume their only motivation is straighter teeth. But in truth, there are a number of reasons a patient might get them. Today, our Windy City Orthodontics team will answer this age-old question: How do I know if I need braces?

Reasons for Braces

There are numerous reasons Dr. Pakravan and our team might determine braces are an ideal treatment option for you. This will always be decided on an individual basis, taking into account your medical history and preferences when applicable.

The main factors will usually be related to misalignment or malocclusion of the teeth and jaws due to the following:

  • Genetics: The size and shape of the jaw and teeth are inherited traits that can contribute to misalignment.
  • Early Childhood Habits: There are a lot of behaviors in infancy or early childhood that can impact teeth later in life if they aren’t addressed. This includes prolonged pacifier use or tongue thrusting, which can affect the development of the teeth and jaws and lead to misalignment.
  • Dental Development: Irregular growth patterns or early loss of baby teeth can disrupt the alignment of permanent teeth as they erupt.
  • Jaw Size Discrepancy: Differences in the size of the upper and lower jaws can cause underbites, overbites, or crossbites.
  • Oral Trauma: Injuries to the mouth or face can disrupt the alignment of teeth and jaws.
  • Oral Habits: Persistent habits like nail biting or pen chewing can exert pressure on the teeth, causing them to shift out of alignment. 
  • Tooth Crowding: Insufficient space in the jaw can lead to overcrowding, where teeth become crooked or overlap each other.
  • Jawbone Structure: Variations in the shape or structure of the jawbone can affect how the teeth align when they erupt.

How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

How Braces Help

So, how do braces help resolve these problems? Let’s take a closer look:

  • Straightening Teeth: Metal braces and clear braces are designed to gradually move misaligned or crooked teeth into proper alignment. Clear aligners might also be an option for treatment, based on your case.
  • Closing Gaps: Braces can also work to close gaps or spaces between teeth as needed, caused by either overcrowding or missing teeth. By applying pressure to specific teeth, braces can encourage them to move closer together, effectively closing the caps and creating a more beautiful smile.
  • Correcting Bite Issues: When faced with bite issues, the goal is to realign teeth and jaws in such a way that the bite becomes balanced. A balanced bite that helps with overall oral function, especially when biting or chewing.
  • Improving Overall Oral Health: Straightening your teeth with braces isn’t merely a cosmetic asset. A straighter smile promotes better oral health since straight teeth are far easier to clean and maintain. This reduces the risk of plaque buildup, tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems.

How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

A Friendly Warning

When you have issues that braces can help with, you are presented with the choice to pursue treatment or not. But Windy City Orthodontics wants you to be aware of some of the potential consequences of letting these conditions go ignored. 

    1. Difficulty Chewing: When you’re unable to chew properly, it can actually affect your digestion patterns as well. This is why re-aligning your bite can be so critical.
    2. Speech Problems: Malocclusion can affect speech clarity and pronunciation, leading to difficulties communicating. 
    3. TMJ Disorders: The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can be strained by misalignment, causing discomfort, pain or other disorders related to the jaw.
    4. Tooth Wear: Uneven pressure on teeth due to misalignment can cause excessive wear and tear, leading to enamel erosion, increased risk of cavities, and tooth sensitivity. 
    5. Breathing Issues: Severe malocclusions can sometimes contribute to breathing problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea, which affects the position of the airway.
    6. Gum Disease: Crowded or overlapping teeth can create tight spaces that are difficult to clean, increasing the risk of further oral health concerns.
    7. Self-Esteem Issues: Aesthetic concerns associated with crooked or protruding teeth can impact self-confidence and social interactions, whether it’s for young children, adolescents, or adults. We’re happy to offer our services to all age groups.
    8. Dental Trauma: Protruding teeth are inevitably more susceptible to trauma during accidents or sports activities, increasing the risk of dental injuries.
    9. Financial Burden: Preventative treatment, when possible, is always a good idea since the consequences can generally lead to higher costs. Even so, Windy City Orthodontics is committed to helping everyone where they are financially and finding solutions.

How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

Taking the Next Steps

If you’ve found any of this information relevant to your orthodontic situation, our team would love to meet you and discuss potential treatment plans. Please contact our Lakeview or Lincoln Park offices. You can schedule a free exam here if you’re a new patient, and we will get back in touch with you soon.