Crooked Teeth

How to Tell if Your Teeth are Crooked 

Millions of Americans have crooked teeth and are unhappy with their smiles. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers numerous treatment options to correct crooked teeth. 

Most people can tell if their teeth are crooked because they don’t align properly and are not perfectly straight. Other ways to know if your teeth are crooked include:

  • Food gets frequently caught between your teeth
  • It isn't easy to floss 
  • Plaque build-up occurs more frequently
  • Teeth overlap or cross each other
  • Teeth are rotated and do not line up properly
  • There are cosmetic concerns
  • Teeth stick out or do not look like they are in the correct position

What Causes Crooked Teeth?

Most people are surprised to see permanent teeth erupt crooked when their baby teeth were perfectly aligned. It is very common to have crooked teeth because the size of an adult tooth is much larger than a baby tooth. 

When a new, permanent tooth erupts, there is typically not enough space for all teeth to be in the correct position.

Another reason why your teeth may be crooked is if your baby teeth were lost prematurely. This causes a lack of space in the mouth for adult teeth to erupt, leading to crowding or even a dental impaction.

Oral habits like thumb sucking, prolonged pacifier use, and bottle use can change the shape of the jaw, leading to crowding problems. It creates a more narrow-shaped upper jaw, leaving very little space for teeth to come in, resulting in crowded teeth.

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There is also a genetic component of crooked teeth. Small jaw sizes that run in families or fetal abnormalities can lead to teeth coming in twisted or awkward. 

Lastly, some people are congenitally missing teeth that can contribute to crowding because other teeth shift into that missing tooth position.  

Is it OK to Have Crooked Teeth?

Crooked teeth can be a cosmetic concern, a functional concern, or both. 

If crooked teeth are only a cosmetic concern, it may be OK to leave them if hygiene is adequate and someone is content with their smile. 

If crooked teeth make a person feel uncomfortable about their smile, they should be corrected because self-esteem and confidence affect personal and work life. 

If crooked teeth are causing problems with dental hygiene, tooth decay, gum problems, or chewing problems, it should be corrected with orthodontics to avoid long-term dental problems. 

Leaving crooked teeth can lead to gum problems like bone or tissue loss and tooth decay. This increases the need for dental crowns and prosthetics. 

When Should I Fix My Crooked Teeth?

You should correct crooked teeth if they are causing issues with chewing, smiling, speaking, or laughing. 

Many people get their teeth fixed during their teenage years as they grow and develop, but this does not prevent someone from fixing them in adulthood. 

Millions of Americans are now correcting malocclusions and crooked teeth because of more awareness and social media.

Your dentist may recommend fixing your crooked teeth because they can contribute to dental problems like difficulty brushing/flossing, gum disease, and tooth decay. If this is the case, you should strongly consider orthodontics.

If you feel like your crooked smile is holding you back from moving forward in a relationship or improving your work status, fixing your smile can improve your overall quality of life. 

Possible Complications of Crooked Teeth

Many problems can arise by leaving crooked teeth. The most common problem includes difficulty maintaining good oral hygiene. But there are several other complications that can arise:

  • Jaw misalignment: Leaving crooked teeth can cause TMJ disorder, headaches, difficulty chewing, nutrition, and gastrointestinal problems. 
  • Increased risk for trauma: Crowding can leave you at risk for tooth loss or damage during athletics or in the case of a fall
  • Greater wear on teeth: Crooked teeth can lead to an increased wear rate during chewing and grinding, causing sensitive teeth.
  • Lower confidence: Having crooked teeth can leave you self-conscious to smile, speak, or laugh.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Crooked teeth make it difficult to clean hard-to-reach areas, leading to plaque and calculus build-up. This can affect your periodontal and overall health. 

How to Fix Crooked Teeth

Dentistry has advanced so much in the past few decades. Years ago, there were very few options in orthodontics to correct misaligned teeth (except for traditional metal braces). 

Nowadays, there are many treatment options available (depending on a person’s needs and budget). These include:

Invisalign

Invisalign is a popular treatment option to correct mild to moderate malocclusion cases. Invisalign can even correct some severe issues of crooked teeth based on their high-end technology. These nearly invisible and removable aligners are an excellent option for people looking for a discreet orthodontic option. 

woman with invisalign aligners

One of the most significant benefits of Invisalign treatment is direct supervision by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. They are also discreet and removable to eat/clean, so people won’t even notice you are in the middle of treatment. 

Braces

Braces are a reliable option to correct crooked teeth. They come in both traditional metal and tooth-colored ceramic brackets. Braces help correct mild, moderate, and severe cases of crooked teeth to deliver a perfect smile and bite. 

woman wearing braces

The average treatment length for braces is 24 months. But this varies from person to person. 

At-Home Clear Aligners (Minor Cases)

For people looking to correct mild crooked teeth cases, they have the option of using a convenient direct-to-consumer option. At-home aligners are typically less expensive than braces and Invisalign. They also provide you with the convenience of doing treatment from your own home. 


Read our clear aligners vs braces comparison to learn which treatment is better for you.


The most popular at-home aligner brands include Byte, Candid, and ALIGNERCO. They offer supervision by a licensed dentist, at-home impressions, and delivery of all aligner trays at once. 

Many people opt for at-home aligners to correct crowded teeth because they offer an affordable and discreet way to straighten teeth.

Byte is one of the best-rated at-home aligner brands because they come with a complimentary HyperByte device to accelerate treatment. They are also known to have the fastest treatment option compared to other aligner brands.

Candid is an at-home aligner service similar to other aligner brands. However, treatment is slightly more expensive. You are monitored by a licensed orthodontist and wear the aligners for up to 22 hours per day. 

ALIGNERCO is a great treatment for people looking for affordable clear aligners. It works similarly to other at-home aligner brands because treatment is monitored remotely. There is also a night-time aligner option available. 

Other Treatment Options 

If traditional orthodontics or at-home aligners are not for you, consider other treatment options that may correct a crooked smile.

This includes lingual braces, which consists of placing brackets on the inside of your mouth. They are very discreet but could be more uncomfortable or expensive (depending on the case).

Dental veneers and crowns are other alternative options. However, sometimes dentists recommend temporary orthodontics before veneers to properly position the teeth.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix Crooked Teeth?

Orthodontics is never cheap and is a significant investment into your oral health and overall well-being

You can expect fees to range depending on the type of orthodontic treatment you choose, the dentist, and the location:

  • Braces range in price from $5,000 to $9,000 for metal braces. The average cost for braces is around $6,000.
  • Invisalign typically ranges between $3,000 and $5,000.
  • At-home aligners cost between $1,100 and $2,400.

What’s Next?

Clear aligners and traditional braces are the most popular orthodontic treatments. Learn about the pros and cons of both.

Resources

HealthDirect, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-braces-and-retainers

Crooked Teeth: Here’s How You can Boost Your Confidence, https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/adult-oral-care/crooked-teeth-heres-how-you-can-boost-your-confidence

Malocclusion of teeth, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001058.htm

Braces Have Changed, From Metal to Tooth-Colored to Clear, United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), June 2017, https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/braces-have-changed-metal-tooth-colored-clear 

Braces: Straighter Teeth Can Improve Oral Health: https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)62340-0/pdf

Azaripour, A et al., Braces versus Invisalign®: gingival parameters and patients' satisfaction during treatment: a cross-sectional study., BMC oral health vol. 15 69. 24 Jun. 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478712/

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