Straighter teeth perform chewing, biting and speaking functions more effectively than crooked teeth. In addition, a straight smile boosts confidence, is aesthetically pleasing to look at, and can help avoid some dental problems.
There are several types of malocclusion including overbite, underbite, crossbite, and overcrowding. Each of these alignment problems may negatively impact the function and appearance of the teeth.
Here is a brief overview of some of the main disorders associated with crooked teeth:
Periodontitis – Periodontitis or gum disease begins with a bacterial infection. The bacterial infection is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Crooked teeth are harder to clean. Straight teeth are easier to clean and are at less risk of contracting gum disease.
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) - Severe crooked teeth can lead to improper jaw alignment. Severe headaches, jaw pain, lockjaw and grinding characterize TMD.
Tooth injury – Straight teeth create a strong wall, which means injuries are less likely to occur. Protruding teeth are more vulnerable to injury.
Uneven wear – Crooked teeth cause some of the teeth to work harder than others when biting and chewing. Straight teeth share the workload evenly, meaning less risk of injury and less overall risk for wear.
Teeth can be straightened using either orthodontic braces or customized aligning trays. Orthodontic braces are usually affixed to the teeth for a set duration. The brackets and archwires are tightened regularly by the orthodontist and removed when treatment is complete. Fixed braces are effective for most types of malocclusion.
Aligning trays are fully removable and are used where the malocclusion is less severe, and the teeth need to move a shorter distance. These trays are replaced every few weeks for the duration of the treatment, and have proven to be effective for straightening teeth.
If you have questions about orthodontics and straightening teeth, please ask for a referral to an orthodontist.