Crooked teeth are common, and the extent of the misalignment varies from person to person. While few people are born with perfectly straight teeth, severe misalignment can cause many health problems for an individual. For example, when teeth are overly crooked, they may cause:
- Tooth decay and gum disease. Not being able to clean teeth properly can lead to a more severe infection called periodontal disease, which damages bones and teeth.
- Digestion problems. If you can’t chew efficiently because of crooked teeth, your food becomes hard to digest.
- Excess wear and strain. Cracked teeth, joint disorders, and chronic headaches can all occur when teeth are overly crooked.
- Speech impediments. Misaligned teeth can make it more difficult to articulate your words.
- Lower self-esteem. Many find that crooked teeth have affected their happiness with their physical appearance.
What Causes Crooked Teeth?
Several factors play into how crooked or straight your teeth are. While some of them are in our control, most of the causes are left up to chance. Here are the top reasons people have crooked teeth.
1. Jaw Size
Scientists believe that because of softer, processed food, our jaws as a species are getting smaller. The theory is that less chewing is required with these new styles of food when compared to the food our ancestors ate.
Our narrow, shorter jaws are responsible for the tooth crowding seen in many individuals, causing crooked teeth.
2. Bad Habits
Repetitive behaviors can affect the muscles and functions of our mouth and face, which result in crooked teeth. Some of the worst bad habits that lead to misaligned teeth include:
- Mouth breathing
- Bottle use
- Pacifier use
- Thumb sucking
- Tongue thrusting
3. Misaligned Jaw
Also known as malocclusion, a misaligned jaw can also cause your teeth to form out of alignment. Your upper teeth should fit slightly over your lower teeth, and your upper molars should fit into the grooves of your lower molars.
It’s common for individuals to have over or underbites that lead to misaligned teeth. The bad habits mentioned above can lead to malocclusion.
If your parents also have crooked teeth or a crowded mouth, chances are you inherited your smaller jaw from them. You can also inherit an overbite or underbite that can lead to crooked teeth.
5. Poor Dental Care
If you don’t have your teeth examined by a dentist at least once a year, gum disease and cavities can go untreated and lead to crooked teeth and other dental problems that could affect your jaw alignment.
When children don’t have access to proper nutrition, tooth decay and overall poor dental health and development can lead to tooth decay. These problems are common precursors to crooked teeth.
Trauma to the face and mouth can knock teeth out of place or out of the jaw altogether. When one or more teeth are dislodged or misaligned, the rest of the teeth quickly move out of place as well.
Treatment Options for Crooked Teeth
There are several treatment options for crooked teeth, including braces, retainers, veneers, and crowns. Some of these options will change the physical alignment of your teeth, while others will cover your existing teeth.
To learn more about the treatment options for crooked teeth that we offer, make an appointment today with our team at Dental of Clementon.