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While the main reason most people want to get braces is to achieve a beautiful, straight smile, there are many other very important reasons to get braces. Correct tooth alignment is critical to healthy teeth, and good oral health is critical to our overall health. Good oral health helps prevent many diseases and allows us to enjoy a healthy diet and feel good about ourselves when we smile.
Gaps between teeth will sometimes trap food particles and cause abnormal jaw growth or gum recession. The most common complaint from patients with excessive spacing is cosmetic.
An overbite, or deep bite, is when the front teeth cover the lower teeth too much. An excessive overbite can lead tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ) problems or cause unhealthy wear patterns in the teeth. Overbites can be caused by thumb or finger sucking or simply by genetics or specific bone development patterns.
With an underbite, the lower jaw is longer than the upper which causes the lower teeth to protrude in front of the upper teeth. An underbite is typically caused by irregular jaw growth in either the upper or lower jaw, or both. Missing upper teeth can also contribute to the development of an underbite. If left untreated, this condition can lead to TMJ problems or cause unhealthy wear patterns in the teeth.
In a healthy bite, the outside ridge of the lower teeth will make contact with the middle of the upper teeth. A crossbite occurs when some of the lower teeth edges are outside of the upper teeth edges. This can be the result of the upper and lower jaws being misaligned. This condition, if left untreated, can cause unhealthy wear patterns on the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.
The common result of thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, an open bite occurs when several upper and lower teeth are unable to make contact with each other. An open bite can make it difficult (or even painful) to bite or chew and can sometimes interfere with speech. This condition can also lead to TMJ problems.
Overcrowding occurs when there is not enough space in the mouth for all the teeth to fit with correct alignment. There are several ways this condition may be treated but it is important to treat because crowded or crooked teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss to maintain oral health. Failure to correct crowded teeth may result in increased gum disease and tooth decay. Crowded teeth may become more crooked over time.