Crooked Teeth and Misaligned Bites
There are several reasons why some people’s teeth grow in crooked, overlapping, or twisted. Some people’s mouths are too small for their teeth, which crowds the teeth and causes them to shift. In other cases, a person’s upper and lower jaws aren’t the same size or are malformed, resulting in either an overbite, when there is excessive protrusion of the upper jaw, or an under bite, when the lower jaw protrudes forward causing the lower jaw and teeth to extend out beyond the upper teeth.
Most often crooked teeth, overbites, and underbites are inherited traits just as the color of your eyes or size of your hands. Other causes of misaligned bites are early loss of baby or adult teeth; improper fit of dental restorations (for example, fillings or crowns); gingivitis (gum disease); undue pressure on the teeth and gums; misalignment of the jaw after an injury; tumors of the mouth or jaw; or common oral health problems in children such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, pacifier use beyond the age of three, or prolonged use of a bottle.
What Problems Come With Crooked Teeth and Misaligned Bites?
- Interfere with proper chewing.
- Make keeping teeth clean more of a challenge, increasing the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis.
- Strain the teeth, jaws, and muscles, increasing the risk of breaking a tooth.
- Make people feel self-conscious about their appearance and affect their self-esteem.
How Do I Know if My Teeth Are Crooked or My Bite Is Misaligned?
While you can see for yourself if teeth are crooked, your dentist can determine if the problem warrants treatment. Your dentist will look for the following signs:
- Abnormal alignment of teeth
- Abnormal appearance of the face
- Difficulty or discomfort when chewing or biting
Speech difficulties, including a lisp
What Tests Can I Expect at the Orthodontist?
The orthodontist will likely take X-rays, photographs of your face, and teeth impressions to determine if and what type of treatment is needed. X-rays provide information on the position of your teeth and roots and if any teeth have yet to come through the gums. Special cephalometrics or panoramic X-rays show the relationship of the teeth to the jaws and the jaws to the head. Your orthodontist may also want to take regular photographs of your face to further examine the relationship between the teeth, jaws, and head. Finally, impressions may be made of your teeth. This is done by having you bite down on a soft material that is later used to create an exact copy of your teeth.
How Are Crooked Teeth and Misaligned Bites Treated?
Once a diagnosis is made, your orthodontist can decide the best treatment for your teeth or misaligned bite. For some people, a removable retainer (to stabilize the new position of teeth) will be all that’s needed to correct the problem. Removal of one or more teeth may be required if overcrowding is the main problem. For most people, braces are necessary to correct the problem. In rare and extreme cases, such as an extreme overbite or underbite, an operation may be necessary.
Invisible Aligners for Teeth
Everybody wants a great smile, but a lot of us need help getting there. More and more people are having success with clear orthodontic devices called aligners.
Braces use brackets connected by wires to encourage teeth to move. Aligners are a series of tight-fitting custom-made retainers that slip over the teeth. Invisalign is the largest producer of clear aligners, but it’s not the only brand. Others include Clear Correct, Inman Aligner, and Smart Moves.
Clear (or “invisible”) aligners aren’t for everyone. Your orthodontist or dentist will help you decide what’s best for you.
Can anyone get invisibleteethaligners?
Because the invisible aligners are custom-built for a tight fit, they are best for adults or teens. Straightening a child’s teeth is more complicated. Young people, and their mouths, are still growing and developing; the doctor must think about this when setting up treatment.
Clear orthodontic aligners are typically used for patients who have mild or moderately crowded teeth, or have minor spacing issues. Patients who have severe crowding or spacing problems — or severe underbites, overbites, or crossbites — may need more complex treatment.
How do they work?
Once a dentist or orthodontist decides how to correct your bite, they’ll make a plan for moving your teeth. If you get the clear aligners, you’ll be fitted for several versions that make slight adjustments to move your teeth over the treatment time.
They’re made from a clear plastic or acrylic material and fit tightly over the teeth, but can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. You’ll get a new aligner every few weeks to continue moving the teeth into the desired position.
How long does it take to straighten teeth using invisible aligners?
Treatment time with invisible teeth aligners is based on how much the teeth need to be moved or rotated. The more your bite is off or the more crooked your teeth, the longer it will take. Treatment usually takes between 10 and 24 months. But if you’re an adult who had braces as a child, and your teeth shifted slightly over the years, you may need invisible teeth aligners for as little as 10 weeks.
Because invisible aligners are not as precise as traditional braces, some patients may require a “refinement” of their teeth using braces for a few months to make other, smaller adjustments at the end of the treatment.
Why use invisible aligners instead of braces?
Avoiding “metal mouth” isn’t the only reason to choose a clear aligner. Unlike braces, aligners can be removed, making it easier to brush and floss well; that helps maintain better overall oral health.
Is teeth straightening just about having a great smile?
Correcting crooked or misaligned teeth isn’t just about creating a picture-perfect smile. It can help protect the long-term health of your teeth.
Dental Braces and Retainers
If you have crooked teeth and/or a misaligned bite (an underbite or overbite), there are a variety of treatments that can help straighten teeth, including braces and retainers.
Many general dentists are doing basic alignment and orthodontics, but orthodontists specialize in correcting irregularities of the teeth.
The dentist or orthodontist you choose will ask questions about your health, conduct a clinical exam, take impressions of your teeth, take photos of your face and teeth, and order X-rays of the mouth and head. An appropriate treatment plan is made based on analysis of the gathered information.
In some cases, a removable retainer will be all that’s necessary. In other rare cases (especially when there is an extreme overbite or underbite), surgery may be necessary. In most cases, however, braces will be needed.
See Before and After Pictures of Braces and Other Dental Procedures
What Types of Braces Are Available?
How Do Braces Work?
In their entirety, braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone changes shape as pressure is applied.
Braces are made up of the following components:
Brackets are the small squares that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth with a special dental bonding agent or are attached to orthodontic bands. Brackets act like handles, holding the arch wires that move the teeth. There are several types of brackets, including stainless steel and tooth-colored ceramic or plastic, which are often selected because they’re less obvious. Occasionally, brackets are cemented to the back of teeth, in order to hide them from view.
Orthodontic bands are made of stainless steel, clear, or tooth-colored materials that are cemented to some of your back the teeth with dental bonding agents. They wrap around each the tooth to provide an anchor for the wire
Spacers are separators that fit between teeth to create a small space prior to placement of orthodontic bands.
Arch wires attach to the brackets and act as tracks to guide the movement of the teeth. Arch wires can be made of metal or be clear or tooth-colored.
Ties are small rubber rings or fine wires that fasten the arch wire to the brackets. They can be clear, metal, or colored.
A buccal tube on the band of the last tooth holds the end of the arch wire securely in place.
Tiny elastic rubber bands, called ligatures, hold the arch wires to the brackets.
Springs may be placed on the arch wires between brackets to push, pull, open, or close the spaces between teeth.
Two bands on the upper teeth may have headgear tubes on them to hold the facebow of the headgear in place. (A headgear is another tool used by orthodontists to aid in correcting irregularities of the teeth; see below)
Elastics or rubber bands attach to hooks on brackets and are worn between the upper and lower teeth in various ways. They apply pressure to move the upper teeth against the lower teeth to achieve a perfect fit of individual teeth.
Facebow headgear is the wire gadget that is used to move the upper molars back in the mouth to correct bite discrepancies and also to create room for crowded teeth. The facebow consists of an inner metal part shaped like a horseshoe that goes in the mouth, attaching to buccal tubes, and an outer part that goes around the outside of the face and is connected to a headgear strap.
Newer “mini-braces,” which are much smaller than traditional braces, may be an option for some. There is another method of straightening teeth that uses removable plastic retainers that may also work when crowding of the teeth is not too severe. Your orthodontist will discuss the various types of braces with you and determine which might be the best option for your situation.
How Long Will I Have to Wear Braces?
The time required for braces varies from person to person, depending on the severity of the problem; the amount of room available; the distance the teeth must travel; the health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone; and how closely the patient follows instructions. On average, however, once the braces are put on, they usually remain in place for one to three years. After braces are removed, most patients will need to wear a retainer all the time for the first six months, then only during sleep for many years.
How Often Will I Need to See the Orthodontist During Treatment?
Your orthodontist will want to see you about every month or so in order to make sure the braces are exerting steady pressure on the teeth. To create more tension and pressure on your teeth, the orthodontist will make adjustments in the wires, springs, or rubber bands of the braces. In some cases, braces alone aren’t enough to straighten the teeth or shift the jaw. In these situations, an external appliance, such as headgear, may need to be worn at home in the evening or through the night.
Will Braces Be Painful?
Some of the adjustments your orthodontist may make to your braces may make your mouth feel sore or uncomfortable. When needed, over-the-counter pain relievers like Motrin or Tylenol can help relieve the pain. If you always experience a lot of pain after your braces are adjusted, talk to your orthodontist about it; he or she may be able to make the adjustments a bit differently.
Does the Age Affect the Success of Braces?
The mechanical process used to move teeth with braces is the same at any age. So the benefits of orthodontic treatments are available to both children and adults who wish to improve their appearance and bite. The main differences between treatments in adults and children is that certain corrections in adults may require more than braces alone and the treatments may take longer because adult bones are no longer growing.
Can I Continue to Play Sports While Wearing Braces?
If you have braces, you can continue to participate in any sport you choose. When playing sports where there is a possibility of getting hit in the mouth, a specially designed mouthguard will need to be worn. The mouthguard, made of durable plastic, is designed to fit comfortably over your braces and will protect the soft tissues inside the mouth.
What Care Can I Expect After the Braces Come Off?
After braces are taken off, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned. Your orthodontist may want to take another set of X-rays and bite impressions to check how well the braces straightened your teeth and to see if any wisdom teeth have developed. If wisdom teeth are beginning to come in after braces have been removed, your dentist or orthodontist may recommend the wisdom teeth be pulled to prevent newly straightened teeth from shifting.
Your dentist or orthodontist will also fit you with a retainer. A retainer is a custom-made, removable appliance that helps teeth maintain their new position after braces have been removed. Retainers can also be used to treat minor orthodontic problems. The use of a retainer is a very important part of post-braces care. Retainers, which are typically made of rubber or clear plastic and metal wires that cover the outside surface of the teeth, need to be worn all the time for the first six months and then usually only during sleep. The time frame for wearing a retainer will vary from patient to patient. The reason why a retainer is needed is that even though braces may have successfully straightened your teeth, they are not completely settled in their new position until the bones, gums, and muscles adapt to the change. Also, after long periods of time, teeth tend to shift.
How Much Co Braces Cost?
The cost of braces varies, talk to our reception regarding our fees Some insurance carriers provide partial coverage for orthodontic treatment, so check with your insurance provider for the specifics of what your policy covers.