Crooked or crowded teeth are when the teeth erupt into the mouth and appear overlapping, angled, twisted or rotated. One of the most common signs of crowding in the upper teeth is in standing front teeth/tooth OR the canine teeth (ie: the pointy teeth sitting outside and high). In the lower teeth, overlapping of the front teeth is most common.
It is generally true that crowding naturally worsens from a child to a teenager, as they shed baby teeth and adult teeth start to erupt. This is because the adult front teeth are wider than the baby teeth that they replace.
Crowded teeth and irregular teeth are caused by a disharmony between the size of your teeth and the size of your jaw; your jaw might be too small for your teeth, or your teeth too large.
The problems caused by crowded teeth extend much further than just aesthetics. If your teeth are aligned properly, then they will last a lifetime. If not, you’ll find that you suffer from premature wear, teeth lost from unusual stresses, gum disease and jaw joint damage.
Crowded teeth are a common problem in both children and adults: 3 out of 4 children have incorrectly developing jaws. Treating this at a young age may result in less intervention later on in life.
What Causes Crooked Teeth?
Overcrowding and crookedness can be seen as soon as the teeth start to develop, sometimes in children as young as five. As we get older and grow, our teeth and jaw follow suit, but that process doesn’t always run completely smoothly. When people use aligners to correct crookedness in later life, the simplest explanation for what they do is create space for the teeth.
Baby teeth as well as permanent teeth can either naturally grow or later on become crooked.
Poor Repetitive Behaviors
Repetitive behaviors such as sucking on thumb or pacifier, tongue thrusting or mouth breathing for long can push the baby teeth out of their original position and hence they become misaligned. Sometimes, the temporary teeth in babies move into crooked positions simply because they are too small to fill in their respective gum spaces.
Soft or processed food if consumed excessively over several years reduces the amount of chewing considerably. This change has altered the collective jaw size making it smaller. It is believed that the shorter jaw is often responsible for causing misaligned, crowded or crooked teeth. Besides, poor nutrition, especially in children, may lead to tooth decay and insufficient dental development, both of which are potential triggers for crooked teeth.
When the jaw closes and the teeth in both the jaws do not fit properly over each other, the resulting condition is known as malocclusion or misaligned jaw. The different types include under bite and overbite. In an under bite, the lower front teeth protrude out farther away from the upper front teeth. Whereas in an over bite, the upper front teeth jut out away from the lower front teeth.
If one or both the parents have crooked or crowded teeth, it’s possible that the child will also have the same issue.
Forceful blow to face or mouth in case of an injury can knock the teeth out of place thus causing misaligned teeth.
Some other causes of crooked, crowded teeth:
- Impacted teeth, or teeth that haven’t fallen out naturally.
- The jaw is too small to fit all the adult teeth in a straight, neat line.
- The natural shape of the jaw, including overbites and under bites.
Why Crooked Teeth Are Bad And What Are The Related Issues?
People with crooked teeth or misaligned bites often face the following issues:
It becomes hard to clean the teeth thoroughly due to which food particles may remain stuck in between the crevices. This may lead to decay and gum diseases. If ignored for long, gum diseases may develop into periodontitis – a more severe form of infection which can damage gum tissue, teeth and bones.
Quality of life can be affected as the crooked smile might lower confidence and affect the self-esteem making the individual socially awkward.
Simple actions such as chewing may become difficult which in turn may lead to digestion problems.
In some cases, misaligned or crooked teeth may affect the ability of articulating sound thus causing speech problems.
Excessive Wear and Tear
Incorrectly aligned teeth can put extra pressure on teeth, gums and jaw muscles leading to excessive wear and tear. This may result in jaw strain, chronic headaches, cracked teeth or even temporomandibular joint disorder.
Retainers function very much like braces, moving teeth slowly over time. Retainers are unlike braces in that they are removable. Hawley retainers are made from metal wires and acrylic. They’re formed to the shape of your mouth.
Some retainers are only worn at night, others are worn during the day and at night. Some retainers are never removed because they are fixed in your mouth; others can be removed at meals or for tooth cleaning. Your orthodontist can help you decide which type of retainer is best for you.
Retainers are sometimes used after braces to keep the teeth in their proper formation once the braces have done their job. Other times, retainers are used instead of braces because it’s only necessary to correct the placement of one or two teeth.
Appliances straighten the teeth by correcting jaw imperfections. Appliances are designed to attach to the teeth and curve along the inside of the mouth. Appliances can come in different forms to correct different problems inside the jaw.
Like a retainer, each appliance is custom fit to the inside of the mouth. Appliances are custom designed by orthodontic professionals to ensure they’re correct for the patient. Appliances can generally correct or straighten teeth more quickly than braces, and are easier to install.
Aligners are the easiest way to straighten teeth without braces. Aligners are the only option that is virtually invisible to others. These plastic, customized pieces fit directly over the teeth and help the teeth fit into the shape that they would ideally take.
Clear aligners make eating and drinking easier, because they can be removed for meals. They’re easy to clean and can be taken out whenever needed.
Aligners can also be less expensive than braces, and in the case of mildly misaligned teeth, aligners can correct a problem in a relatively short period. They’re not right for everyone, however. Aligners are clear plastic. They can be misplaced or forgotten, where braces cannot. And, if they’re not worn for a certain length of time every day, aligners may not be an effective way to correct teeth.
Either with or without extractions to correct your crowding and give you a beautiful harmonious smile. These are the conventional bands and braces you known and seen before.
These comprise brackets and wires and are slightly bulky. They may cause irritation or discomfort. However, metal braces are the strongest and best for extremely overcrowded teeth or complex bite problems.
Their structure is similar to the metal braces but they are tooth-colored and hence almost invisible. Hence, ceramic braces are more popular as compared to metal braces.
An invisible brace system, which enables you to get the smile of your dreams without anyone even knowing you’re wearing braces. It’s the perfect treatment if you’re worried about undergoing orthodontic treatment and having to wear a metal brace.
What Are The Benefits Of Fixing Crooked Or Misaligned Teeth?
Teeth straightening can not only work wonders for your smile but also save you a lot of trouble on the oral and overall health front. Here are some of the benefits of fixing crooked teeth:
- Gums fit more securely around the teeth which helps prevent periodontal problems
- Teeth are easier to clean and floss
- Excessive wear and tear of teeth is eliminated
- Since the teeth aren’t protruded, they are less likely to be damaged in case of an accident
- No excessive stress on the gums and the bones due to misaligned jaw and hence the chances of pain in the face or neck and headaches are reduced
- Chewing is no longer a challenge and hence the associated overall health problems such as indigestion are also reduced
- Straight smile is an important part of personality. It boosts confidence and self-esteem