To some people, braces might seem like a rite of passage into early adulthood. We grow up fixated on straight, pearly whites and spend thousands of dollars to get them. But braces and Invisalign can be expensive and just plain inconvenient, so it’s important to know whether or not you definitely need them as well as some signs to identify.

At Southtowns Dental, we’ll make sure our orthodontic procedures not only straighten your teeth but also improve any physical discomfort you might have from misalignment. If you’re unsure, we’re here to help with these five signs you need braces, Invisalign, or other orthodontic procedures:

1. Your teeth are visibly crooked and crowded.

If you have overcrowding in your mouth, your teeth can shift and become crooked while searching for space. Most people can visibly see a crooked tooth and it’s one of the most common reasons for getting braces.

You might experience overcrowding if your adult teeth grow in before your baby teeth fall out, or if your teeth are too large for the amount of space in your mouth. If crowded teeth go untreated, you can have problems flossing and getting a proper clean, which will eventually lead to tooth decay.

2. There’s too much space between your teeth.

The opposite of crowding is having too much space between your teeth. These are visible gaps that are sometimes caused by missing or undersized teeth.

While spaces between individual teeth can be a cosmetic concern, space between top and bottom sets of teeth can affect your speech or even make it difficult to chew food. The most common cause for spacing between top and bottom teeth is thumb-sucking as a kid.

3. Your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth.

A slight overlap is completely normal, so how do you know if you have an overbite worth fixing? One way to detect this is by looking at your smile. If you’re completely unable to see your bottom teeth, you likely have an overbite that needs addressing. Your bottom teeth may even rub into your gums behind your top teeth, which can cause discomfort. This is another reason to talk with your dentist about orthodontic services.

Another way to find out if your teeth overlap is to take a photo of your side profile while smiling. If your top teeth protrude outward, you’d probably benefit from braces. Protruding teeth can signal jaw misalignment and can even lead to a traumatic injury if anything hits the front of your mouth.

Braces or Invisalign? What Will it Cost?

Download Our Free Orthodontics Information Guide

4. Your bottom teeth overlap your top teeth.

An underbite, also known as prognathism, might be a little more obvious since you can visibly see the jaw misalignment. If your bottom teeth come in front of your top teeth, or if your bottom teeth protrude outward, braces could greatly improve your smile.

A severe underbite can cause facial abnormalities, and even affect chewing, swallowing, and speaking. And if you go too long without being treated, the misalignment can break down tooth enamel and lead to decay.

5. You experience pain when eating or biting.

If you experience any pain or discomfort while biting or chewing, you should call our office to schedule a consultation immediately. You might not be able to see any misalignment yourself, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

Your teeth might not meet on each side, which can cause you to bite the insides of your cheek or tongue. Within one check-up, we’ll be able to spot the problem and start working on the perfect solution for you.

Everyone Deserves A Great Smile – Including You

Download Our Free Orthodontics Information Guide

And if you still have questions, feel free to get in touch with one of our experienced and compassionate dentists today.