What are crowded teeth?
Dental crowding happens when teeth have to compete for space in your mouth which results in them growing improperly. This causes teeth to be twisted and misaligned. Typically, this can be due to genetic issues in jaw size, early or late loss of primary teeth, improper eruption of teeth, and other external factors. This type of dental crowding is known as a malocclusion – or “bad bite” – that occurs a result of this issue. This is a common orthodontic concern and is treatable.
Signs of dental crowding
If you’re unsure if your teeth are crowded, there are a few signs to look out for:
- Teeth set at unnatural angles in your mouth
- Teeth overlapping each other
- Jaw pain
- Trouble biting or chewing
- Bleeding gums when flossing
What causes crowded teeth?
People get crowded teeth for a variety of reasons. Usually this is attributed to baby teeth and permanent teeth that come in crooked or become crooked as they grow. However, sometimes there are other causes that contribute to dental crowding. Genetics plays a big role, as parents who have crooked teeth are more likely to pass it down to their children.
Mouth breathing is also a factor since mouth breathers place too much pressure on their teeth during rest, speech, and swallowing. This extra pressure further contributes to malocclusion. Another factor can be enlarged tonsils and adenoids because enlarged tonsils push the tongue forward and does not allow it to properly rest in the oral cavity, which gives the extra abnormal pressure against the teeth.
How crowded teeth are impacting your oral health
When teeth are misaligned, there’s a greater chance of bacteria and plaque developing in the hiding spots. The plaque and bacteria buildup are typically more difficult to clean as a result of the crowding and can make you more prone to gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early sign of gum disease. Signs of gum disease include bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, red, swollen, irritated gum tissue, and foul breath odor.
Crowded teeth also affect your bite, causing difficulties when chewing food. Teeth that are not aligned correctly can lead to a higher risk of cracking, breaking, and fracturing. The misalignment can also cause your teeth to wear out faster, wearing away the protective enamel and possibly resulting in issues like cavities.
Teeth crowding may also be linked to bruxism, which is when you grind, clench, or gnash your teeth. Bruxism can lead to several dental health problems, like damage to your teeth, headaches, face pain, and temporomandibular joint disorder.
How dental crowding can be treated
We are fortunate to live in an age of advanced technology and ample options. Typically the common treatments for dental crowding are braces, extractions, or clear aligners.
There are various forms of braces: metal, ceramic, or lingual, and they all help properly align teeth.
Extractions are also used for extremely crowded teeth, especially for extra teeth which are not needed for proper oral health. After the extractions are completed, an orthodontist will move and guide the teeth into the extraction site to alleviate crowding.
A recent and effective method for straightening teeth is the use of clear aligners. They are discreet and achieve excellent results with speed and efficiency. The custom series of clear aligners safely and efficiently move your teeth into their correct place.
Can I treat dental crowding at home?
No, it is never advised to attempt to correct your teeth at home as this can have serious consequences for your oral health. Attempting to use at-home materials like rubber bands to correct dental crowding can cause permanent harm. The American Association of Orthodontists even advises against mail-order aligner kits as medical intervention should only be done by a licensed professional, with direct supervision.
Treating crowded teeth in Tigard
If you have crowded teeth and want to explore options on how to fix them, come in to our dental office in Tigard, and speak with Dr. Henderson about your concerns. You can even schedule an appointment online!