Straight teeth are coveted by people of all ages. They’re considered an enhancement to a person’s appearance and almost a necessity in America. Because of that, millions of people from every age bracket undergo orthodontic treatment every year.

Braces are recent.

Dentistry has undergone many advances over the last century. Orthodontists as we know them weren’t introduced until the 1900s and braces as we know them weren’t introduced until the 1970s. We’ve come a long way since then.

Orthodontic treatment is recommended for every child.

This is because of the long-term health benefits of straight teeth. It’s very rare that a child has perfect tooth and jaw alignment. The earlier that tooth and jaw problems are corrected, the healthier the child’s mouth will be. Additionally, it will take less time to straighten a child or teenager’s teeth than it will to straighten an adult’s teeth. That’s because their bones are more moveable and because they have less bone loss, gingival problems, and infections.

Orthodontists treat more than just teeth alignments.

They also treat bite and jaw misalignments. They know that your bite is just as important as the straightness of your teeth. Orthodontists can fix problems such as a clicking jaws (or TMJ), chewing problems, and speech impediments.

Braces are a health benefit.

If misaligned jaws or teeth are left untreated, it can lead to gum disease, tooth erosion, or even lockjaw (if the jaw is misaligned). Crowded teeth are susceptible to gum problems and bad breath since they are more difficult to get clean and tend to trap plaque and odor-causing bacteria. Studies have shown that bacterial infections in the mouth have caused more serious conditions, such as pneumonia, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Not all orthodontic providers are alike.

Nowadays, some dentists straighten teeth too. But there’s one important thing you need to know about that: they haven’t undergone full orthodontic training. There have been many cases where people have been drawn into getting their teeth straightened by a dentist because of an attractive lower cost, only to end up needing to get an orthodontist to fix something that went wrong. In the end, it cost them a lot more than if they had just gone to an orthodontist in the first place. Orthodontists are specialists in teeth alignments, having undergone orthodontic training in addition to dentistry training.

Braces can be almost invisible.

And we’re not just referring to Invisalign. Yes, Invisalign is an excellent option for people who don’t want others to know they have braces, but not everyone qualifies for Invisalign. These people can choose to get clear braces or tooth-colored braces or even lingual braces (that sit behind the teeth). Be prepared, though, for fancier options to cost more.

Whether it’s your child or you that needs braces, an orthodontist is prepared to help you. Braces are a worthy investment at any age because they improve oral health and overall health in addition to creating a better appearance.