Teeth that are crooked or misaligned are very common in both children and adults. If you have some crooked teeth, you shouldn’t feel like you have to get them straightened if they are not causing you any problems. Teeth that aren’t perfectly aligned are unique, and a part of who you are. However, realignment might be recommended if your teeth are causing health issues, speech problems, or affecting your self-confidence.
What Causes Crooked Teeth?
Both your baby teeth and adult teeth can come in crooked, or become crooked over time. Baby teeth will sometimes move into misaligned positions in the mouth because they are too small for the larger amount of gum space that they have. In children, certain habits like sucking on a thumb or a pacifier can also cause the milk teeth to become crooked or pushed out, and genetics can also play a role when it comes to how straight your teeth are.
Bear in mind that crooked baby teeth do not often mean that a child will also have crooked permanent teeth. Similarly, straight baby teeth don’t mean that the adult teeth will also come in straight. Adult teeth are at a higher risk of coming in crooked if the baby teeth fall out sooner than they would naturally due to tooth decay or trauma to the mouth, since this can cause adult teeth to grow out of the gums slanted, rather than straight.
Issues That Can Lead to Tooth Misalignment
While sometimes teeth will just grow in a certain way for seemingly no reason, there are some issues that tend to raise the risk of having adult teeth that grow in misaligned. These include:
- Poor Myofunctional Habits
Myofunctional habits refer to repetitive behaviors impacting the functions and muscles of the face and mouth. They include habits such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, mouth breathing, and prolonged use of a pacifier or bottle in children.
- Jaw Size
Our modern diet of processed and softer foods that’s consumed by many people today requires less chewing compared to foods eaten by people in the past. As a result, this has altered the human jaw size and made it smaller. Some scientists believe that crooked, crowded, and misaligned teeth may be the result of this evolved shorter jaw.
- Misaligned Jaw
Known as malocclusion, a misaligned jaw can lead to teeth that come in crooked. Your front upper teeth are supposed to fit slightly over your front lower teeth with the molars fitting together. A misaligned jaw will occur when this does not happen. Overbites and underbites are common misalignment issues that can lead to teeth problems. With an overbite, your upper front teeth stick out further, while an overbite causes your lower front teeth to protrude out further than the upper teeth.
- Poor Dental Care
Over time, failing to have your teeth checked at least once or twice a year by a dentist can lead to crooked teeth. Teeth misalignment can occur over time as a result of dental problems such as cavities and gum disease being left untreated.
Crooked teeth might be the result of simple genetics. If one or both of your parents had misaligned, crowded, or crooked teeth, it’s possible that you will also have the same problem.
- Facial Injuries
Suffering a facial injury such as a hit to the mouth or face can sometimes knock the teeth out of place, which might ultimately result in one or more teeth becoming crooked.
- Poor Nutrition
Poor nutrition in children in particular can lead to crooked teeth over time. For children, poor nutrition during the younger years can cause poor dental development and tooth decay, which are risk factors for adult teeth eventually coming in crooked.
Should You Straighten Misaligned Teeth?
Whether or not to straighten your teeth is a personal decision. Imperfect teeth do not always have to cause problems, and they are unique to you. If your teeth are only slightly misaligned, you may decide that they will stay as they are, if they do not cause you any problems. However, if your crooked teeth are causing health problems, jaw discomfort, are difficult to clean and therefore leave you with a higher risk of dental issues, or even if they make you feel self-conscious about your smile, there are plenty of reasons to consider straightening your teeth. This has become easier than ever, with more brace and aligner options now available with affordable payment plans for both adults and teens.
Options for Straightening Your Teeth
If you have decided that the best way forward for you is to get your teeth straightened, there are several choices to consider. Braces can be used by people of any age, as long as their teeth and gums are strong enough for the procedure. It’s especially effective for teenagers who will often have more flexible gums and bone tissues. Alignment options to consider include:
- Clear Aligners
Invisible braces or clear aligners are becoming an increasingly popular option for adults who want to achieve straighter teeth. If you don’t want braces that are obvious, you can get these removeable braces that are changed every few weeks to encourage your teeth to move position. Night only teeth aligners, available from ALIGNERCO, are worn when you are sleeping to straighten your teeth, allowing you to get on with your day as normal without braces. Night only clear aligners are a great option if you don’t want braces that interfere with your appearance or make it difficult to eat. Check out ALIGNERCO for more information on how to get these braces.
- Metal Braces
Fixed metal braces are typically the best option for seriously misaligned teeth. They are attached to the teeth with brackets, bands, and wire. Modern metal braces use less metal and smaller brackets, making them much more comfortable to wear than they used to be. You can now even have them fitted behind the teeth, to keep them out of sight.
- Ceramic Braces
If you need fixed braces but want an option that is not quite as obvious as metal braces, ceramic braces can be a good choice. These braces are either clear or the same color as your teeth, so that they do not stand out as much in your mouth. However, if you want to go for these braces, bear in mind that they do have some downsides – not only is it easier to break them compared to metal braces, but they can also be much easier to stain, so they might not be the best option for you if you are a coffee-drinker.
- Teeth Straightening Surgery
Another option to consider is surgical procedures designed to straighten the teeth. This can be used as a method of reducing the time that you’ll need to wear braces. A minor surgical procedure can reposition the bones and gums that hold your teeth in place. In most complex cases, surgery might be required to realign your jaw. This is usually recommended when the teeth have impacted your ability to chew or your speech.
While crooked teeth are certainly not uncommon and there’s nothing wrong with not having perfectly straight teeth, realignment might be the best option for you if your teeth are affecting your speech, chewing ability, health, or self-confidence.