When people think about the downside of having crooked teeth, appearance is often the first thing that comes to mind. Misaligned front teeth are generally considered unattractive, so having them can make someone feel self-conscious about how they look. However, aesthetics isn’t the only reason that crooked teeth can be a problem. Understanding what causes crooked teeth and the possible issues that can arise when you have them is important when you’re considering what to do about them.
Why Do Some People Get Crooked Teeth?
If you’ve ever heard the saying “life’s not fair,” to a certain extent that may seem to be true when it comes to who ends up with a gorgeously aligned smile with no effort and who doesn’t. But it isn’t completely up to chance—there are a couple of factors that can increase the odds that you will end up with crooked teeth.
Genetics: Did your mother or father have crooked teeth when they were young? If they had buck teeth, large teeth in a small jaw, a crossbite, or some other type of misalignment when they were young, the chances are greater that you’ll end up with a similar problem. The combination of your parents’ genetics can also create problems, even if neither of them needed braces—for example, if you get a small jaw from one and big teeth from the other.
Aging: As we get older, our teeth can shift. One reason is a forward push against our teeth as we mature. Those minute changes can make teeth that were once fairly straight stick out or become slightly crooked over time. If you receive orthodontic treatment and wear your retainers as prescribed, though, you’re safe from the potential effects of this natural shifting.
The Problems Crooked Teeth Can Cause
While appearance is the most noticeable part of having crooked teeth, there are other issues with having a misaligned bite that can be of great concern for your overall dental health.
Hard to clean: While it isn’t impossible to keep your teeth perfectly clean when they’re crooked, it is harder to do than when they’re well aligned. It is easier for food to get trapped between teeth that are crowded together or cross each other, allowing plaque to build up and making it more likely for gum disease or cavities to develop.
Increased wear and tear: When crooked teeth don’t line up correctly, they’re more likely to rub against each other or even get chipped. Constant rubbing can also damage the tooth enamel or cause it to wear unevenly. The problem is even worse if you grind your teeth. Misaligned teeth, particularly a deep bite, can even be the cause of teeth grinding.
Damage to the teeth: Protruding teeth (like buck teeth) are more likely to be injured accidentally than straight teeth. This is of most concern for children; if they fall, it is easy for buck teeth to get knocked out, chipped, or otherwise damaged. This may require a root canal or result in loss of the tooth.
Impact to self-esteem: Having crooked teeth can often make those who have them reluctant to smile widely and naturally. This can affect how they talk and laugh as well as how comfortable they are in social or business settings.
The Solution for Crooked Teeth
The only real long-term solution for crooked teeth is orthodontic treatment, but nowadays there are many options beside traditional metal braces to choose from. If you prefer the convenience of a fixed orthodontic appliance, clear braces or lingual braces (in which brackets are placed on the back of the teeth rather than the front) offer discreet choices for straightening the teeth. Another popular option is clear aligners like Invisalign, which are nearly invisible when worn them and which can also be removed completely as needed.
Just as important as the active treatment phase is what comes after—retainers. Teeth tend to naturally return to their original position after treatment if nothing else is done, so retainers are essential to maintain the good results you’ve achieved. In general, you’ll need to wear them full-time for three to six months after you’re done with braces or Invisalign, and then you’ll only need to wear them at night.
At B Orthodontics, we love nothing more than seeing the look on our patients’ faces when they finally get to see the healthy, beautifully aligned smile they’ve always dreamed of. We can help you find the right treatment option for your crooked teeth with an individualized plan crafted for your lifestyle and treatment goals. To get started, contact us here today to schedule your free initial consultation.