The majority of people have at least some slight imperfections in their teeth, especially when it comes to crooked teeth. Crooked teeth have become increasingly common as our jaws have become smaller over thousands of years, meaning we don’t have enough room for all 32 of our teeth. For many people, these means crowded teeth that can protrude and affect oral wellness in addition to self-confidence.
Besides our smaller jaws, there are other reasons why teeth would become crooked. Thumb-sucking or pacifier use past the recommended age can affect tooth and jaw development in children. Children of parents who had crooked teeth may also be more likely to have them.
Tongue thrusting, in which the tongue pushes against the front teeth when swallowing, speaking, or when the jaw is at rest can also contribute to crooked teeth. No matter the cause, many people seek treatment to get their imperfect teeth fixed. But what happens if you don’t fix crooked teeth—are there consequences? Keep reading to find out!
Cleaning Your Teeth Can Be Difficult
One of the biggest challenges people with crooked teeth face is properly cleaning their teeth. Due to the position of the crooked teeth, it can be difficult if not impossible to clean between teeth with brushing and flossing. The result? Accumulation of plaque, which can increase your risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
While visiting your dentist in Asheville regularly for cleanings can certainly help keep your teeth clean, people go to the dentist every six months on average. This means between your cleanings, plaque is still left to build up between your teeth in places you can’t reach. You may need to go in more often for cleanings or consider treatment to make your teeth easier to keep clean and reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease with crooked teeth!
Teeth May Wear Unevenly
For some people with crooked teeth, their upper and lower rows of teeth don’t fit together properly. When teeth aren’t aligned like they should be, some teeth can experience uneven wear, or have more stress placed on them than other teeth as a result of their location in the mouth.
This misalignment and excessive wear can result in chipped or fractured teeth in addition to tooth enamel damage. Once tooth enamel is worn away, it can’t grow back. Without the protective layer of tooth enamel, your teeth are more at risk to experience sensitivity, and some teeth may eventually appear shorter than others, requiring treatment such as veneers or dental crowns to fix.
You May Have Trouble Chewing
Everyone’s smile is different, but some people with crooked teeth can have trouble chewing, especially if the position of the teeth gets worse over time. If your crooked teeth protrude or you have crooked teeth in addition to a misaligned jaw, chewing could be an issue. Proper chewing is essential for your digestion, so fixing crooked teeth may be necessary when you have trouble chewing.
People with crooked teeth may also be more at risk to experience temporomandibular disorders, which happen when the joints that help your jaw move cause discomfort. People with TMJ disorders may have trouble chewing and speaking on account of their jaw discomfort, so getting an exam with your Asheville dentist can help you determine if crooked teeth are the reason for your oral health issues!
Shifting Can Become a Problem
In addition to having abnormal tooth enamel wear as the result of crooked teeth, your teeth may also shift faster. It’s natural for teeth to shift somewhat over time in a process called mesial drift—this is what happens when you have a tooth removed and the neighboring teeth shift into its place over time.
However, with crooked teeth, the abnormal pressure on teeth can cause them to shift faster and into more painful positions. Not only will cleaning be more difficult, but you may have uncomfortable shifting teeth as well.
Pronouncing Certain Words May Be Challenging
Depending on the location of your crooked teeth, you may have challenges with your speech. For some people, their crowded teeth can get in the way of saying certain words with ease. Or, people could have a slight whistle or lisp when they talk as the result of extra air passing through the teeth.
The good news is that correcting crooked teeth can typically alleviate any speech problems caused by the misalignment!
Teeth May Be Weaker
When teeth aren’t in the right place, or stick out awkwardly, they may be more subject to experience damage over time, such as a tooth fracture or damage from an accident. These teeth are also harder to clean, so if you have a cavity as the result of not being able to clean your teeth properly, the decay can weaken the tooth and increase your risk for a break or chip in the tooth.
Is It Worth It to Fix Crooked Teeth?
For some people, slightly crooked teeth won’t bother them, and they won’t pose much of an issue with cleaning, speaking, chewing, or anything else. For others, severely crooked teeth can impact their quality of life as well as their self-confidence. Even if crooked teeth aren’t affecting your dental health but are impacting your self-confidence, it’s worth it to look into fixing them!
Deciding whether or not to fix crooked teeth is a personal choice. The good news is you have treatment options when it comes to your crooked teeth. Gone are the days when metal braces were the only way to get beautiful, straight teeth. With clear aligners, ceramic braces, and even lingual braces (which are placed on the backsides of your teeth!), you have many options for getting a straighter smile.
At Saunders DDS, we can help you take the best care of teeth and support you should you want to fix your crooked teeth by recommending you to an experienced orthodontist. By working together, you can have a beautiful smile that’s easy to take care of and makes you feel good every time you look in the mirror!
Get in touch with us today by calling us at (828) 277-6060 or making an appointment through our contact form!