Having crooked teeth is a reality for countless children and adults today. Orthodontists fit
millions of people with braces every year to correct misaligned teeth and fix bites that can lead
to chronic issues.
Misaligned teeth don’t just affect the appearance of your smile; they can have actual
consequences on your health that may only get worse if not corrected. What damage can
misaligned teeth cause?
Erosion of Gum Tissue
Our gums protect our teeth and keep them strong in our jaws. With nearly half of American
adults having some form of gum disease, keeping your gum tissue as healthy as possible is
essential to protecting your teeth.
Misaligned teeth play a role in gum health. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) note that crooked teeth can be a risk factor for gum disease, which includes
gum recession .
When the teeth don’t align properly, bite force can be unevenly distributed across the teeth
which can lead to excessive stress placed on the gums and alveolar bone, leading to
inflammation and possibly gum recession.
Trouble Chewing Food
Misaligned teeth can also lead to trouble chewing food. With uneven bite pressure, crooked
teeth may not be able to break down food as well as straight teeth before it enters the
stomach, which can lead to gastrointestinal issues.
The American Dental Association acknowledges that crooked teeth may interfere with eating
. This can lead to bloating, gas, cramping, and can even contribute to the development of
Crooked teeth are notoriously difficult to clean . When teeth overlap or are crowded
together, it can feel impossible to properly brush and floss your mouth. Misaligned teeth are
often subject to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay as a result.
If you have misaligned teeth, keeping up with your regular dental appointments is going to be
essential to preventing cavities and periodontal disease which could disrupt your smile.
People who suffer from frequent headaches or migraines may have their teeth to blame. When
the teeth don’t come together properly, the jaw may try to compensate for the misaligned bite
which can cause stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
The TMJ can be responsible for many issues, including earaches or frequent ear infections,
headaches, and chronic jaw or facial pain. Even neck pain and upper back pain have been linked
to TMJ. Consider an exam with your dentist if you suffer from headaches but haven’t had your
jaw evaluated as the culprit!
Uneven wear on crooked teeth can cause tooth sensitivity. When certain teeth are worn down
more than the others, this can lead to exposed dentin, the softer tissue beneath tooth enamel.
Once dentin is exposed, temperature can travel to the nerves at the center of your tooth,
leading to painful tooth sensitivity that can make eating or drinking hot or cold foods
unpleasant at best and excruciating at worst.
Misaligned teeth might not be as easy to spot as you think. For many people, straight teeth
could still mean a misaligned bite. Getting a comprehensive exam with your professional
dentist can tell you if your teeth are misaligned and could be causing dental health problems
you’re not yet aware of!