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Every smile is unique, and many include crooked teeth. Overlapping or misaligned teeth are common and occur for various reasons.
You don’t need to fix crooked or otherwise imperfect teeth. However, treatments are available if an unaligned smile affects your self-esteem or increases your risk for health issues.
This article explains the causes of crooked teeth, potential health risks, and treatment options to help you achieve a straight smile.
Dentistry has advanced so much in the past few decades. Years ago, orthodontics had few options to correct misaligned teeth (except for traditional metal braces).
Nowadays, many treatment options are available (depending on a person’s needs and budget). These include:
Invisalign is a popular treatment option to correct mild to moderate malocclusion cases. It can even correct some severe issues of crooked teeth based on its high-end technology.
These nearly invisible and removable aligners are an excellent option for people looking for a discreet orthodontic option.
One of the most significant benefits of Invisalign treatment is direct supervision by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. The aligners are removable for easy cleaning and eating.
Braces are a reliable option to correct crooked teeth. They come in 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.
The average treatment length for braces is 24 months. But this varies from person to person.
People looking to correct mild crooked teeth cases may be able to use a convenient direct-to-consumer option. At-home aligners are typically less expensive than braces and Invisalign. They also provide the convenience of completing treatment from your home.
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.
If traditional orthodontics or at-home aligners are not for you, consider other treatment options that may correct a crooked smile.
Clear aligners can save you thousands of dollars compared to braces. Learn about clear aligners.
Orthodontic work is a significant investment in 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:
If you feel comfortable with the size and shape of your natural teeth, you should be able to leave them as they are. Crooked teeth that negatively affect your self-esteem or threaten your dental health should be fixed.
A straighter smile can do more than improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence. Teeth straightening may be necessary if periodontitis is a concern.
We recommend at-home clear aligners if you have mild teeth misalignment. View our top recommendations.
Misaligned teeth occur for many reasons, including:
The alignment of teeth is often inherited. That means if a child’s parents have crooked teeth, their permanent teeth are more likely to be crooked, even with proper oral care.
Scientists believe that the modern diet has changed our collective jaw size.2 Softer foods and increased food processing mean we don’t chew as much as our ancestors. This shorter jaw bone structure can lead to crooked and crowded teeth.
Proper nutrition is essential for the health and development of your body’s tissues, including teeth. Not getting enough nutrients, especially in childhood, can result in crooked teeth.
Malocclusion is a misaligned bite. This means your upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly. Common jaw misalignments include:
Failure to practice good oral hygiene can result in gingivitis and, eventually, periodontitis. Advanced gum disease can cause teeth to shift, loosen, and even fall out.
If a baby tooth falls out early, other teeth can shift into the open space. This causes crowding in the area where a permanent tooth will eventually come in.
Myofunctional habits are behaviors that affect the mouth or facial muscles. Poor habits that can lead to crooked teeth include:
Tongue thrusting, or pressing the tongue against the front teeth instead of the roof of the mouth, is another bad habit.
Facial trauma, such as a childhood jaw injury, can result in crooked or displaced teeth. If the jaw shifts from its natural position, teeth can grow in crooked.
Facial injuries that result in tooth loss can cause teeth to shift into the open space, creating crowding.
Crooked teeth are typically a cosmetic concern, not an oral health problem. Sometimes they can affect your quality of life and increase your risk for health issues, like:
Crooked teeth make it difficult to clean hard-to-reach areas. This increases the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease).
Crooked teeth can increase the wear and tear on your teeth, gums, and jaw muscles. Excess wear can increase your risk for various problems, including:
Teeth that are crowded or crooked can interfere with chewing. When you can’t chew properly, digestion problems may result.
Difficulty pronouncing certain words is commonly associated with crooked or misaligned teeth.
Feeling uncomfortable about your appearance can negatively affect your mental health. One study found that teens and young adults concerned about dental aesthetics were more likely to have poor self-confidence and low self-esteem.5
Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.
Crooked teeth are common and occur for many reasons. Primary causes include genetics, jaw size, and childhood habits like thumb-sucking.
There’s nothing wrong with crooked teeth as long as they don’t pose a risk to your dental health. Health risks of crooked or crowded teeth include gum disease, excess wear, and low self-esteem.
If you’re concerned about crooked teeth, many treatment options are available. Talk with your dentist about the best option for you.
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