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Crooked Teeth: Causes, Impact, and Treatment

Crooked teeth

Do you ever look at people with perfectly straight teeth and wonder how lucky does one have to be to have a straight, Hollywood-like smile? Well, we understand. Our smile is a significant part of our personality, and having twisted, overlapping, or crooked teeth can immensely affect our confidence. But the good news is that luck doesn’t have anything to do with the appearance of your teeth; there are a few logical reasons why teeth grow in crooked. Another good news is that you can fix crooked teeth through orthodontic treatment. But before we get into how you can go about cosmetic dentistry to get straighter teeth, let’s understand the causes of the crooked teeth problems and the impact they can have on us.

Causes of Crooked Teeth

  1. Thumb Sucking – Children who suck their thumb for several years often end with crooked teeth. The pressure from the thumb consistently applied to the still-growing gums causes the teeth to grow in crooked, especially outwards. The problem of crooked teeth is more likely if this habit continues until the toddler age.
  2. Tongue Thrusting – Tongue thrusting has the same effect on the teeth as thumb sucking. It can result in misaligned bites, especially an overbite, i.e., protruding upper teeth.
  3. Misaligned Teeth – Misaligned teeth or malocclusion is caused when the size of the upper or the lower jaw is smaller than usual. Misaligned jaws result in problems such as overbite and underbite. In an overbite, the upper set of teeth protrudes over the lower teeth, and in an underbite, the lower set of teeth protrudes over the upper teeth.
  4. Genetics – Children often get crooked teeth from their parents. If the crooked teeth problem runs down in the family, the children are likely to have crooked permanent teeth too despite following good oral care habits.
  5. Facial Injury – Facial trauma, such as a jaw injury in childhood, can result in displaced teeth or misaligned bites. The reason is the jaw shifting slightly from its original position, which causes the teeth to grow in crooked. Facial injuries may also result in tooth loss. And when there is open space in a jaw, the rest of the teeth tend to shift to cover that space.

Problems Due to Crooked Teeth

  1. Gum Disease – Oral care in case of crowded or crooked teeth is naturally hard. Over time, poor oral health or dental health results in bad breath, plaque, tooth decay, and eventually, gum disease. The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis when the gums feel itchy, irritated, and swollen. Bleeding gums is another symptom of gum disease. But if gingivitis is left untreated, it leads to periodontitis in which the problem travels to the bone and results in bone and tooth loss.
  2. Wear and Tear – Misaligned teeth are more prone to wear and tear. But the problem doesn’t stop at the wear and tear. In many cases, excessive wear and tear lead to TMJ disorder or Temporomandibular Jaw disorder in which the patients experience extreme pain or even locking of the jaw bone on movement.
  3. Difficulty Chewing – Crooked or crowded teeth make chewing difficult, which can lead to digestion problems.
  4. Speech Difficulty – Speech difficulties, such as problem pronouncing a few words, is the most common effect of crooked teeth.
  5. Low Self Esteem – People with crooked teeth or misaligned teeth face the problem of low self-esteem; after all, our smile reflects our personality. Moreover, poor dental health can result in stained teeth that look unappealing and make people feel embarrassed. These are the prevailing reasons people go for cosmetic dentistry.

Why You Should Go for Teeth Straightening

It is true that straighter teeth improve the overall appearance and boost confidence. But teeth straightening is vital in case of extreme teeth misalignment since it can lead to periodontitis, which increases the risk of heart disease. Infected bone below the gum line can cause a bacterial infection in the heart stream, which can affect the valves in the heart.

Treatment Options for Crooked Teeth

The two most effective methods to fix crooked teeth are:

Braces – Braces are a type of an orthodontic appliance that consist of brackets, bands, and wires. They apply constant pressure on the jaw over an extended period, which makes it adapt to the pressure in a certain direction, causing it to move into the desired position. There are three types of braces available including metal braces, ceramic braces, and lingual braces. You can talk to your orthodontist and know what may be the most appropriate teeth alignment solution for you based on the results of your oral examination.

Invisalign – Invisalign is basically invisible braces. The treatment includes clear or transparent trays that are custom-created to fit over your teeth set. Your orthodontist will create several molds, and you will have to move from one mold to another until your teeth finally move into the correct position. Adults often go for Invisalign since they are clear and can easily go unnoticed. However, it’s the higher cost of Invisalign that makes braces a more practical solution.

FAQs

What causes crooked teeth in adults?
Facial injuries in which the person experiences a blow to the mouth can cause jaw misalignment. And this can lead to crooked teeth. Tooth loss is another reason for crooked teeth in adults because the remaining teeth tend to shift into the space created by the missing tooth and become crooked.

How long does it take to fix crooked teeth?
Teeth straightening can take anywhere between 6 months to 24 months based on how complex your teeth positioning is. Moreover, to keep the teeth from moving back into their old position after the braces or Invisalign treatment, your orthodontist may suggest wearing retainers. Retainers are typically worn for six months every day for several hours a day.

Is it normal if I have crooked teeth? What should I do?
Crooked teeth or misaligned teeth are common in children and adults. Many people also choose to avoid teeth straightening if they don’t experience self-esteem issues. But if the crooked teeth problem is extreme and can affect your overall health, an orthodontist appointment can’t hurt.

If your teeth are crooked and you think that they can potentially lead to severe health issues or if you simply want a straighter and healthier smile, book an appointment with the experts at Putnam Orthodontics. Learn what is the best orthodontic treatment for you and take the first step to your best smile.

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Dr. Satish Pai

Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence.  As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to not only creating perfect smiles for his patients but also educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to a perfect smile and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. 

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