Sometimes, it can make us feel a little self-conscious if our teeth are overlapping, twisted or crooked. Even more so, when the teeth of so many models, actors and social media influencers appear to be “picture perfect.” However, most people’s smiles are not perfect. In reality, many adults and children have misaligned teeth. While crooked teeth are not something to be ashamed of, they can occasionally cause oral health problems. Read on to learn more about what causes crooked teeth and some options to straighten them.
WHAT CAUSES CROOKED TEETH?
There are several reasons why someone may have developed crooked teeth, including:
- Genetics: Tooth crowding, jaw size, jaw shape, hyperdontia (too many teeth), overbites, underbites and poor tooth or palate development are genetic factors that can contribute to misaligned teeth.
- Poor oral hygiene habits: If you do not take time to brush and floss your teeth each day, plaque will build up on your teeth. The longer plaque builds up, the more irritated and inflamed the gingiva becomes. Eventually, this plaque build-up and gum inflammation can result in gum infection or gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis may lead to periodontal disease, which can cause your teeth to loosen, shift or fall out. To learn more about gingivitis, check out our blog, Gingivitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention.
- Early baby tooth loss: If you lost a baby tooth too early, some of your other teeth could have shifted into the area and crowded your permanent tooth as it came in.
- Thumb sucking: If a thumb sucking habit continues after permanent teeth come in, your child may experience teeth alignment issues and other dental problems. To learn more about the risks of thumb sucking, check out our blog, Are There Consequences to Thumb Sucking?
- Malnutrition: Poor nutrition, especially in children, can result in tooth decay, impact dental alignment, and cause other serious health issues.
- Tongue thrusting: Did you know that when you swallow, your tongue should press against the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth? If your tongue presses against your front teeth instead, it is called tongue thrusting. And if done over time, this habit can result in crooked teeth.
- Mouth breathing: Mouth breathing, especially in children, can cause misaligned teeth.
- Trauma: Sports injuries or other facial trauma can cause crooked teeth.
WHAT ARE SOME ORAL HEALTH PROBLEMS CAUSED BY CROOKED TEETH?
In some cases, crooked teeth and misaligned bites can cause oral health problems that can impact your day-to-day life, including:
- Periodontal disease: It is often difficult to clean crooked teeth properly, resulting in tooth decay and gum disease. If gum disease progresses, it can lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection that can damage your teeth and bones.
- Chewing and digestive problems: Misaligned teeth can interfere with chewing, causing potential digestive issues.
- Excess wear: Cracked teeth, jaw strain, temporomandibular joint disorder and chronic headaches can result from excess wear due to crooked teeth.
- Speech difficulties: Improper dental alignment can lead to speech difficulties.
- Self-esteem issues: Some people with crooked teeth experience self-esteem problems, which can lead to social avoidance.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR STRAIGHTENING YOUR TEETH?
During a routine dental visit, your dentist will examine your teeth to see if they are abnormally aligned and discuss if straightening them is the right option for you. If your teeth are not causing any oral health problems or self-esteem issues, you may decide to leave them as they are.
If you decide to move forward with straightening your teeth, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of crooked teeth and misaligned jaws. An orthodontist will examine your mouth, teeth and jaw to determine if treatment is needed.
Treatment options for crooked teeth often include:
- Braces: Metal braces are a tried and true treatment option for straightening teeth. However, they require regular orthodontist visits every six months for adjustments.
- Clear aligners: Invisalign is one of the most advanced clear aligner options, and we offer this product to our patients here at The Landing Dental Spa! Invisalign is suitable for teens and adults. Invisalign also gives you the ability to have a better, brighter smile faster than many other treatment options. Additionally, your Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, so it is less likely other people will notice them. To learn more about Invisalign, check out our blog, What is Invisalign? Does it Work?
- Retainers: Retainers can straighten teeth if your teeth are slightly crooked from overcrowding.
- Palatal expanders: If your child’s mouth is too small for their future permanent teeth, an orthodontist may recommend a palatal expander to widen the arch of their upper teeth.
LET US HELP YOU FIND YOUR SMILE | THE LANDING DENTAL SPA
At The Landing Dental Spa, our goal is for our patients to have a healthy smile that they can feel confident about for years to come! If your teeth are causing self-esteem issues or oral health problems, reach out to us. Our dentists can help you determine which teeth straightening option will work best for you. If you have any questions about teeth alignment or Invisalign, please give us a call at 304-594-2200 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!