A common misconception about braces is that their purpose is purely cosmetic. Although it's nice that the use of orthodontic appliances results in straight teeth and a pretty smile, it is important to know that there are many medical reasons for orthodontics.
The purpose of braces is to move teeth into their best possible alignment. Teeth that suffer from misalignment (also known as malocclusion) can lead to health problems that go far beyond the mouth.
Malocclusion can be problematic when it interferes with proper chewing because crooked teeth don't work as well as straight ones. Chewing food properly facilitates the digestion process, so it's important that teeth can do the job. In order for the chemicals in the stomach to access nutrients, food particles need to be crushed into very small pieces.
Your jaw will have to work harder to chew when your teeth are misaligned. Headaches, facial pain and neck pain are often caused by overworked jaw muscles and can trickle down into the lower back muscles, hip and leg joints.
Teeth that aren't aligned correctly can also be harder to brush and keep clean, which can lead to tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. These problems may need to be corrected with expensive dental treatments.
If you are wondering whether or not you need braces, an orthodontist in New York City would be happy to answer any of your questions.