Why you might worry about crooked teeth
More than just a cosmetic issue, crooked or wonky teeth can contribute to serious oral health concerns. They can make it difficult to brush and floss properly, which can allow for plaque and debris build up, which leads to cavities and gum disease.
At Beachside Complete Dental Care and Dental Implant Centre we offer a variety of solutions to for crooked teeth including orthodontic treatments (braces, Invisalign®), porcelain veneers and dental crowns.
What causes crooked teeth?
There are numerous potential causes for crooked teeth. We’re here to help you find the cause. Here’s a rundown.
Are Crooked teeth genetic?
You may have inherited those crooked teeth from your parents (thanks Mum and Dad). Or picked those wonky pegs up from ancestors further back.
Things like overbites (when upper teeth sit too far forward in the jaw and extend beyond the lower set of teeth) and underbites (when the lower teeth sit too far forward) can be passed down. You also may have inherited a jaw that’s a little too small for your teeth, hence over crowding and misaligned teeth.
The modern diet
Our ancestors a long way back ate a different diet to us, which required a lot of vigorous chewing. This made for a larger and stronger jaw, with teeth that matched up well to the jaw size.
Since our food has become more refined and much softer, we use our jaws a whole lot less. Often we barely chew, or if we do, we’ve cut up our food before it makes it to our mouths, resulting in our jaws doing less work. Hence, our jaws have gradually grown smaller through inaction.
Our teeth, however, haven’t changed so much, and are often too big for our smaller jaws. This can lead to overcrowding when teeth erupt, and overcrowding makes for crooked teeth.
When wisdom teeth push through, this can add to overcrowding and cause misaligned teeth.
Socio-economic factors may play a part in crooked teeth. Malnutrition and medications can cause the jaw and teeth to not develop correctly. (When teeth are missing, other teeth can move out of alignment, and appear crooked.)
Some habits, related to ‘misuse’ of the mouth and jaw, can lead to crooked teeth, and these habits can start early. Things like thumb sucking, or using a dummy (pacifier) as a baby, can lead to the teeth and mouth structure developing incorrectly.
Sometimes, problems like allergies, asthma or enlarged adenoids, can lead to open mouth breathing, which again, over time, changes jaw development, and the subsequent alignment of teeth.
Poor dental hygiene
Inefficient cleaning can lead to tooth or gum issues. The degradation of teeth or gum disease may result in tooth loss, which will then leave the possibility for adjacent teeth to move position.
It goes without saying that an injury to the jaw can result in teeth moving out of alignment. A sports injury, for example, may push teeth sideways, or cause them to be lost completely. Sporting injuries are very common and that’s why we recommend mouth guards be worn in contact sports so there is no risk of injury that can cause crooked front or crooked bottom teeth.
Fixing Crooked Teeth
Wondering how to fix crooked teeth? There are a number of different treatments for correcting crooked and misaligned teeth. Some work on actual alignment correction (braces for example) and others simply correct the appearance of the teeth, so they appear straight. Your dentist will recommend the most suitable treatment for your crooked teeth correction plan.
What Treatments Are Available To Fix Crooked Teeth?
We will look at your teeth and the shape of your jaw, and determine if you need braces. Before braces though, they may start with a palatal expander, which widens the upper jaw, and a lingual bar to open the lower jaw. Braces are then fitted.
During return visits, we will adjust the braces so that they continue to gradually align the teeth. At the end of the entire process, a retainer is fitted, so that the teeth maintain their new position.
Braces come in either metal or ceramic (clear braces). Most often, braces are recommended at around the age of 10-14, while the jaw is still developing, but adults can opt for them too.
Generally braces are worn for between 18 and 30 months. A retainer is used once your braces are removed to retain your teeth in their new position.
An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign® is a treatment that straightens your teeth using clear plastic orthodontic aligners. These invisible braces treat overbite, underbite, crossbite, gap teeth, open bite, and crowded teeth.
Because they are transparent, people barely notice them, which makes them an appealing option for those who don’t like the appearance of braces. (Often adults will opt for Invisalign, as they want to straighten their teeth without it being obvious.)
Invisalign® aligners are removable. You wear them for up to 22 hours per day, and remove them when you eat and drink. The removable aligners allow you to maintain dental hygiene by brushing and flossing normally, and you can eat whatever you want. The smooth plastic aligners ensure a comfortable ongoing treatment.
Veneers and Crowns
If straightening the alignment of teeth with braces or Invisalign is not suitable, there are some ways to correct the appearance of crooked teeth.
Veneers can be applied to the teeth to correct issues like gaps between the teeth, or uneven teeth. There are two types to choose from.
Composite veneers are resin veneers that are applied in a single dentist visit and last for between 4-8 years if well cared for. For those in need of a quick and affordable solution, composite veneers are a good option.
Porcelain veneers are made from a thin layer of porcelain which reflects light in the same way as natural tooth enamel, and does not stain. They are more expensive option than composite veneers, but have the advantage of lasting for between 10-25 years if well cared for. Applying porcelain veneers generally takes place over two dentist visits.
Care for both composite and porcelain veneers includes routine dental examinations and hygiene visits, good oral hygiene and may include the nightly application of an occlusal splint.
Crowns / Caps
Crowns or caps are prosthetics fixed onto a tooth. They are generally used to cover a damaged or broken tooth as they hide the appearance of the break, but also serve to strengthen any remaining part of the tooth, and allow the tooth to function as it previously did. They can also be used to correct the appearance of a crooked tooth.
A number of different types of crowns may be used for a particular fix, including ceramic crowns (which match well to natural tooth colour), gold and other metal alloys, which are very strong, and porcelain crowns fused to metal, which increases the strength of the crown.
Why not take the chance to boost your self esteem and your dental health by straightening those teeth? Contact the team at Beachside Complete Dental care and Dental Implant centre to book a consultation and learn about which treatment options are suited to you.