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Pros & Cons of Braces

By Sarah Davis ; Updated August 14, 2017

Many people think of getting dental braces as a cosmetic issue -- a way to get a beautiful smile. But it is important to know the health implications of having foreign objects installed in your mouth. Dental braces have distinct pros and cons for your oral hygiene and overall health.

Pros

Braces can treat problems related to crooked teeth, crowded smiles, or poorly aligned bites. When teeth are too close together or difficult to reach, they can be hard to clean, increasing the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease. If not properly treated, such conditions can lead to inflammation or oral infection, placing the patient at increased risk of several diseases, including cardiovascular disease, bacterial pneumonia, and diabetes mellitus. Patients with poor alignment can also experience problems chewing and swallowing food or pronouncing certain words, as well as facial pain from the excessive stress placed on the chewing muscles. Dental braces can mitigate all of these problems.

Cons

Despite these benefits, it is important to note that, like any appliance placed inside the human body, braces have inherent risks. According to orthodontics.org, the discomfort or inconvenience associated with braces can lead patients to neglect their oral hygiene. Because they obscure or block access to the teeth, braces can make it difficult for a patient to floss, brush, and rinse properly. Sugary substances can be especially difficult to remove, resulting in tooth decay.

The appliances themselves may cause difficulties. Friction from the wires, brackets and band attachments may cause minor irritations or injuries. During routine installation, maintenance, and removal, orthodontists must work with sharp instruments within the patient’s oral cavity. Occasionally, patients suffer injury from coming in contact with the tools.

Finally, orthodontic care may cause a response in the tissue surrounding the teeth, causing them to move. Usually this effect is mild and easily corrected. Occasionally, however, the movement results in damage to the ends of the roots.

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