Do I Need Braces?

Signs You Might Need Braces

"Do I need braces?" That's the question patients are often looking for us to answer when they come to Sawgrass Orthodontics for a free consultation. The answer, of course, depends on the alignment of your teeth and jaw, as well as the smile you want to achieve.

Although we will design your treatment plan uniquely to fit you, there are several types of common conditions that we see in patients and find it helpful to discuss here on our website.

We outline these common conditions to help prospective patients understand how the challenges they face with their own smiles can be corrected with orthodontics. If any of these conditions are something you’re struggling with right now, we would be happy to discuss them in a free consultation.


Overly Crowded Teeth

Teeth that are overly crowded are difficult to brush and floss, which makes maintaining oral hygiene and keeping your smile healthy quite a challenge. With braces or Invisalign, teeth can be gradually adjusted to form a straighter and more evenly spaced smile that is easier to keep clean and diminishes painful facial tension or difficulty chewing.

Gaps Between Teeth

Just as teeth can become overly crowded, they can also have a little too much space between them! Gaps in teeth are quite common because they can happen for a variety of reasons, from sucking your thumb as a child to gum disease as you age. Our doctors can identify the cause of gaps in your smile and create a plan just for you to fix them.


Missing Teeth

Sometimes, gaps between the teeth exist because of missing teeth. In particular, some patients’ lateral incisors (the teeth right next to the two front teeth) are congenitally missing - meaning they never grow in.

To treat this condition, braces are used to move the teeth into their proper positions, and then the orthodontist places bonded bridges where the lateral incisors would have been. This treatment plan creates a complete, evenly-spaced smile that patients and orthodontists love!

Open Bite

An open bite means the front teeth - upper and lower rows - do not touch and close when the patient smiles or tries to chew. Many open bites are related to sucking the thumb as a young child, which causes teeth to grow into a rounded, angular formation.

However an open bite occurs, it can generally be treated with braces and an orthodontic appliance known as a ‘crib’ that restrains the tongue. After this treatment is complete, an open bite patient will have a new, nicely aligned bite and be able to close the teeth to bite into favorite foods and eat with ease and comfort!

Mother and daughter with nice smiles
Mother and daughter in a affectionate pose outdoors.

Deep Overbite

A deep overbite means the lower teeth recede so far behind the upper teeth that they bite into the roof of the mouth. Braces and often jaw surgery are used to correct overbites.

While orthodontic treatment as an adult can be just as effective and is always a wise investment, overbites and other issues can sometimes be corrected even more easily and without surgery if caught early enough during childhood. This is what makes early orthodontic exams so important!



An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth. This type of bite misalignment often causes a lot of pain at the jaw joint, and the angled pressure of the bite can even wearing down some of the teeth.

Overbites are often treated with jaw surgery or wearable corrective appliances like palatal expanders or bands that pull and shift the jaw position. Orthodontic treatment relieves the pain and discomfort of an underbite and makes smiling, eating and even breathing easier.



An overjet is created when the top front teeth protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. If the issue is diagnosed with an early orthodontic exam during childhood, the treatment plan will often be divided into two phases. Sometimes, palatal expanders are used to make room for teeth, bringing them back into the mouth from where they protrude.

Overjets are slightly more difficult but still possible to correct in adults with fully formed jaws. As with any bite issue, the treatment for an adult may be longer than for a child or require surgery. At the end of treatment at any age, an overjet patient will be left with a beautiful, balanced smile and feel more confident than ever!