Braces and Confidence: Transforming Smiles and Self-Esteem

Upwards of 70 percent of people may need braces to correct what dental professionals call “malocclusion.” In everyday terms, malocclusion means someone has a “bad bite” due to teeth crowding or not being properly aligned. Getting braces at an early age remains the best corrective solution.

The improved smile youngsters and adults gain from braces also helps build confidence and self-esteem. As a Ponte Vedra family dentistry office, we hope the following information helps parents better understand how to identify malocclusion and the long-term benefits of braces.

Telltale Signs Your Child May Have Malocclusion

There are several reasons why children struggle with misaligned teeth and improper bites. Sometimes, a child’s teeth are simply too large for the jaw to accommodate them. This typically results in the teeth crowding together and conditions such as overbites and underbites. It’s also not unusual for children who suck their thumb to trigger a form of malocclusion. Bad bites are also prevalent after losing a tooth. The surrounding teeth may shift to fill the void. If you notice any of the following telltale signs, your child likely needs to see a pediatric dentist:

  • Teeth Come in Crooked
  • Upper Teeth Extend Over Lower Teeth
  • Lower Teeth Extend Beyond Upper Teeth
  • Facial Appearance Changes
  • Changes in Speech
  • Child Frequently Breathes Through Mouth
  • Experience Discomfort When Chewing
  • Inadvertently Biting Inner Cheeks or Tongue

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of having crooked teeth or a misaligned bite is how it impacts one’s personality. Children and adults tend to feel self-conscious about their appearance rather than laughing, smiling, and being more outgoing. Untreated conditions are also linked to health risks.

Dangers of Not Correcting Malocclusion

As a dentist Ponte Vedra residents trust, our office recommends check-ups as early as two years old. It’s also prudent to schedule appointments for children twice a year so we can track their dental health progress. Routine assessments can also help us take proactive measures to avoid health risks associated with malocclusion:

  • Difficulty Eating
  • Difficulty Speaking
  • Grinding Teeth
  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum Disease
  • Pain and Discomfort

As a Ponte Vedra dentist practice that works with local families to provide effective orthodontics solutions, braces can be a game-changer for your child.

When Should Children Get Braces?

It’s essential to keep in mind that no two pediatric dentistry situations are the same. We treat children based on the state of their teeth, age, and unique health conditions. That being said, braces are usually recommended between the ages of 9 and 13. However, braces may sometimes be needed as early as 6 or 7 years old. The best way to make an informed decision about when to get braces is to see a pediatric dentist at a young age.

Getting Braces & The Science Behind Smiling

Studies consistently link bad teeth to low self-confidence. People who do not like how their teeth and smiles look tend to keep their mouths closed. This outward projection of themselves hides both the malocclusion and the fact that they are hurting inside. Braces can help overcome this internal strain.

Psychology of Smiling

Smiling connects brain parts to the body to project or mask inner feelings. It’s not unusual to smile when someone is anxious, joyful, or something tickles the funny bone. Smiles can be a way to fit in socially, express emotions, or be purely spontaneous. Braces help people to stop repressing their inner selves.

Your Brain on Smiles

Smiling generally results in the brain releasing serotonin, a chemical that makes people feel happier and more at ease. People who smile while they work experience less stress and anxiety, even when completing complex tasks. Another positive reaction the brain has to smiling is the release of dopamine. Dopamine is commonly associated with feeling pleasure.

Boosting Self-Confidence

After struggling with teeth someone preferred not to display, we encourage community members to stand in front of the mirror and practice smiling daily. As you feel more comfortable, try to open up and smile when greeting friends, loved ones, and colleagues in the workplace. The occasional compliments you receive from your bright smile will only add to the renewed confidence and self-esteem that started with braces.

Is your child not smiling due to a dental condition? Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics specializes in providing full-service dental care for children. Contact us today, and let’s get the confidence-building process started!