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According to the American Dental Association, more than a quarter of adults aren’t happy with their dental health. Are you one of those people?

We all know the importance of getting regular checkups at the dentist, but what about trips to the orthodontist?

Sometimes the signs that you need to seek orthodontic care aren’t obvious. Here we outline the reasons why you need to see an orthodontist.

1. You Notice Changes in Your Teeth

Did you know that your teeth change and shift as you grow older? When you age, you lose bone density, and your gums recede.

Some people will even notice that their teeth appear shorter. Since your teeth go through everyday wear and tear, you’re bound to see some changes.

Your lower two front teeth are the first to begin shifting as you get older — this happens as early as your mid-20s. When these teeth shift, they hit your upper teeth when you chew. This results in more wear and tear.

To add, life’s many stressors affect your teeth as well. When you’re stressed, you more than likely clench your jaw without noticing. Doing this puts pressure on your back teeth, which causes them to change position. Teeth grinding is associated with other health issues, but we’ll get into that later.

2. You Have a Hard Time Eating and Digesting

If your teeth make it hard for you to eat, you probably need orthodontic care. One of the reasons why poor tooth alignment causes digestive issues is because it prevents you from breaking down food.

Specifically, those with an uneven bite will find it hard to chew foods and break them down properly. Not only does this mean they’re not getting enough nutrition, but they are more than likely are swallowing — this puts stress on the digestive system.

3. You Wake Up with Jaw Pain and Headaches

As mentioned earlier, tooth grinding can cause painful symptoms. Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition where you unconsciously gnash or clench your teeth.

While teeth grinding can occur at any time of the day, many people teeth clenching at night — this is known as sleep bruxism.

Sleep bruxism results in a sore jaw, stiff neck, and dull headaches. The cause for this condition is unknown, but it is prevalent in those with anxiety, sleep apnea, and multiple sclerosis. Also, misaligned teeth are associated with bruxism.

If you wake up with reoccurring headaches and a painful jaw, you may want to consult with an orthodontic care specialist. If this condition goes untreated, it results in damage to the teeth and severe headaches.

4. You Have Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of those things that sneaks up on you. An initial sign of gum disease is bleeding when you brush your teeth.

The primary cause of this condition is plaque build-up. Excess plaque causes inflamed gums. With misaligned teeth, it can be difficult to floss and remove plaque — thus causing gum disease properly.

Gum disease shouldn’t be ignored. It has been linked to several health conditions; some of them include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature births.

That’s why it’s crucial to address misaligned teeth and seek orthodontic care.

5. You Have Speech Issues

Misaligned teeth can cause some issues with speech. One common speech impediment caused by misaligned teeth is lisping or whistling. This is often the result of the upper teeth overlapping the bottom teeth.

Also, misaligned teeth affect the correct placement of the tongue, which allows air to escape — making a whistling sound.

Another speech issue caused by misaligned teeth is word slurring. For people to correctly pronounce words, the tongue needs to move freely. With misaligned teeth, the tongue is restricted — resulting in slurred speech.

Although orthodontic care isn’t a cure to all speech disorders, it makes a huge difference.

Orthodontics for Adults

Some adults feel ashamed for seeking orthodontic care. But there’s no shame in wanting to improve your smile and dental health. In fact, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. Most adults worry about the look aesthetic of classic metal braces — however, there are more options.

The growing popularity of clear aligners like Invisalign encourage more adults to seek orthodontic treatment. Like traditional braces, Invisalign trays gradually shift teeth and move them into an aligned position.

Additionally, translucent ceramic brackets and lingual braces are other alternatives to regular metal braces. Consult with an orthodontist to see which treatment is right for you. They will discuss with you the timeline of the procedure and the cost.

Orthodontics for Children

The American Academy of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first orthodontic exam by age 7. At this age, a dental specialist will tell if the child has an orthodontic issue or if the teeth development is normal.

Also, an early exam is ideal because conditions are easier to treat if they are addressed early on in the child’s natural growth process.

For example, if the child has a misaligned jaw, it can be successfully corrected with a palatal expander appliance. However, if left untreated, oral surgery would be required later in life.

There are other issues that prompt orthodontic care. Some of these include persistent thumb sucking, early or late loss of teeth, or and mouth breathing.

At the child’s first visit, the orthodontist will begin an examination to determine if treatment is required. Often treatment does not start right away. Most children don’t begin orthodontic treatment until ages 9 to 14.

Don’t Hesitate to Seek Orthodontic Care

An uneven smile can not only impact your self-esteem, but it can take a toll on your physical health. Well-aligned teeth are easier to care for and decrease the risk of experiencing complications like the ones discussed in this post.

Contact us for orthodontic care by a team you can trust.