If you suffer from crooked teeth, join the crowd! Most people aren't born with a perfect smile and experience crooked teeth to some degree. But noticeably crooked teeth can be disconcerting, whether they're putting you at risk for dental problems or just making it hard to look in the mirror. Crooked teeth are a type of malocclusion, or misalignment of teeth, and they are a dental condition that should be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, most people have absolutely no control over whether they get crooked teeth. Crooked teeth are often a part of your genetic makeup -- you inherit crooked teeth just like you inherit your eye color or the shape of your nose. Crooked teeth can also result from overcrowding. A small jaw may not allow enough room for all 32 of your adult teeth to come in, causing them to shift after eruption.
Crooked teeth are usually hereditary, but other factors can also cause teeth to become crooked. Crooked teeth may result from applying consistent pressure to your teeth. Prolonged thumb-sucking or tongue thrusting are commonly known to contribute to crooked teeth. Missing teeth are also a culprit -- the gap created by a missing tooth allows existing teeth to move into the space, causing them to shift or rotate in the process.
Crooked teeth can be embarrassing -- but that's the least of your worries! Crooked teeth can lead to dental problems that can affect your dental health. Crooked teeth are more difficult to clean, which puts you at risk of creating a buildup of tooth decay -- causing dental plaque and dental tartar. Crooked teeth can also create an uneven biting pressure, which in turn can cause chewing problems, strain the jaw muscles and lead to cracked or broken teeth.
Crooked teeth are correctable with orthodontic treatment, which usually consists of using dental braces to move your teeth back into the right position. There are several types of dental braces available today, with different colors and styles to match your personal tastes. Many adults are now choosing clear braces that blend in with the color of their teeth, helping to hide the fact that they're wearing dental braces at all!
Dental braces aren't the only orthodontic treatment option. For mild forms of malocclusions, an orthodontic retainer may be all you need. Invisalign® has also become a popular way to correct crooked teeth -- Invisalign consists of a series of clear, removable aligners that straighten your teeth without the use of wires or brackets. For teeth that are crooked in the front, you may choose veneers. Unlike dental braces, porcelain veneers completely cover crooked teeth and are also ideal for correcting stained or chipped teeth.
If you suffer from crooked teeth, you should discuss your treatment options with your dentist or orthodontist. Like millions of dental patients before you, you'll be able to successfully correct your crooked teeth with the right treatment -- and the right dentist! So join the club.