How do you feel about having crooked teeth?
Some people don’t mind having teeth that aren’t perfectly straight. Everyone has a unique smile, after all.
But if having crooked or crowded teeth makes you feel self-conscious about showing off your smile, then you’re probably interested in finding a way to straighten your teeth.
Before you can fix your teeth, it may be helpful to find out what made them crooked in the first place.
What Causes Crooked Teeth?
Crooked teeth are often caused by a discrepancy between tooth size and jaw size.
It’s quite likely that your teeth are a bit misaligned because your lower jaw is slightly bigger or smaller than the upper part of your mouth. This would prevent your upper and lower teeth from lining up correctly. Some people have crowded teeth because there’s just not enough room for all of them in the jaw.
Teeth alignment factors like tooth size and jaw size are usually inherited. So if one or both of your parents have crooked teeth, then that’s probably where you got yours from.
Your tooth roots are cushioned by a network of ligaments that attach to both your teeth and the bone of your mouth. This ligament helps your teeth move through the mouth when they’re under pressure. When your teeth experience constant pressure, they can tip and start to shift position.
This means that your teeth could become crooked or crowded due to things that push them out of place such as:
Problems Caused by Crowded Teeth
Crooked teeth do more than just make your smile look unattractive. They can cause a number of other more serious problems.
Misaligned teeth don’t fit together evenly when you bite down. This can cause one side of your jaw to close down sooner than the other causing strain on your TMJ (temporomandibular joint).
Crooked bottom teeth in particular are highly prone to having gums that recede away from the strain of malpositioning, so you can avoid this with teeth shifting.
The discomfort caused by poorly-aligned teeth can cause headaches for some people.
Cavities are common in overlapped teeth since it’s hard to remove decay-causing bacteria from between them. Air flossers work really well at getting rid of plaque bacteria from between teeth that are hard to clean with regular floss.
Living with an unattractive smile and all the problems that result from crooked teeth can negatively impact the way you feel about yourself.
When your teeth don’t fit together correctly, it can be hard to bite into and chew certain foods like sandwiches, pizza slices, or whole fresh apples.
In worst-case scenarios, misaligned teeth might even cause speech difficulties for some people.
Teeth that are in misalignment can suffer from uneven wear that erodes the enamel on their surface. This can flatten teeth and make them sensitive in addition to predisposing them to fracturing.
Crowded Teeth Pain
Crowded teeth can sometimes be uncomfortable because gum recession may expose their sensitive roots to hot and cold temperatures. Additionally, misaligned teeth will only get pushed further out of line every time you bite down on them and this can cause some discomfort in the teeth themselves.
You may also experience pain around crooked wisdom teeth which push against the teeth in front of them. Overlapping teeth become even more uncomfortable when they get food or dental floss wedged between them.
How To Fix Crooked Teeth
With all the risks of misaligned teeth in mind, you’re now keen to find out how you can straighten them out as soon as possible.
Crooked baby teeth don’t usually need treatment. Baby teeth will soon fall out and be replaced by adult teeth. If your child has crooked baby teeth, then you simply need to monitor them along with your child’s dentist.
Kids and teens are prime candidates for orthodontic treatment since it’s easier to fix or prevent crowded teeth while the bones in the jaw are strong and still developing. But this doesn’t mean that adults can’t have braces, too. Adults are actually prime candidates for a wide variety of orthodontic treatment options.
Braces for Crooked Teeth
Braces are the most popular and dependable way to straighten out crooked teeth. Consisting of metal brackets and wires, braces can usually straighten out teeth within a year or two. If you only need braces to treat crowded bottom teeth, then you might only have to wear them for a few months.
Children tend to have limited braces options. But adult braces offer a wider variety of procedures to choose from.
For example, adults can opt for tooth-colored ceramic braces that blend in with their teeth. There are also lingual braces which, while a bit more difficult to reach, aren’t visible like regular braces because they’re placed on the insides of teeth. Finally, there’s a varied selection of clear aligners (nighttime aligners, for example) which do the same thing braces do.
In some instances, braces alone aren’t enough to correct crowded teeth. If the problem lies in the size or shape of your jawbone, then you might need to have jaw surgery or tooth extraction to create enough space for all of your teeth. Surgical measures to correct tooth alignment are always complemented by a session of orthodontic treatment to straighten out your teeth.
Veneers for Crooked Teeth
If you only have crooked front teeth that aren’t compromised health-wise, then you could address them with a cosmetic fix like dental veneers.
Veneers simply mask the fact that your front teeth are crooked and create a false front. This would give you a perfect smile from the outside. And the best part is that getting veneers is a matter of weeks versus the many months it can take to straighten teeth with braces.
Just remember that while veneers can make crooked teeth look better, they won’t fix your bite itself. So if you have an uncomfortable bite caused by crooked teeth, then the teeth will have to be straightened.
How to Fix Crooked Teeth without Braces
Braces can take a lot of time and multiple trips to the orthodontist’s office. Being made of cold metal and sharp wires, braces can also be quite uncomfortable against your lips, cheeks, and tongue. Not to mention, braces can detract from your appearance and make you look a bit juvenile.
It’s understandable if you’re not interested in getting braces. But if your teeth absolutely need to be straightened and you can’t just cover them up with veneers, then you will have to find another way to straighten them.
A great alternative to regular braces is te clear aligner. Clear, or invisible, the best teeth aligners are those thin but sturdy and flexible plastic trays that are molded to snugly fit your teeth. Pressure from the trays gradually moves your teeth into a new position and you’ll progressively switch out trays as your teeth move.
Clear aligners are better than braces in that they’re metal-free, removable, and barely visible. The only downside is that you have to be responsible about wearing your trays every day as directed by the provider in order for them to work.
You don’t absolutely have to straighten your teeth if you’re fine with the way they look. Perhaps your crooked teeth add charm to your smile and you can show them off with pride.
Crooked teeth aren’t always fun, however. They can cause you significant discomfort as well as compromise your oral health even if you don’t mind the way they look. But just because you may have crowded teeth now doesn’t mean you have to live with them forever.
It is possible to fix crooked teeth and create the smile of your dreams!