Misaligned teeth can be caused by either genetic or lifestyle factors. While some people have crooked teeth due to their genetics, others will develop crooked teeth due to childhood habits such as thumb sucking.
Crooked teeth affect more than just your appearance. When teeth don’t align together properly, they can cause oral health consequences that impact your smile. Here’s how misaligned teeth can affect your oral health as well as what you can do about it!
Crooked Teeth Are Difficult to Clean
When teeth are crowded or overlap, they’re difficult to properly clean. Even with the right tools and habits such as daily brushing and flossing, misaligned teeth make it more difficult to adequately remove plaque to prevent oral health problems.
If plaque is left on the teeth—especially near the gumline—it can build up and form into a hardened substance called tartar. Both plaque and tartar can cause gingivitis, the beginning stage of gum disease. Having misaligned teeth influences your risk of developing gum disease in your lifetime .
Misaligned Teeth Can Increase Your Risk for Bruxism
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is when you consciously or unconsciously grind your teeth. Bruxism is incredibly damaging to your teeth and could happen due to stress, anxiety, or a misaligned bite .
When teeth don’t sit properly in the jaw, it can place stress on your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can lead to tension and pain. The relationship between bruxism and TMJ disorders is complex, but misaligned teeth are a risk factor for both conditions.
Potential Jaw Issues
Misaligned teeth can also exist with an improper bite, which can place stress on the jaw. This could lead to TMJ symptoms such as jaw stiffness and pain as we’ve seen, or it could even lead to problems with speaking and chewing . Typically, people who correct their misaligned teeth experience a decrease in their symptoms and are able to chew and speak more comfortably.
Treatment Options for Misaligned Teeth
There are many treatment options for crooked teeth to help improve your appearance, your oral health, and your bite. Your choices will all depend on your unique case which makes getting an assessment with your dentist or orthodontist an important step.
You may have the option of going with a retainer-type device that helps move your bite or teeth into their proper positions, or, more commonly, you’ll have the option of braces or Invisalign. Your oral healthcare professional can let you know more about your treatment options during your consultation!
Are Misaligned Teeth Impacting Your Oral Health?
If you have misaligned teeth and your oral health has been impacted, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist to see what can be done. Crooked teeth can influence your risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and jaw discomfort, and straightening your teeth can be an influential form of treatment to help improve your oral health!