Since having some fillings recently, I have been very aware of the alignment of my teeth. My upper front teeth have always grown slightly inwards and come down nearly to the bottom of the lower teeth when I close my mouth, and now I am feeling them press against the lower teeth. I also have a couple of upper teeth missing, the third from the back on each side, and can sometimes feel the corner pressing down on the lower teeth when I chew or close my mouth. I think I also close my teeth together quite tightly when I sleep.
I went to a dentist last week, who said that I had "Deep Bite" and recommended that I have orthodontic treatment (braces) to correct this. He said that if I do not have this treatment, the problems could get worse necessitating more complicated treatment later - the back teeth being ground down and the front ones being pushed in or chipping (I have already had one of the lower teeth chip in the past).
However, other people I have spoken to (not dentists), have told me that as I am already 37 years old, much of the damage is already done, so braces would only probably delay the inevitable by a few years - and for that, I would need to have a few years of inconvenient and expensive treatment; and that anyway the teeth would start to grow back towards their original positions after the treatment finishes.
I would really appreciate hearing some views from others about what the reality is about this. I would like to know the full story about what the consequences are of having and of not having braces.
Yes, this is a tough one as there are pros and cons to both sides. The fact that you are recently becoming aware of your bite means it is probably shifting or changing slowly over time in some manner. Missing teeth can cause this to happen. If left untreated it can result in the bite becoming totally unbalanced which may lead to tmj - clenching and chipping of the teeth indicate you may be heading in that direction.
Braces may be able to correct this before things get that out of control - a lot of people get them as adults and yes there is more of a tendency for teeth to want to return to their previous positions post treatment for adults which makes it even more important for them to wear their retainer longer than someone younger. However if the braces are not done by someone trained in orthopedics of the mouth this type of situation can be made worse and cause more issues as it does affect the underlying bone structure and tmjs.
My advice would be to go to several drs for consults to have your bite evaluated and gather as much info as you can to help make your decision. You may want to see a neuromuscular dentist and orthodontists trained in FJO and TMJ as this is not a cosmetic issue and just moving your teeth around so they look aesthetically pleasing may indeed cause more problems. It could be that other alternatives may be better - such as simply replacing the missing teeth to better support your bite and jaws.
I noticed the reference to missing teeth in the repy. I have two molars (upper left, lower right) that have been pulled in recent years. I chew reasonably well without them and would prefer not to spend the money to get partials, let alone bridges or implants. I am nearly 70. At my age do I still need to worry about shifting teeth and such? Can I avoid replacements or do I need to get them inorder to avoid additional significant problems?
Could you please say a little more about the pros and cons on each side that you mention.
There is a difficulty here in the UK with seeing a number of consultants. They all charge a high fee for an initial consultation (perhaps it is a way of ensuring that you stay with them for treatment), and so it is not feasible to visit many of them.
Guyshahar - the pros of braces are they can properly realign your teeth, reduce if not eliminate your overbite and provide for a better bite and jaw support. The cons could be that the realignment does not correct the overbite or causes more problems such as tmj and structural issues. Some patients find their facial appearance or profile change quite a bit after braces and not always for the better. The fact you are missing teeth needs to be taken into account in terms of how they are addressed during orthdontic treamtent- by replacement or repositioning. Yes teeth repositoned by braces have a tendency to try and return to their former places and this needs to be taken into consideration as the long term results of treamtent can be altered by not wearing the retainer afterwards.
Not doing anything however may result in more clenching or grinding at night, more shifting of teeth and fratures or chipping of teeth, gum recesssion, tooth sensitivity and a general decline in the appearance of your teeth and your ability to chew comfortably. This will not really happen over night but will take years to occur but in the end you could lose teeth as a result. The only pro I can think of with this is you save money now and spend it later.
Addressing the issue of replacing missing teeth - there are many options to do this - fixed bridge, partial, implants - what is right for you may depend on your dental condition (underlying bone,etc) and finances. This may stop any future shifitng of teeth and if you can live with your present overbite, braces may not be needed. The cons depend on the option of replacement chosen - as each comes with its own set of pros and cons.
And of course the right dentist has a lot to do with determining the outcome of any treatment you undertake. The right dentist should be able to assess your bite and provide you with even more info and options, pros and cons, etc.
jjdm - as mentioned previously it can take many years for missing teeth to result in the shifting of other teeth - the condition of the underlying bone structure and the existing bite and how other teeth meet also comes into play. However signs that your bite is being affected by missing teeth may include other teeth directly below or above the missing teeth appearing to grow or erupt (get longer), teeth adjacent to the missing teeth appearing to rotate or turn slightly or feel loose or mobile, increasing sensitivity of adjacent teeth, periodic episodes of facial or jaw pain, earaches or headaches usually upon waking or occurring within 1/2 hour of being up and about or episodes of clenching or grinding at night. Not all teeth need to be replaced - some people do fine missing a few and then some - it may also have to do with your natural bite and where the force of the bite is the greatest relative to the missing teeth.
no matter how old you are , your teeth are a part of you, an are worth taken care of at any age , i was in my mid 40's when i started ortho treatment , was 2121 days for me in braces an other orthodontic appliances, i to had a very deep overbite , my bottom teeth are worn in the front on the top edge from hitting the backs of my uppers, an my uppers are thinner in the back from the lower fronts hitting them in the back , this all being said with all the appliances that were used on me , an yes even headgear at my age, i would still do it
Last edited by Braced Face; 05-26-2009 at 01:09 PM.