Monday, May 7, 2012

The Benefits of Straight Teeth

Most of us associate straight teeth with an attractive smile. It is true that a straight dentition can improve the overall appearance of the face. However, there are other benefits.

Straight teeth may prevent premature tooth loss. A major reason why this is the case is because oral hygiene is much improved. Straight teeth enable better access to more surface area with the brush bristles and floss. If debris is not removed from these surfaces, decay is much more likely to develop.

Tooth decay is only part of the equation. Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (inflammation/infection of the bone surrounding the teeth) are much more likely to develop. If there is no support of the teeth from the bone and gums, even if the teeth are in good shape, tooth loss is likely.

Another major reason for tooth loss is simply malalignment. In order to have proper function and maximum efficiency, it is vital that teeth are properly aligned. In my practice, I often use the analogy of the gears in a car engine. If the teeth are aligned properly, it is likely that your vehicle may get a couple hundred thousand miles. However, if gears do not match up properly, it is highly unlikely that the vehicle will get many miles.

Tooth loss of course has other significant medical sequelae that are too numerous to discuss and beyond the scope of this blog. The link between cardiovascular disease and periodontitis has been discussed in a previous blog. I will discuss other medical concerns in future writings.

The social and psychological benefits of straight teeth are also evident and numerous. Our cultural beliefs tend to consider straight teeth to be more attractive than crooked teeth. This perception leads to social advantages. Attractive (real or perceived) people tend to have better relationship opportunities, better jobs, more status, are less likely to be discriminated against, make more money in their lifetime, and have more confidence.

There are basically two options for straightening teeth. We can use traditional wires and brackets, or we can use clear acrylic aligners such as Invisalign. I will discuss the advantages/advantages and indications/contraindications in a future blog.

Discuss the options and the feasibility of straightening your teeth with your dentist if you are one of the millions of people with crooked teeth.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

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