The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Crowded Teeth

The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Crowded Teeth

The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Crowded Teeth : In the US, more than $100 billion is spent annually on oral healthcare.

The most common conditions that are treated are cavities and gum disease but there is a vast range of other issues that require dental treatment.

One of these conditions is crowded teeth, also known as malocclusion. This condition is more common than you might think; it is estimated that only 35% of adults have well-aligned teeth.

Read on as we take a closer look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment of crowded teeth.

The Causes of Crowded Teeth

Crowded teeth is usually a condition that is inherited. It means that there is little you could have done to prevent this condition from occurring.

There are also some conditions or incidents that can change the shape of the jaw and eventually lead to crowded teeth. A cleft lip or cleft palate is often something that will cause malocclusion. Sucking your thumb during childhood, or using a pacifier beyond the age of three may also be contributory factors.

Injuries to the teeth or jaw can also be a cause of crowded teeth. Unusually shaped teeth or even teeth that have had crowns or braces improperly fitted are also more prone to becoming crowded. Some people may also have too many or too few teeth, for example through the early loss of baby teeth.

The Symptoms of Crowded Teeth

Some instances of crowded teeth are immediately obvious. If teeth appear badly aligned or are overlapping or protruding, then this is a clear sign of malocclusion.

Some cases are more subtle and are not immediately obvious to the naked eye. You may find yourself regularly biting your own cheeks or tongue when eating. You may find it difficult to chew properly due to misaligned teeth.

You may also find some pain due to the stress on your teeth and jaws. Crowded teeth can even affect your speaking voice, causing problems such as lisps.

Your dentist may also notice unusual wear to your teeth which is a symptom of your bite being misaligned.

What Problems Can Crowded Teeth Cause?

Crowded teeth are more than just a cosmetic problem. Having crowded teeth can increase your risk of developing other oral health issues.

Crowded teeth can leave you more prone to gum disease. This is because teeth that are too close together are much harder to clean between effectively. You may find that even the smallest interdental brush is too big to fit between your teeth.

Food particles then become trapped and are a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria and plaque that lead to gum disease. Not being able to clean every part of your tooth effectively will also increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay.

If your teeth are incorrectly aligned, your teeth may rub together when you chew. Over time this can wear down the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Combined with the pressure on your teeth caused by overcrowding, this could even lead to cracked or fractured teeth.

You may also find that crowded teeth can lead to other health issues outside of your mouth. The misalignment can lead to chronic headaches, neck and jaw pain, and muscle pains in your face.

The Diagnosis of Crowded Teeth

If you are concerned about crowded teeth you should speak to your dentist. They will be able to examine your teeth and categorize your malocclusion into one of three categories.

Class 1

This is the least severe category of malocclusion. The upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth. The bite remains normal and the overlap is only slight. This is by far the most common diagnosis.

Class 2

Class 2 represents a severe overbite or retrognathism. The upper teeth and jaw severely overlap the lower teeth and jaw, causing issues with the bite.

Class 3

Class 3 is the exact opposite of class 2. In this case, the lower teeth and jaw severely overlap the upper teeth and jaw. This condition is also known as prognathism.

The Treatment of Crowded Teeth

Once your condition has been diagnosed, you can consider your treatment options.

If your malocclusion is not severe, you may not require any treatment at all, as your symptoms will be purely cosmetic. You can still opt to have your teeth correctly aligned of course.

If your malocclusion is more severe, your treatment options will depend on your individual circumstances. It may be that you will be able to treat your condition with braces alone. You can find out more about how products such as Invisalign are changing orthodontic treatment.

Another option to treat crowded teeth is to remove some teeth in order to give the others enough space. This is particularly effective in those who have too many teeth or have teeth that are too big for their mouths. For those who are missing teeth, a tool called a space maintainer may be used to stop the other teeth from moving away from their correct position.

In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the alignment of the jaw. This might involve reshaping, or even shortening part of the jaw so that the teeth return to a more typical alignment.

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The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Crowded Teeth

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