Crooked teeth can make you feel embarrassed. You may try to hide your smile, deliberately not smile, or be self-conscious when you do. While an imperfect smile can negatively affect your self-confidence in social and professional circles, the fact is, crooked teeth can also wreak havoc on the health of your entire mouth.
How crooked teeth affect oral health
Crooked teeth may be crowded and/or overlapped. In such cases, it is difficult to remove plaque and food particles from between teeth, with a toothbrush or dental floss. The plaque not removed with daily brushing hardens into tartar, and tartar must be scraped from teeth by a dental hygienist. The build-up of bacterial plaque and tartar ultimately leads to gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the USA. It has been connected to systemic health conditions, including heart attack, stroke, and diabetes complications, to name a few.
As a certified and experienced orthodontist, Dr. Markham can determine whether straightening your teeth will help deter gum disease and other related health problems.
Occlusion is also an issue. If teeth on your upper and lower arches don’t meet properly when you close your mouth, your dental health may suffer. Upper and lower arch misalignment is called malocclusion. This condition contributes to teeth grinding (called bruxism), which in turn will cause tooth wear and cracking. Malocclusion also causes TMJ disorder, a painful condition of the jaw joints.
By correcting dental alignment, bruxism, TMJ disorder, and related tooth trauma may be avoided.
What causes crooked teeth?
There are several reasons that people develop crooked teeth, including genetics. If your mouth is simply too small to allow all of your teeth proper space for development, the teeth will become crowded and crooked. Oftentimes, this issue can be detected in children as young as seven years of age, at which time phase one or interceptive orthodontic therapy may be advised. Dr. Markham may employ expanders to widen the arch and space maintainers to keep permanent teeth in their proper place as neighboring primary teeth fall out.
In the case of adults, previously straight teeth can shift and become crooked or overlapping when wisdom teeth erupt. These giant third molars in the back of our mouths can affect the appearance of a smile, as well as occlusion.
Not replacing lost permanent teeth leaves room for teeth to shift out of place, too. Most often, teeth move into the empty space to compensate for the lost tooth, but in some cases, shifting leads to crookedness.
What can be done?
X-rays and a complete oral exam will help Dr. Markham and our team determines whether your dental alignment needs to be addressed and if your oral health has been affected by it. Depending on your condition, we may suggest orthodontic treatment. Today, many types of orthodontic braces are available, from inconspicuous, clear, removable aligners to clear or tooth-colored brackets and wires to traditional braces.
If you or a member of your family want straighter teeth for a more attractive smile or experience difficulty or discomfort due to crooked teeth, schedule a consultation with Markham Orthodontics of Sacramento CA, so we can help. Contact us at (916) 924-8970 to make an appointment.