10 Signs You May Need Braces

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There are many reasons people get braces, some are obvious and others aren’t as obvious. If you have any of the following issues, it may be time to see an orthodontist and find out if you need braces.

1. Top teeth overlap bottom teeth

We should all have a little bit of an overbite where your upper teeth slightly overlap your lower teeth. But, if you notice that when you bite down, you don’t see much of your lower teeth, you have too much of an overbite. Having a minor overlap is not a problem, but a more severe overlap can cause dental issues and should be corrected to avoid the most common problem, premature tooth wear.

2. Top teeth protrude out over the lower teeth

When your upper teeth are jetted out significantly over your lower teeth, this is called an over-jet. Having too much over-jet can cause trauma to your upper front teeth, most times from falling because they will be the first to take the impact. This can be corrected with braces in combination with rubber bands and for more severe cases surgery to align the jaws.

3. Bottom teeth overlap top teeth

This type of bite is called an under-bite and is treated similarly to an overbite, by aligning your jaws or teeth.

4. Top and bottom front teeth don’t touch

An open bite can make it difficult to bite or chew foods, and may affect your speech. While sometimes genetic, open bites can also be caused by prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use.

5. Teeth don’t meet on each side

If your top and bottom teeth on the sides of your mouth don’t line up when you close your mouth, you may have a cross-bite, which can cause your teeth to wear unevenly. Cross-bites are fixed by aligning your teeth or jaws, depending on what is causing the issue.

6. Teeth are crooked

This is the most common reason people go to see an orthodontist and is most likely what you think of when you hear someone is getting braces. Your teeth can be crooked for a variety of reasons, such as your adult teeth may have come in around baby teeth that didn’t fall out right away, or you may not have enough space in your jaw to accommodate all of your adult teeth. Whatever the reason, crooked or crowded teeth can be hard to clean and may make you self-conscious, but they are easily moved back into place with braces or Invisalign.

7. Too much space between teeth

This is the opposite problem of having crowded teeth, but it can also cause issues and is very treatable with braces or Invisalign.

8. Jaw or mouth pain

Not all orthodontic issues are visible, some may only be felt, but that doesn’t make them any smaller. If you experience jaw or mouth pain on a regular basis, you should see an orthodontist right away to determine what is causing your discomfort.

9. Difficulty biting or chewing

Teeth that are misaligned can negatively affect your ability to eat comfortably. If you have trouble eating or find yourself frequently biting the insides of your cheeks or your tongue, it may be because your teeth are crooked or your bite is off.

10. Speech issues

Not being able to speak clearly can be caused by many things, one of which is an orthodontic issue. If you have trouble saying certain words, or if you notice your child is struggling, it may be time to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist.


When you first get your braces in, you might not be sure of what to expect. And we feel like it is a lot easier to manage those first five days of braces if you know what’s going on! It’s even a good time to revisit good oral-care practices and turn them into habits. Here are 12 things to expect and tips to help ease the adjustment period:

  1. Braces will feel strange to your lips and tongue. It’s normal to be a little fidgety, moving your lips over the braces, or touching the braces with your tongue. But within a day or two, this type of “checking it out” activity will go away.
  2. You might notice excess saliva, and feel like you have to swallow a lot. This is because our mouths treats new braces like it’s food. This shouldn’t last too long – maybe 20 minutes to a few hours after the braces are placed.
  3. Your bite will feel different as the teeth move. If you have lower braces, you may also have “bite bumps” or “bite turbos”, little braces or bonding buttons on the inside or on the biting surfaces of some teeth. These are designed to prevent you from biting hard against your braces and may take 3-5 days to feel “normal”.
  4. The “glue” that holds the braces on your teeth is similar to the material we use to fill teeth. It is strong, but it takes up to 48 hours to set completely. Softer foods will be easier to eat, while also allowing the braces to set
  5. Keep reviewing the “dos and don’t” guide that we give you. In these first five days, you might be tempted to eat hard and sticky foods. But you must avoid them because they could break your braces and ultimately lengthen your treatment time.
  6. Take a look at all of the items we have given you to help keep your teeth clean and comfortable. You can also get many of these items from the pharmacy. Clean teeth and gums are more critical when braces are on your teeth.
  7. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, if you don’t already. For bonus points, brush after lunch too! We strongly recommend also checking up on your teeth with a lighted magnifying mirror, like a make-up or shaving mirror.
  8. Parents – check on your child’s brushing at least once a day for the first few days! They might be missing some key areas where food and debris get trapped, and you’ll want them to be able to catch these spots themselves.
  9. As always, young patients between 7-17 should be rinsing with a fluoride rinse before going to bed. And this should continue even after the first five days!
  10. Most patients have no need for wax – and we actually want the lips and cheeks to toughen up during the first 5 days of braces. If a sore develops and you want to use wax, do so by drying the irritated area and pushing a little piece of wax onto the rough spot.
  11. The new high technology wires are activated by body heat. So if your new braces feel really tight, try rinsing with ice water to temporarily reduce the pressure. But if you do this …do NOT chew the ice!
  12. In those first few days, your teeth might feel sore. While most of our patients don’t take pain medication, you can relieve the ache by taking an age-appropriate non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, like Advil or Motrin according to a physician’s recommendation.

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions, so get an appointment today.