Why orthodontics is more than just aesthetics

orthodontic assessment

By Dr Daniel De Angelis

When people think of orthodontics, mostly what comes to mind is braces (and is an orthodontist a dentist? And the answer is no :-), a Specialist Orthodontist has done an extra 3 years of training on top of a dental degree to become an expert in this field).

But, orthodontics is more than just braces, more than straightening teeth and definitely more than what your teeth look like.

A malocclusion (you might hear this term when you see a Specialist Orthodontist) refers to your bite. Essentially, a malocclusion is when your teeth don’t meet correctly when you bite together. You might hear the terms overbite, crossbite, underbite, open bite and deep bite, just to name a few, to describe the kind of bite you might have.

Malocclusion and why orthodontics is more than just aesthetics

Having a malocclusion can have quite a few negative impacts on your oral health and wellbeing including excessive tooth wear, jaw joint pain, gum recession and even headaches.

What are the symptoms of having a malocclusion?

Some symptoms can include:

  • Abnormal alignment of teeth
  • Abnormal wear of your teeth
  • Alteration of facial structure
  • Frequent biting of the inner cheeks or tongue
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Speech difficulties, including the development of a lisp
  • Breathing through your mouth, rather than your nose.

Can malocclusions cause headaches?

According to the Australian Society of Orthodontists, a severely misaligned jaw can lead to stress and pain in the teeth and jaw leading to headaches, particularly if it’s caused by grinding of the teeth.

Why is aligning my jaw important?

An uneven bite can put enough pressure on the joint that acts as the hinge for your jaw (known as the temporomandibular) leading to chronic headaches, which is why properly aligning the jaw and straightening the teeth need to go hand in hand.

How will I know if I have a malocclusion?

When you see a Specialist Orthodontist they aren’t just looking at your teeth.

A facial examination is done at the initial consultation (read our blog what to expect at the first appointment) then a number of X-rays so I can see exactly what is going on. The X-rays are really important diagnostic tools that help me work out how and where the teeth need to move in order to straighten the teeth and if needed, to correct the bite and align the jaw correctly.

If you have any concerns, seeing a Specialist Orthodontist is a good idea. They can recommend treatment to correct the position of your teeth and avoid potential pain, discomfort, and oral complications.

Until next time,

Keep Smiling!