If you see celebrities, models, and several other public figures showing off their shiny white smiles, you would initially think that their teeth have all been corrected and aligned so that they would look good on camera. Their smiles would make you wish you could do something to make your teeth straighter. But come to think of it – is that typically how normal teeth alignment looks like?
How can we be sure that the orthodontic treatments and procedures that we get are effective if we do not know how our teeth should look like? Let’s understand how a normal teeth alignment and ideal bite look like, so we can appreciate how teeth straightening procedures like using clear aligners and traditional braces work.
Normal Teeth Alignment: How Does it Look Like?
Because social media sensationalizes white, straight, and sparkly teeth, we assumed that that is how our teeth should naturally look like. However, as individuals, we have different sets of conditions, inherent or acquired, that influence how our teeth would look. So, essentially, the normal teeth alignment we should look at is amongst ourselves as well, not comparing the positioning of our pearlies with the others. Unique as it may be, normal teeth alignment does not mean it is perfect.
Why do we want straight-looking teeth?
So, we cleared it out that normal teeth alignment does not necessarily mean perfect teeth positioning. If that is the case, why do we wish to have our teeth straightened? Well, if you think that having straightened or aligned teeth are just for aesthetic purposes only, think again.
Having crowded teeth means more challenging cleaning and maintenance and higher chances of bacterial growth. Hence, you can expect that tooth decay and the development of other medical conditions may happen brought about by bacterial infestation in the mouth.
It’s not just about aesthetics that your dentist wants you to have an ideal bite. He recommends these procedures because he wants you to maintain not just your oral health but your overall well-being as well. So, if that’s the case, what does normal teeth alignment look like?
As the most visible part of your dental cavity, the upper front teeth are the most judged parts. For dentists to consider your teeth alignment as ideal, your upper front teeth should stay in front of your lower front teeth. Not too much, but just fitting that they would not protrude toward the lips. Likewise, the two front teeth should align with the middle of the lip, straight and upright.
When you smile, most of your lower front teeth are hidden behind your upper teeth, and that is normal. As you open your mouth to talk or laugh, you must see that the direction of your teeth follows an upright flow. The crowns are not tilting to the cheeks or the lips, the two middle lower teeth align with the two big upper teeth, and they should not have big spaces in between or overlapping. If they do, this may signify malocclusion.
When you check your teeth alignment, you should also examine the bite. As mentioned earlier, the ideal bite should have the upper front teeth in front of the lower front teeth. Both their arches should flow fluidly together in symmetry with the ridges and cusps.
If the upper teeth cover the lower teeth almost completely, you may have what dentists call a deep bite.
Open bite is when the opposite happens, the upper teeth do not overlap that much.
If you see that the upper teeth alignment crosses or does not meet the alignment of the lower teeth, dentists call it a crossbite.
Another problem is when your upper teeth exaggeratedly protrude toward the lips and away from the lower teeth. Dentists call this open bite. In contrast, if the upper teeth hide behind the lower teeth, they call it underbite.
What If You Do Not Have The Ideal Bite And Teeth Alignment?
If you feel that any of the mentioned terms describe how your bite and teeth alignment looks like, do not feel sad and burdened. Modern technology improved and perfected orthodontics, combining art and science to address the enhancement of both aesthetics and function of our teeth.
What’s more, these teeth straightening procedures do not just correct the positioning of the teeth. They also manage, treat, and look over the health and condition of the gums and the bones that anchor the teeth.
Orthodontic Treatment: Creating The Perfect Teeth
Attaining a perfect smile means designing a structured method that helps you and your dentist achieve the goals that both of you discussed based on your dental situation. You and your dentist must consider the harmony of your facial features, the position and contour of your lip to your teeth, and the health condition of your pearly whites. He may then create a management plan using any of these orthodontic treatments designed to effectively and strategically move the teeth to their correct and respective positions.
Traditional braces have been used for centuries now, and they still prove to be the gold standard of orthodontics. Using fixed appliances attached to the teeth, your dentist tightens and adjusts this wire-and bracket system to gradually move your teeth toward their target positions. Innovation made this bulky orthodontic appliance look more concealed and aesthetically pleasing.
If you feel that braces would affect your appearance in a negative way, maybe clear aligners are the way to go. These dental appliances look like mouth trays that you use for whitening your teeth. Made with clear medical-grade plastic, aligner brands like Invisalign, Clear Correct, byte, and others follow the same strategy, move the teeth gradually without having noticeable metal wires, brackets, and elastics.
Once you decide to undergo any orthodontic treatment, your dentist may require you to have any of the following before, during, or after your procedure to help prepare or maintain your corrected teeth alignment.
Dentists generally recommend their patients to wear retainers immediately after finishing their orthodontic treatment to maintain the movement of the teeth and allow the jaw and bones to adjust to the new teeth alignment.
As seen in movies, headgears may look inconvenient and too complicated. However, its main purpose is to control the growth of your jaws and the placement of your back teeth during your orthodontic treatment.
- Space maintainers
These are fixed or removable appliances used by pediatric dentists to kids who lost their teeth earlier than expected. This maintains the space appropriate for the permanent teeth to prevent malocclusion and overcrowding.
- Palatal expanders
If the reason for your incorrect bite is due to your narrow jaws, your dentist would recommend using this device and fit it on the roof of your mouth to widen your jaw.
If you think your normal teeth alignment needs correction, maybe it is time for you to visit your dentist and inquire about what orthodontic treatment should fit your condition. Only he is the reliable person who has the experience, knowledge, and expertise to tell you the correct ways on how you can improve your smile.
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Malocclusion of teeth
March 2019. 7 Common Bite Problems in Children and Adults
Colgate. What is Orthodontics?
Oral Health Foundation.Orthodontic treatment.