There are several reasons why you may choose to delay orthodontic care. Financial issues could be to blame, as could scheduling issues. Perhaps you have a job you can’t take time off from or a job where orthodontics could hamper performance. Maybe you have general indifference toward your orthodontic health.

Some reasons are understandable. Others manifest as excuses. For better or worse, the right answer is always the same: don’t delay your orthodontic care if possible. You only have one set of teeth, one jaw, one smile – and waiting too long to fix lingering issues could have expensive, painful and even permanent consequences. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t delay orthodontic care.

1) Prevent long-term dental issues

Orthodontic problems don’t resolve independently and will only worsen over time. Some of this damage can be catastrophic and could severely impact your ability to function. Failing to address an overbite or underbite could hamper a child’s jaw development. A misaligned jaw could damage the teeth, cause irreversible enamel degradation and even lead to gum disease. 

While some of these problems could eventually become unfixable, others will be treatable. And the costs associated with those treatments could make you hyperventilate. Getting braces or invisible aligners to correct crooked teeth may seem expensive up front, but these solutions are far more cost-effective than the bill you’ll get for corrective surgery later on.

2) Address pain and discomfort

There is no reason to learn to live with pain and discomfort if there is a way to eliminate them. Delaying orthodontic care for jaw pain, discomfort while eating, tooth pain and more will only do one thing – ensure that your discomfort continues unabated. Again, orthodontic issues don’t go away. They fester and grow, only fixable by an orthodontist. Don’t sit there and accept the pain. Get an appointment and find the relief you need.

3) Boost self-confidence

A crooked smile can impact your self-esteem. You may think there’s nothing you can do about that smile, or you could believe a beautiful smile is not worth the hassle. You will be surprised how much orthodontic care can enhance your self-confidence and self-worth. Take a second to consider how much your life may improve with a brand-new smile. If this gives you happy feelings, it means you shouldn’t delay orthodontic care. You only have one life to live, and you’ll thank yourself for living it with your truest smile.

4) Improve oral function

Orthodontic problems can affect your ability to bite, chew and speak properly. Misaligned teeth may not fit together correctly, leading to difficulties while eating food. This can make eating or speaking a distinctly unenjoyable experience. It can even result in inefficient digestion and potential digestive problems at the gastrointestinal level. In addition, jaw malocclusion can impact speech patterns, causing speech impediments or lisps. By seeking prompt orthodontic care, you can improve your oral function, making it easier to eat, speak and enjoy a better quality of life.

5) Payment plans

Financial considerations are a major reason many people put off orthodontic care. There is no escaping it: orthodontic care can be oppressively expensive. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to stymie the financial blow. Make sure you find an orthodontist who accepts your insurance. When researching potential orthodontists, inquire about payment plans. Some orthodontists offer treatment with an affordable down payment and monthly installments. You may be surprised how affordable this critical care can be with a payment plan.

Bottom line

At best, delaying orthodontic care forces you to miss out on the aesthetic benefits of a beautiful smile. At worst, putting it off could lead to lasting or permanent dental problems that result in negative quality of life outcomes. In many cases, getting that orthodontic care could be the best choice you’ve ever made. Talk with your orthodontist about any concerns you have, particularly financial concerns. Learn about what aligners cost. You won’t regret it.