Crowded teeth, or dental crowding, occurs when a person’s jaw lacks the amount of space their mouth needs for permanent teeth to grow in an orderly fashion. This causes issues as teeth are left to “fight” for space and oftentimes end up overlapping each other or growing at odd angles.
The result: crooked teeth.
Although crowded teeth can definitely impact a person’s confidence and appearance, they aren’t merely a cosmetic issue. An overcrowded mouth can make chewing difficult, and it can even affect one’s health in a negative way. Luckily, there is a variety of treatment options to fix this dental issue.
Are you or someone close to you experiencing overcrowding? This ultimate guide will explain the causes of crowded teeth as well as your treatment options. Keep reading to learn more!
Different Kinds of Overcrowding
Your orthodontist or dentist will be able to analyze the severity of a patient’s dental crowding with a simple examination. Here are the different degrees and what they mean:
- Mild Overcrowding: when one anterior tooth is slightly rotated
- Moderate Overcrowding: when two or three anterior teeth are overlapping
- Severe Overcrowding: when the majority of a person’s anterior teeth are overlapping
The determinant of a person’s dental crowding severity is based on the size and shape of a person’s jaw/mouth and how many teeth they have. Again, your dentist should be able to make a decision through a visual examination of your mouth.
The Causes of Crowded Teeth
So, what exactly is the cause behind your dental crowding? Why isn’t your jaw long enough to cope with your permanent teeth?
The truth is that there isn’t just one universal cause behind crowded teeth. There are actually a number of potential reasons why a person might have this issue, including the following:
- a person has larger teeth due to genetics
- a person was born with a smaller or shorter jaw
- a person loses a baby tooth early, and other teeth start to shift to take its place before the “adult” tooth grows in
- a person has over-retained primary teeth
Of course, there could be other factors that made your mouth vulnerable to overcrowding. Talk to your dentist!
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The Impact of Wisdom Teeth
It’s impossible to talk about dental crowding without mentioning the role of wisdom teeth in all of it.
Impacted wisdom teeth, or teeth that still under the gums and being blocked by other teeth, can contribute to misalignment and overcrowding. As wisdom teeth shift and grow, they could push against your back molars, causing your teeth to have a “domino effect” and crowd together.
While getting your wisdom teeth removed could temporarily put a pause to your overcrowding, the only real way to extinguish the issue is to get specific treatment.
Keep on reading to learn about your options.
Fixing Crowded Teeth
A person who is experiencing dental crowding doesn’t have to deal with a crooked or overlapping smile forever. In fact, there are many ways a patient can fix their overcrowded mouth depending on their age and the severity of their condition.
The following are common treatment options for patients with crowded teeth.
Most dentists recommend dental braces as a treatment for overcrowding, especially for younger people. Not only do braces help move teeth into the desired position, but they can also help to realign the jaw.
Patients who get braces usually have them anywhere from 18 months to three years.
Invisalign is a popular method for treating dental crowding and achieving a perfect smile. Unlike braces, Invisalign is virtually invisible when on the patient’s teeth despite costing about the same amount.
This clear aligner corrects overcrowding by helping the teeth shift into the right position in the mouth. Patients wear the invisible aligners for 22 hours every day for about 20 weeks, and they get their aligners replaced with a new one every two weeks. Click here to read more about the incredible benefits of Invisalign!
Dental retainers are sometimes capable of improving the look of mild cases of overcrowding. While they won’t be able to completely straighten a person’s smile, they do provide pressure that can help shift teeth that are overlapping.
Keep in mind that most orthodontists don’t recommend using retainers as a treatment option for more severe cases.
For adults with moderate cases of dental crowding, veneers might be an ideal option for correcting malalignment.
Patients receiving veneers will get lightweight, customized sheaths that look like teeth. These sheaths or “shells” fit perfectly over the top of the patient’s real teeth and are bonded down to improve the appearance and shape of a person’s smile.
Are you dealing with a more extreme case of crowded teeth? Dentofacial orthopedics work to guide facial bone growth, which helps to realign teeth.
There are multiple kinds of orthopedic appliances that are used to achieve a wider, larger mouth, including headgear and expanders.
Don’t Live With Crowded Teeth
A person who lives with crowded teeth knows just how difficult and embarrassing it can be. However, they should know that they don’t have to put up with their crooked or overlapping smile; there are plenty of options out there to help them get the teeth they want.
Now that you know all about crowded teeth, you’re pretty much an expert! If you need dental treatment, don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist about your options.
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