When we first shared a photo of our January free braces winner, Ashten Lawrence, on social media, several people commented that her teeth were so straight she and she didn’t need braces. While her teeth do look really straight, she actually does need the help of an orthodontist, but for an issue that is not visible just by looking at her picture.

There are several reasons why having straight teeth doesn’t mean you don’t need orthodontics. Here are a few examples:

Narrow Palate or Upper Jaw

A narrow palate or upper jaw often causes teeth to become crowded, which is usually visible because the teeth come in crooked trying to fit into the space available. However, this condition can also cause another issue that can’t be seen unless you look inside the patient’s mouth.

For some people with narrow palates, their teeth are straight, but their upper teeth fit inside of their lower teeth in the back of their mouths, which means their teeth aren’t properly aligned. This misalignment can cause teeth to wear unevenly or eventually cause pain when chewing.

Midline Shift

A midline shift occurs when the teeth are straight, but they are off-center. This can be the result of a couple issues. If there is a crossbite in the back of the mouth, it can cause all of the teeth to be shifted more to one side. A midline shift can also be caused if you have lost a tooth on one side, but not the other. This allows the teeth to shift unevenly into that space and therefore shifting the midline.

Overbite or Underbite

Along with crossbites, we discussed these conditions and the problems that they can cause in a previous post. Individuals with an overbite or underbite can have perfectly straight teeth, because the bite is not aligned properly, it can lead to jaw pain and uneven wearing of the teeth if not corrected.

Open Bite

We recently shared a post about the problems that can be caused by thumb sucking or using a pacifier after a certain age. One of the issues is called an open bite. While the teeth look straight when the jaws are closed, there is a gap between the top and bottom teeth. An open bite can also be the result of a tongue thrusting habit which can be addressed with orthodontic treatment. An open bite is normal as baby teeth fall out and adult teeth are coming in, but not all open bites correct themselves.

Having an open bite once the adult teeth are in can cause back teeth to wear unevenly and may cause painful chewing or a speech impediment. Extreme cases of open bite even allow food or liquid to escape between the teeth if the tongue isn’t properly placed to block the gap. Having an orthodontist examine your child’s teeth as their adult teeth are erupting – around age 7 – will enable you to find out if they may have an open bite that requires orthodontic treatment.

All of these issues should be treated to ensure optimal dental health. As for which issue Ashten is having corrected, that’s between her and Dr. Savastano, but rest assured her free braces are being put to good use! To find out if you or your child have invisible orthodontic issues that require treatment, give us a call at (843) 4-BRACES to schedule a free initial exam.