It depends on the patient. From both my personal experience as a clinical orthodontic practitioner and as revealed in years of dental research literature, the perceived benefit of orthodontic therapy varies considerably between each individual patient. Overall, these benefits fall into either physiological or psychological categories.
The physiological benefits are associated with the orthodontic treatment to help improve the stability, function, and health of both the teeth and associated oral anatomical structures. Otherwise–if left untreated–a poor bite and orthodontic problems could become worse over time, causing people to be at higher risk for abnormal tooth wear, difficulty in chewing, increased tooth decay, and gum disease.
Psychological orthodontic benefits pertain to how an individual’s self-esteem and confidence can be increased by the orthodontic correction of an unsightly set of teeth or facial appearance which caused a person to be overly self-conscious. A child with crooked teeth will be teased by his or her peers and that may affect their psychological and social development. Even for adults, a poor set of teeth may be perceived by others to be due to poor personal hygiene and sloppiness.
In order for a current or prospective orthodontic patient to gain the most benefit from their orthodontic treatment, I have two pieces of advice. First, let your needs be known so that the orthodontic benefits can be specifically tailored to satisfy the needs most important to you; and secondly, seek an experienced orthodontist that is willing to listen to your needs and is capable enough to deliver the benefits.
By Richard Anthony, DDS MS – Blackhawk Orthodontics