Crowded teeth, medically known as malocclusion, are quite common for many people. Teeth may get crowded due to many reasons such as genes, pacifiers, and misaligned jaws. If you have malocclusion, your teeth can look crooked. This can be a source of discomfort but luckily, the condition can be fixed by a dentist.
There are three types of crowded teeth: Class 1, which is mild and the most common issue; Class 2, the overbite; and Class 3, the underbite.
It’s important to know more about crowded teeth so you can boost your health, treat any malocclusion, and improve the appearance of your jaw.
Know what it means to have crowded teeth and what you can do about it.
Causes of Crowded Teeth
Any type of teeth can be considered crooked–whether they are baby teeth or permanent ones. Here are the reasons why this can happen:
1) Too Little Space
As we grow, more teeth are added to our collection. But this does not mean that there is space for every tooth. Crowding happens when there are too many teeth and too little space in the mouth. This means that the jaw size of the individual is not enough to house new developing teeth.
Unfortunately, nothing stops a tooth from growing, so it pushes against other teeth to make way for itself. There are also cases where there are extra teeth that pop up unexpectedly during growth. This causes the crowding to happen as well.
2) Bad Habits
As a child, it is normal to develop some habits to make yourself fall asleep such as thumb sucking. But prolonged thumb sucking can actually damage the teeth, making them crooked. The effect is the same when using a pacifier, tongue thrusting, and mouth breathing.
This can be avoided by limiting the use of pacifiers once a child reaches a certain age and discouraging him or her from sucking his or her thumb. It is essential to break the child’s bad habits at a very young age in order to not damage the teeth further.
3) Your Jaw May Be Misaligned
It is normal for your front teeth to sit slightly on top of the bottom row. But when they are not in this natural form, your jaw may be misaligned.
A misaligned jaw can be caused by several things such as underdevelopment. If your jaw did not grow to its correct size, it may cause the crowding of the teeth.
The most usual manifestations of misaligned jaws are overbites and underbites. A misaligned jaw can be natural, but may also be caused by a facial injury. For example, accidents, like falling on your face or hitting a wall, can lead to the jaw becoming misaligned.
4) Bad Dental Hygiene
Getting your teeth checked by a dentist annually is one of those things that can frequently slip your mind. However, be warned that this can cause you to have a multitude of dental problems, including crooked teeth.
So, make sure to schedule your annual appointment with a dentist. It also helps to brush your teeth regularly to avoid any other damages to your pearly whites.
5) It’s Just in the Genes
Even though you try to avoid all the causes above, there is one cause you cannot escape from. If your father and mother have crooked teeth, it is more likely you will have them, too.
But the harm can be minimized if your teeth are properly assessed by a professional. This is why it is important to seek help from your dentist if you ever do have misaligned teeth.
Treating Crowded Teeth
Treating malocclusion is important for a healthy diet and lifestyle, even if the condition is only mild.
The first step in improving crooked teeth is to schedule a visit to your dentist to discuss the options you have for fixing your pearly whites. The dentist will then take an X-ray shot of your mouth as well as some photos to assess the situation. He or she will then give you the diagnosis and the option that they recommend.
It is not always that a dentist would recommend you to do something drastic to your teeth, though. This is especially true if the malocclusion is still in its early stages. Your dentist may suggest doing the following to improve your teeth:
- Use braces to repair the alignment in a subtle manner
- Remove some teeth to make space for others
- Reshape the teeth if you prefer not to have a tooth removal procedure
- Shorten or reshape the jaw itself through surgery in cases where the jaw is severely misaligned
- Use wires for the stability of the jaw bone if the misalignment of the jaw is not severe
Your dentist will also discuss the downsides of having treatments done. They are, at most, the following:
- Tooth decay
- Mild discomfort
- Mild pain
- Being unable to chew or speak during and a few days after the treatment
Treating misaligned teeth may sound like a lot of work. But it is actually simple and worth it in the long run. Getting your teeth realigned is not only great for your smile and overall look, but also for the health and betterment of your mouth.