Having crooked, crowded teeth is common for people of all ages. In some cases, this condition doesn’t affect one’s ability to move their mouth for speaking, chewing, or drinking.
However, many consider having crowded teeth unsightly and seek ways to correct them by wearing braces or getting extractions. Some may also feel pain and discomfort due to tooth misalignment, so they consider getting medical treatment for them as well.
Tooth crowding can start as early as infancy, with some baby teeth growing at irregular positions because they’re insufficiently sized for the gum space available. Permanent teeth, which usually come in the sixth or seventh year of life, can also grow crooked if the baby teeth they replaced were misaligned.
As the child grows, some eating and sucking habits can also contribute to tooth alignments, such as thumb sucking or the use of baby bottles. Moreover, heredity and genetics can also influence how one’s teeth grow.
Aside from their impact on one’s appearance, crooked teeth can also cause specific ailments that can be detrimental to one’s lifestyle and well-being. If you’d like to know the potential health dangers that come with having crowded teeth, here are some examples:
- Tooth Damage And Decay
Having misaligned teeth can cause excessive wear and tear on the tooth enamel. Since the groves of the upper and lower teeth don’t match, constant contact and friction will cause the enamel to weaken and break down over time. Ultimately, this can damage or break the tooth, causing pain, bleeding, or inflammation.
On the other hand, crowded teeth are also prone to decay since there are hard-to-reach areas that commonly accumulate bacteria. Teeth and gums harboring bacteria are likely to deteriorate over time, which entails weakening, breakage, and discoloration.
To avoid both scenarios, it’s best to consult with a dentist immediately if you’re feeling unusual friction between your upper and lower teeth. Doing so will help you save your solid and healthy teeth by treating or extracting those that can’t be saved.
- Uncomfortable Or Difficult Mouth Movements
Crooked teeth can make mouth movements more challenging or uncomfortable. Hence, limitations in mouth movements can cause some health issues. For instance, those with an open bite will find it challenging to chew their food thoroughly. This problem may eventually cause stomach aches and digestive issues, as sufficient chewing is essential for proper digestion.
Meanwhile, having buck teeth or an overbite can cause breathing issues, chewing deficiencies, damage to teeth and gums, mouth pain while eating, and speech impediments. All these conditions can be disruptive to one’s well-being and lifestyle, and this is why it’s essential to receive treatment right away.
On the other hand, some people make behavioral adjustments to cope with their conditions without medical intervention. Doing so may not be harmful to one’s health, provided that the situation doesn’t get in the way of one’s comfort in daily living.
Significantly, those struggling with the pain while eating and other challenges will need immediate dental treatment to prevent the ailment from worsening.
- Periodontal Diseases
One of the most common challenges associated with tooth crowding is cleaning the teeth and gums. Since the teeth are irregularly arranged, there could be areas that are hard to clean. In addition, misalignment and overcrowding allow the teeth and gums to accumulate plaque which harbors bacteria. As a result, tooth decay and gum disease are possible outcomes.
Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis may develop without proper dental cleaning and protection. In addition, gingivitis, or gum inflammation, entails swelling and bleeding of gums with mainly light-to-moderate pain or discomfort.
However, gingivitis can be easily prevented or healed by regularly brushing the teeth, flossing, and visiting the dentist for checkups and cleanings. Significantly, symptoms of gingivitis shouldn’t be ignored. While they can be tolerable; this ailment can gradually develop into periodontitis.
Meanwhile, periodontitis is a serious gum disease that could cause you to lose your teeth if you don’t get it treated. It’s caused by the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which infects the tissue and can harm the bone that holds your teeth in place.
As the bacteria infect the gums, it can weaken the bone and muscle structure surrounding the tooth, loosen the tooth and disconnect it from the roots.
Bruxism refers to grinding teeth against each other, which usually happens unconsciously when a person is asleep. This condition is caused by many factors, one of which is tooth misalignment. If left unaddressed, bruxism can cause damage to the teeth, as well as pain in the mouth, jaw, and neck. In extreme cases, teeth grinding can lead to dislocation of the jaw bone.
For those suffering from bruxism, here are some examples of possible treatments:
- Dental correction
- Stress or anxiety management therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Botox injections
Children and adults can recover from bruxism naturally. However, it can be disruptive to your daily life because of its related implications, such as jaw or neck pain, or sleep disorders. When this happens, it’s best to consult with your doctor about this condition.
Having crowded teeth can also lead to halitosis or bad breath. One might develop this condition due to teeth crowding because misalignment can make it difficult to clean the mouth thoroughly while brushing.
Furthermore, the unusual positioning of the teeth can make it easier for the mouth and gums to accumulate morsels of chewed food. When left uncleaned, these morsels become plaque, which builds up and sticks to the teeth and gums. Then, the plaque gives off a foul odor as bacteria settles in the mouth.
While it’s possible to give misaligned teeth thorough cleaning by brushing and flossing regularly, it’s not enough to remove foul odor from plaque. For this reason, it’s essential to visit the dentist and get a dental cleaning procedure along with possible treatments for tooth crowding.
- Migraine Or Chronic Headaches
Tooth crowding can cause migraines or continuous headaches due to the abnormal pressure placed upon each during movement.
The mouth and jaw muscles can move and rest without requiring added effort or adjustment. However, when misaligned, the temporomandibular joint is strained, and the pain resonates all over the face, jaw, and neck. The constant strain will then affect the nerves from the neck up, which results in a continuous headache.
Apart from the pain and discomfort, having chronic headaches can also lead to the development of other ailments, such as sleep deprivation and mental illnesses. Hence, before it gets worse, it’s essential to address the root of the problem, which is tooth crowding.
- Neck And Jaw Pain
One of the most common causes of crooked teeth is malocclusion, or misalignment of the jaw. With this condition, the upper teeth don’t fit naturally over the grooves of the lower teeth, resulting in either an overbite, an underbite, a crossbite, or an open bite.
For those with an overbite, the upper front teeth protrude farther than the lower front teeth. Contrastingly, an overbite entails having the lower front teeth pushed farther out of the mouth than the upper front teeth.
On the other hand, having an open bite means that the upper and lower front teeth don’t meet when the mouth is closed. Meanwhile, a crossbite implies that the top teeth fall in a relaxed, closed-mouth position behind the lower teeth.
Malocclusion is usually caused by poor myofunctional habits such as thumb or finger sucking, tongue thrusting, or mouth breathing. Meanwhile, it’s also possible to inherit traits related to misaligned teeth.
Regardless of the cause, these conditions usually bring about chronic neck and jaw pain for the sufferer because of the muscle effort needed for movement. Aside from this, there are other symptoms commonly caused by malocclusion among children:
- Strained mouth movements
- Tooth loss, damage, or decay
- Teeth grinding
- Pain in the jaw and the surrounding area
To address malocclusion, some dentists use braces and other tooth alignment treatments. In addition, tooth extraction is also an option to lessen crowding. Finally, surgery may be required for extreme cases of jaw misalignment.
- Emotional And Mental Distress
Those afflicted with tooth crowding may experience social anxiety and emotional distress due to how it affects their appearance. Having damage, discoloration, or peculiarities in one’s teeth, especially on the parts most visible, can make someone feel more self-conscious when speaking or smiling.
As a result, this heightened consciousness can make a person feel restricted in their mouth movements, and some may even feel embarrassed to interact with others face-to-face because of it.
When left untreated, having crowded teeth can negatively impact someone’s self-esteem, leading to emotional and mental distress. Hence, it’s essential to seek help to remedy teeth crowding.
Taking care of one’s dental health is essential for overall wellness. It also minimizes the risk of having other health complications caused by poor oral health. Hence, if your crowded teeth are causing discomfort, foul breath, pain, and other forms of inconvenience, it’s best to consult with a dentist and explore treatment options right away.