For many people, being born with perfectly straight teeth feels like they won the genetic lottery. They don’t need to worry about getting braces fitted, nor have to cope with all the awkwardness that comes with traditional braces. Despite this, braces and crooked teeth are not as uncommon as you might believe. Currently, there are 4 million people across Canada and the US undergoing dental treatment to realign teeth and promote excellent dental health.
But to understand why so many people require braces, we need to understand what causes crooked teeth and how to correct them. There is not one single or simple answer, but we will aim to give you all the information you need about crooked teeth, realignment, and clear braces.
What causes crooked teeth?
There is no one single reason that causes crooked teeth. It can happen for a variety of reasons. Because of this, it can be difficult to determine whether you might experience crooked teeth during your life.
Sometimes, crooked teeth are inherited from the parents, passed down from them to you. People born with overbites, underbites or crossbites, where the teeth are out of position, are at risk of experiencing crooked teeth. You may even be born with a small mouth, which doesn’t allow the teeth and jaw to grow correctly, and this is another reason that genetics can cause crooked teeth.
However, it is not the only reason why a person may have crooked teeth.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders focus on unusual patterns of the face or mouth, and these could be a cause of crooked teeth. Examples of OMDs include:
Mouth breathing is considered a bad habit that people will develop and continue to do as they age. On the surface, it may not seem like it can do too much damage, especially when you try to relate it to crooked teeth. However, the unnatural placement of the jaw will affect teeth development as it doesn’t encourage the surrounding muscles to strengthen.
Tongue Thrusting is a natural habit when you are a baby, as infants are unable to control their tongue the same way toddlers, children, and adults can. Despite this, keeping up such behaviours could affect muscle and bone development, which leads to crooked teeth.
Thumb sucking can have a calming and soothing effect on many people, especially as an alternative to a pacifier, but having a thumb sucking habit for too long after leaving infancy will affect the alignment of your teeth and cause them to grow unnaturally.
Asthma or Allergies
It may not seem like asthma, allergies, and similar respiratory problems can cause crooked teeth, and usually, the lungs are most associated with such issues. However, as these conditions can hinder how easy it is to breathe normally, it could lead to unnatural and irregular breathing habits, including open-mouth breathing. From here, you risk succumbing to jaw misalignment and improper facial development, which are both factors that can lead to crooked teeth.
Injuries or Accidents
Falls, crashes, fights, or any other type of facial trauma can have a severe negative effect on the development of your jaw and teeth, resulting in crooked and misaligned teeth. It is especially prevalent when losing a tooth following an accident, as the surrounding teeth will begin to shift into space as a way of healing. However, while this should be beneficial, it can cause crooked teeth, so it’s vital to see an orthodontist as soon as possible after losing a tooth or teeth.
Unhealthy baby teeth
You and your parents need to ensure you care for your baby teeth long enough so that your adult teeth can form and push the baby teeth out. If your baby teeth fall out too early, there’s a risk that the permanent teeth will be crooked, as they are not fully developed yet. Experiencing trauma or suffering from tooth decay caused by improper care are two reasons that you might lose your baby teeth before you are ready.
Why should you try to fix crooked teeth?
Crooked teeth straightening is about so much more than merely looking good, although, for many people, this is usually the driver that pushes them into seeking straightening solutions. If left unchecked, however, crooked teeth can come with a vast range of risks that can affect your physical and mental health.
Teeth that grow and develop straight and naturally will not cause you many if any, problems. However, crooked teeth will bring discomfort, and it will feel like you can never find an ideal position for your jaw to rest. This can be distracting, which could affect conversations, listening, or doing anything at all.
Crooked teeth can be difficult to clean, much more compared to straight teeth. The misaligned teeth mean that there are challenging spots to get into a toothbrush and even dental floss. Failure to adequately clean your teeth could lead to periodontal disease, including gum disease and tooth decay. Such problems can lead to more severe issues, such as infections, which can damage the jaw and mouth bones and teeth.
Eating and digestion
Chewing and eating problems are another side effect of crooked teeth. Because your teeth are not aligned correctly, you can struggle to break down the food properly, resulting in digestion problems, choking, and getting food bits stuck in parts of your teeth that are hard to access. Improper digestion could cause discomfort, and as the digestive enzymes and fluids are not activated compared to when you swallow correctly chewed food, there will be an imbalance.
Wear and tear
Excess wear and tear from crooked teeth is another major issue that you should be aware of, but it is not always what people consider when deciding to fix misaligned teeth. Teeth will, naturally, wear down over the years the more you eat and chew, and you will also find this if you have a teeth-grinding habit.
However, the problem can be compounded with crooked teeth. As the teeth are not straight and therefore ‘in place’, you might find that they are always rubbing against other teeth and your gums. This can be problematic. It increases the risk of jaw strain and puts extra pressure on the muscles and gums. There is the chance of jaw disorders, cracked teeth, and headaches caused by wear and tear caused by crooked teeth.
Misaligned teeth can make it challenging to articulate and develop sounds properly, and this means you may experience issues with speaking. Aside from this affecting confidence, it can also make it difficult to make requests, ask questions, and get clarification at work, school, or in your personal life. It could also cause misunderstandings with people who are not familiar with your speech pattern.
Self-esteem is perhaps the most common and obvious reason that causes people to seek solutions for fixing crooked teeth. These self-esteem issues can impact you at any age, and it could cause you to avoid social interaction, avoid situations where you feel your crooked teeth might be exposed, and hold you back from engaging with people. Even if these fears are entirely unfounded, it can still be debilitating, and it can have adverse effects on your mental wellbeing. By finding the best solution to align your teeth, you will find that you have more confidence and are more willing to put yourself out there in situations that you would have previously shied away from.
Fixing crooked teeth will be sure to boost your happiness, and not just because you will feel confident with every smile. The lack of potential health and medical issues that come from fixing crooked teeth will allow you to realize life more fully, and give you the chance to focus more on what makes you happy.
How to fix crooked teeth
While crooked teeth are not pleasant, and many believe that they are doomed to suffer from crooked teeth for the rest of their lives, the good news is that misaligned teeth are fixable.
This is true, regardless of why your teeth are crooked. It does not matter if it is genetics, orofacial myofunctional disease, or an accident that causes incorrect growth and development or bad habits. There are solutions available for you to get your teeth looking straight and perfect.
Options include braces, invisible or clear aligners, and even surgery. Typically, these options will depend on the severity of your crooked teeth. For children or teens, which is the most common age for crooked teeth treatment, braces and aligners are the most popular solution. However, if you are an adult that was unable to get dental treatment when you were younger, you can still get braces as well, although surgery may be necessary.
When you visit the dentist, they will determine which treatment is right for you by carrying out an x-ray to examine the severity of your misalignment. However, at AlignerCo, we will provide a take-home impression kit, which is then analyzed to determine the most appropriate action to take.
Clear Braces vs Traditional Braces
Growing up, you may have seen many of your classmates swearing traditional braces. There is the type of braces that use tracks and wires to keep teeth in place and help them develop properly rather than being crooked.
There is no doubt over whether they work, but are the best solution for people with crooked teeth? At the time, they were perhaps the only way to fix crooked teeth without undergoing surgery. However, as oral health practices have evolved so much throughout the years, clear braces are a popular and discreet alternative to traditional brace fittings.
As clear braces do not use brackets or wires, they are virtually invisible, and may only be noticeable if someone is standing very close up. From a distance and in photographs, it is almost impossible to notice that someone is wearing invisible braces.
This is ideal for people who need braces but are still self-conscious about the brackets and wires interfering with their appearance.
The modern design of clear braces can fix mild to moderate tooth alignment issues, so while they are not suitable for more severe cases, they should be able to clear up the majority of crooked teeth problems. They also share many similarities with traditional braces. You will still need to attend appointments every 6 to 8 weeks, to adjust the shape of the aligners, just like you would need wires tightening. As your teeth start to align, your clear braces will reflect this improvement.
Typically, clear braces do not take as long to fix dental problems as bracket and wire braces do. However, you need to be disciplined when using clear braces, as 2failure to wear them consistently will make them useless. As you can remove these braces to eat, sleep, and clean your teeth, it’s vital that you do not forget to replace them or lose them entirely.
It is also easier to maintain excellent oral health with clear braces. Unlike traditional braces, they are not fixed in place. This prevents food bits from getting jammed in between the brackets, wire, and teeth. By avoiding such problems, it minimizes the risk of infections and guarantees a more comfortable experience overall.
If you are still on the fence about which type of braces are the best for you, then considering the vast benefits of clear braces compared to traditional counterparts should sway your opinion. For a modern appearance that works quickly while still being effective, clear braces are the best approach for correcting crooked teeth.
If you are concerned about the effects that crooked teeth could have on your oral and mental health, then now is the time to seek guidance and advice from qualified dental health professionals. The AlignerCo team has a range of treatment options available and provide clear braces that will help you achieve the smile you have always wanted, without holding the stigma of traditional braces. Take our Free Assessment Survey today to get started and find out what AlignerCo can do for you.