Straight teeth – when the smiles are aligned
The Straight talk
Like a straight jacket, the concept of straight teeth can be more than a bit restricting. The aesthetics of the smile is in many ways much more complicated than civil and city planning, and terms like “straight” carry a different set of meanings for the orthodontist than they do for the civil engineer or architect.
For the city planner, straight lines are all that really matter, whereas in the case of a smile, straight lines, particularly on the biting edge of teeth, are often an indication of manufactured dentures or poorly applied veneers. Instead, the lines in the smile are not about straightness, but about a balanced and harmonious relationship, both between the teeth, and accounting for the completeness of the teeth, mouth and entire face.
The Smile Zone
While what we call the smile zone is only composed of six teeth (between the canines) and it is generally only these teeth that appear between the lips when smiling. How these teeth appear, however, is dependent upon their relationship with all the other teeth that may not be visible, and the relationship between all of these teeth influence even the resting aesthetic of the entire face.
Picket fences may look good in a neighborhood, but when it comes to the smile, teeth that are too straight may also be an impediment to a winning smile. Because of this, there is no “normal” when it comes to the perfect smile, and “straightness” of teeth needs to be assessed not only on the teeth within the smile zone, but in consideration of all 32 healthy adult teeth in correct relation to one another in an harmonious aesthetic.
Problems caused by misalignment
While “straight teeth” might not be the correct name for it, having the right harmonious relationship between your teeth is about more than just a winning smile. The alignment of your teeth is an important contributing factor to dental health and hygiene. A misalignment in the relationship between teeth can cause a number of problems for people, including:
- Reduced oral hygiene: improper alignment between teeth can make cleaning them difficult, with some surfaces being restricted or covered by others, creating areas within the smile where plaque can build up, leading to an increased risk of cavities and gum disease
- Speech difficulties: a misaligned relationship between teeth can sometimes negatively influence speech and proper enunciation, and can even lead to a lisp in some cases
- Restricted or improper bite: misalignment between teeth can result in reduced or maligned contact between the teeth when the upper and lower jaw do not meet correctly. Over time, this can lead to extraneous and unnecessary wear on the teeth, in addition to making chewing more difficult and straining the jaw muscles. Those who have jaw misalignment may also experience stress of the temporomandibular joint, causing headaches, tension and tooth grinding, especially at night during sleep.
Benefits of going straight
Having crooked or misaligned teeth can often leave people feeling self conscious about their smile, which can have massive cascading effects on the rest of their life and wellbeing. When someone is not confident of their smile, they are prone to smile less. This has much more than social ramifications, as many studies have shown, the simple act of smiling increases natural dopamine production (a natural “feel good” neurotransmitter created naturally in the brain and kidneys of people – and produced by most plants and animals), and smiling leads to more smiling. Like a yawn, a smile is contagious – in a good way!
If you would like to discover what options are available for you to improve your smile, call us on 828-274-2500 or send us a message to schedule a complimentary consultation in which Dr. Roeder can present you with all possible options after a thorough individual examination.
Roeder Orthodontics proudly serves the communities in Asheville, NC and beyond. Stop by any time during office hours and see our place for yourself, and get to know the RO family.