Everyone is different in more ways than one. This difference is seen in the kind of teeth people have. While some persons may have straight teeth, others have crooked teeth. Both children and adults do have crooked teeth – it’s common.
If you have crooked teeth, you can let them be – they add some unique beauty to your personality. But where there are health and speaking problems with crooked teeth, or you just don’t like your teeth’ appearance, then you may need to have them straightened.
So, what causes crooked teeth? What are the health issues related to crooked teeth? How are they straightened? All these questions will be answered in this article.
Causes of crooked teeth
People can be born with it and develop crooked baby or adult teeth. Often, when baby teeth are not big enough to take up the available gum space, they become crooked. Thumb sucking and the use of a dummy for a long time can trigger crooked teeth in babies. People also inherit this malocclusion.
That a baby’s tooth is crooked is not a guarantee that the adult teeth will be the same. The only condition is if the baby’s teeth grow in a crowded manner.
Where a baby tooth falls out before its expected time as a result of mouth impact or decay, the adult teeth may erupt misshaped instead of being straight.
Both baby and adult teeth are affected by:
- Size of the jaw: Food evolution from tough to softer foods may be responsible for the small jaws we see today. This could be the reason for crooked teeth, say, scientists.
- Unhealthy repetitive habits during childhood: Tongue thrusting, sucking on thumbs, use of the bottle, and mouth breathing are habits that affect facial or mouth muscles and how they work.
- Bite problems: A healthy bite consists of top teeth sitting a little over the bottom teeth. Where this isn’t the case, bite issues like overbite and underbite are present. An overbite happens when the top front teeth sit way over the bottom front teeth. In an underbite, the bottom front teeth stretch way over the top front teeth.
- Genetics: People inherit crooked teeth or other forms of malocclusions from their parents.
- Lack of oral care: Untreated gum disease and cavities due to zero dental examinations can cause crooked teeth plus other oral issues.
- Unhealthy diet: Not eating foods that promote healthy growth of teeth can cause decay and stunted teeth growth.
- Impact on the face: Taking a blow to the jaw or face can make you lose teeth and trigger misaligned teeth.
What problems do crooked teeth cause?
- Periodontitis: Crooked teeth are not easy to clean. This can cause tooth decay and gum disease. When this isn’t treated, periodontitis sets in – a very severe condition that causes bone loss.
- Inability to chew and digest food: Misaligned teeth can crush food well, which consequently affects digestion.
- Problem with speech: Words are not properly pronounced with crooked teeth. This makes speech incoherent.
- Lack of self-confidence: The stigma attached to crooked teeth can sap out your entire self-esteem.
- Dental wear: The teeth, jaw muscles, and gums are put under too much pressure following crooked teeth. This develops into severe headaches, TMJ disorder, chipped teeth, and jaw aches.
Do you have to straighten crooked teeth?
The “yes” or “no” is yours to say. No money or dental insurance can make one not straighten their crooked teeth. People also consider their health condition.
You may go for teeth straightening because of self-consciousness. However, crooked teeth are sometimes considered an attractive attribute.
How can crooked teeth be straightened?
Braces can be used to realign crooked teeth. They are available in different forms. Surgery can also help. More details are provided below:
- Metal braces: Here, a network of bands, wires, and brackets are worn over the crooked teeth to move them. It works better for serious dental issues. Modern-day braces are more comfortable and flexible. Expect to pay £2,192 to £5,482 for metal braces. Certain factors affect its cost, like dental insurance, location, and complexity of treatment.
- Ceramic braces: Less noticeable than metal because of their clear color. The same factors above affect their cost, which is between £2,558 and £5,847.
- Invisalign: Clear, removable aligners for mild to moderate dental alignment. Only teenagers and adults need Invisalign. The same factors above affect their cost, which is between £2,558 and £6,213.
- Lingual braces: A type of clear braces that are bonded to the back of the teeth. It doesn’t work for a serious case of misaligned teeth. They’re available for between £3,654 to £9,501. Not everyone can have lingual braces.
- Surgery: This is yet another option that may take less time to realign teeth than braces. Surgery can be simple – to change the position of your bones and gums to hold teeth better. It can also be complex – like orthognathic surgery to repair the jaw. This one is good for cases with difficulty chewing or speaking. Where you live, health insurance cover and the surgery type will determine the cost of surgery.
What to expect at a dental or orthodontic appointment?
The dentist may refer you to an orthodontist – a specialist in malocclusions. They will check your bite, jaws, teeth, and mouth. And whatever symptoms you are having will be discussed with the orthodontist. This includes any abnormal noise that comes from closing or opening your mouth, pain when chewing, and other discomforts.
Your orthodontist will have your mouth x-rayed, and dental impressions will be taken.
Should you require braces, you will get a bespoke type that will make your teeth straighter.
It is common to find children, teens, and adults with crooked teeth. Treatment is not needed for crooked teeth, except if you’re having problems with health or self-esteem.
You get to decide if you need a realignment for crooked teeth. Where a fund is a barrier to getting this, you should consult your dentist. There are Invisalign special offers from which you may benefit.