Dental crowding can create several problems for patients, from children through adults. Left untreated, tooth crowding can cause lifelong issues for your oral health. Beyond the risks to your teeth, bite, and jaws, crowded teeth create a crooked appearance to your teeth and smile. This can result in lower self-confidence about your smile.
What Is Dental Crowding?
Crowded teeth are a form of malocclusion where the teeth are too big for the space that the jaw provides. This results in crooked teeth or even teeth that overlap. In some instances, teeth may rotate out of the proper position due to crowding.
Tooth crowding can occur in both primary teeth (baby teeth) or in permanent teeth (adult teeth). When primary teeth become crowded, your child’s dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment that will expand the jaw space to allow permanent teeth the proper amount of room to erupt and grow into the position.
Crowding of the teeth can also occur later in life as the bone density of the jaw changes and the roots of the teeth shift, causing teeth to shift as well. Many adults seek orthodontic treatment later in life as a result.
How Does Dental Crowding Impact Your Oral Health?
While it is easy to assume that the only impact of crowded and crooked teeth is a lack of self-confidence about your smile and physical appearance, there are several real risks to your overall oral health if your crowded teeth aren’t treated.
One of the risks is difficulty in maintaining good oral health on all of your teeth. When tooth surfaces overlap, the risk of plaque and bacteria accumulating increases, which can lead to decay and cavities that may then require you to get fillings.
Poorly aligned teeth due to crowding can also cause you to experience uneven wearing and chipping due to the lack of alignment and may require cosmetic dentistry to fix chips and cracks.
Crowded teeth and a poorly aligned bite may also lead to teeth grinding or clenching at night, causing daytime symptoms of pain and tenderness to the jaw and requiring the use of a nightguard.
Crowded teeth can impair speech development in young children; left untreated, crowded teeth can cause speech impediments that last throughout childhood into adulthood.
Crowding caused by emerging wisdom teeth late in adolescence and early adulthood can create additional problems, such as impacted wisdom teeth. A tooth extraction oral surgeon is generally consulted to extract wisdom teeth in cases like these.
Treatment Options for Dental Crowding
Fortunately, there are several means available to treat crowded teeth in both children and adults. If young children have crowded teeth as they lose their primary teeth and their permanent teeth begin to emerge, your dentist may refer them for orthodontic care, which may include using a palate expander to create more space in the upper palate during formative growth years before puberty. Using a palate expander in the pre-pubescent years to create a wider upper palate can create more space for emerging permanent teeth and reduce the need for tooth extractions.
If your child is too old to benefit from a palate expander, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest tooth extraction of one or more permanent teeth in order to create the room needed to correct the remaining crowded teeth through orthodontic braces. The tooth extraction oral surgeon will only remove those teeth necessary to provide room.
Once your dentist and orthodontist have created a treatment plan for your crowded teeth, they may suggest using orthodontic braces and other orthodontic appliances such as headgear and retainers to successfully correct your crowded teeth and create a properly aligned smile. There are many options for braces, including traditional metal braces, Invisalign, ceramic braces and Fastbraces. Your treatment team can work with you to create a plan that meets your needs and budget.
At Lovett Dental, we offer many dental services, including:
- Bridges and crowns
- Dental implants
Tooth crowding is a serious oral health concern that can cause lifelong oral health issues and can lower your self-confidence in your smile and appearance. Correct your smile today and contact Lovett Dental at 281.346.9597.