Can braces fix malocclusion problems in teens?

Malocclusion can significantly affect one’s confidence, and especially during teen years, it can be a source of insecurity. Having malocclusion problems as a high schooler can make it difficult for the teenager to have a pleasant experience. This is why orthodontists in Texas recommend parents have their teenagers be put in braces as early as possible. Some may ask, “can braces fix malocclusion problems that my teenager is facing?” and the short answer is yes!

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about malocclusion, as well as how braces can fix related concerns among teenagers.

What is malocclusion?

Before we discuss how braces can fix malocclusion, let’s talk about this concern in a general sense.

Malocclusion, or a “bad bite,” in simpler terms, is the misalignment of one’s teeth. To be more specific, when you close your teeth, and your upper and lower set of teeth are not aligned, then that is a clear sign of it. It can also be referred to as crooked teeth because of the irregular contact between the teeth.

This includes overbites, underbites, open bites, and crossbites. It is one of the most common dental problems. Depending on the severity of the malocclusion, surgery may be necessary in order to fix the problem.

What causes malocclusion?

There is more than one reason why someone would develop malocclusion, but more often than not, this dental concern is due to genetics. Environmental factors also play a role in the development of malocclusion. Here is a list of common causes why one would have a bad bite:

  • One’s teeth are too large for their jaw
  • Thumbsucking beyond the age of five
  • Losing a tooth and causing the remaining teeth to shift
  • The size and structure of one’s jaw
  • Mouth or jaw tumor

Problems malocclusion brings

If the malocclusion were neglected and left untreated, the severity of the misalignment would increase, bringing more health problems to the individual. This is why it’s crucial to treat the problem sooner rather than later, otherwise, the effects can be irreparable or be more expensive to fix.

Some of the problems caused by malocclusion are the increased risk of gum disease, jaw strain, chewing difficulties, and speech issues.

#1 – Appearance

This is the most noticeable concern caused by a bad bite because other people can see it, too. Not only does it affect how you smile, but it can also alter the overall profile or facial structure, especially if it’s severe. Many people notice their facial shape change after getting braces, and this is why.

If your teenager is feeling insecure about the way they smile, then getting braces would definitely get rid of that insecurity.

#2 – Increase the risk of gum disease

Believe it or not, leaving malocclusion untreated can increase the teen’s risk of getting gum disease which can also increase the chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, stroke, and more. It’s not a nice domino effect. 

This is due to the crooked teeth having space for bacteria to accumulate. It’s not a really nice domino effect. Malocclusion harms one’s overall health.

#3 – It can cause jaw strain

Malocclusion can cause one’s jaw to tense up, ultimately straining it. The individual may often experience uncomfortable jaw pain, headaches, or even a strange clicking noise whenever they open or close their mouth. 

There are also some instances wherein the uneven pressure that’s applied to the teeth can even cause damage to them. It’s best to consult an orthodontist so that they can check on the status of the teeth, as well as the severity of the bad bite.

#4 – It can develop chewing difficulties

Teeth that do not properly fit together can make biting and chewing a bit more complicated compared to the average person. Not only is it difficult, but it can also be painful or uncomfortable, especially when chewing for a longer time.

When your teen is finding it difficult to chew, they tend to eat less, which can deprive them of the nutrients they need since their bodies are still developing.

#5 – It can form speech issues 

Having malocclusion can cause the individual to form lisps or speech issues. Teeth play an important part in communicating, so the misalignment can alter how one normally talks. This can cause problems and misunderstandings, leaving the person frustrated in trying to get their point across to the receiver.

How malocclusion is diagnosed

The diagnosis of malocclusion depends on the patient’s (your teenager) physical examination and complete history of their mouth. From there, an X-ray scan is needed in order to get a closer look at your teen’s teeth and their alignment.

Additionally, impressions of the teen’s teeth will be made: a mold of their teeth will help with evaluating the severity of the malocclusion.

The orthodontist will determine whether your teen is a good candidate for braces (or any orthodontic treatment) and recommend the necessary steps to follow.

Can braces fix malocclusion?

Braces are the most common option for treating malocclusion problems. Braces help fix the jaw and teeth’s alignment by straightening them throughout a period of time. There are different kinds of braces, such as the traditional metal ones, ceramic, and also invisible aligners–commonly known as Invisalign®.

By visiting the orthodontist, you and your teen will be able to come to a conclusion on which type of braces treatment would suit them the most.

How long do teens have to wear braces?

The overall duration period of the treatment will vary on how severe the teen’s malocclusion is. With braces, your teen will have to visit the orthodontist every now and then to have them adjusted. Some finish their treatment within a year, while others may take more than that.

To get an accurate timeline of the braces treatment in Texas, you will have to consult with an orthodontist.

Schedule a free consultation

We hope this article has answered your question, “Can braces fix malocclusion problems in teens?” and have given you much more insight into the topic.

Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more about your teen’s malocclusion issue and find an effective solution for it. Allow us to take good care of your teen’s teeth and make sure that their dental journey is a fun experience.