Teeth Look Straight? Here's Why You Still Might Need Braces By Kellyn Hodges on March 28, 2024

braces patientBraces apply subtle pressure to the teeth and jaw to encourage gradual movement. Over time, braces correct malocclusion problems to put the teeth and jaw in their proper positions. Usually, crooked teeth are the primary indicator that a person requires braces, but that is not always the case.

Some malocclusion problems are not visible when a person smiles. There may be other signs that an individual can benefit from braces. Here, Dr. Kellyn Hodges, whose orthodontic practice serves Philadelphia, PA, Bala CynwydPA, and Bensalem, PA, explains why you still might need braces if the teeth look straight and how to know it’s time for treatment.

Crooked Molars and Pre-molars

When a person smiles, only the front teeth are visible. An adult has 32 teeth (if they have all four wisdom teeth), so some can be crooked without making the front teeth look misaligned. Many people have crooked molars or pre-molars, the teeth at the side and back of the jaw. Even though molars and pre-molars aren’t seen when a person smiles, correcting the position of crooked molars is necessary to preserve oral health and promote jaw function.

Pain While Biting and Chewing

Braces improve the position of crooked teeth so the smile looks straight and attractive. Additionally, braces correct the jaw’s position to allow for a straight and even bite. Malocclusion problems that affect the bite may not be visible but are often felt. When a person experiences pain or discomfort when biting and chewing, it is likely a sign that the jaw is misaligned, and orthodontic treatment is necessary.

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Bruxism (grinding and clenching of the teeth) is a potential sign that someone needs braces. The teeth may grind against each other because the jaw is not properly aligned. Teeth grinding and clenching frequently occur while a person sleeps, so they may not be aware of the habit. As time goes on, grinding and clenching wear down the teeth and cause damage that is visible at a dental exam. When a dentist sees signs of bruxism, they may recommend an orthodontic evaluation.

Potential for a Misaligned Bite

When the upper and lower jaw are different sizes or malformed, it throws off the bite’s balance. A misaligned bite can compromise oral functions, including biting, chewing, and speaking. Malocclusion problems can also cause oral pain and may lead to TMJ disorder. Even if the teeth look straight, there is potential for a crossbite, underbite, open bite, or midline shift, all of which can benefit from braces treatment.

Determining the Need for Braces

When the front teeth look straight, there can still be other signs that braces treatment is necessary. Individuals who experience any of the abovementioned concerns should schedule an orthodontic evaluation. Dr. Hodges can examine the teeth and jaw to determine if malocclusion problems are present.

Contact Us

Even when the teeth look straight, a person can experience malocclusion problems that can benefit from braces treatment. Individuals experiencing oral discomfort when chewing or other signs that braces might be necessary should contact Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics and schedule an appointment at their earliest convenience.

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Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics staff

Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics

At Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics, serving patients in Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, and throughout Philadelphia, we are committed to helping children and adults of all backgrounds achieve beautiful, healthy smiles. Our compassionate and widely respected doctors are members of prestigious dental organizations, including: 

  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • American Dental Association 
  • National Dental Association
  • National Board of Orthodontics, U. S. 

To reach our helpful, multilingual staff, call us at (610) 617-0700 or request a consultation online.

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We love Kellyn Hodges! She listens to her patients and provides excellent care! Her staff is very friendly and helpful as well! Tara F.

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