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Crooked Teeth

A guide to crooked teeth

Unfortunately, not everyone is born with a straight and attractive smile that they can show off with confidence, with most patients having some kind of alignment issues regarding their pearly whites.

There are a number of reasons why some people’s teeth grow in a crooked, twisted or overlapping manner.

Some individuals have mouths that are too small, causing the area to become overcrowded, while others have malformed upper and lower jaws that are not the same size – resulting in either an overbite or underbite.

In the majority of cases, these problems are inherited traits – similar to the colour of eyes or the size of hands – but can sometimes emerge as a result of early loss of baby or adult teeth, poorly-fitted dental restorations, gum disease or an injury.

What problems can this issue cause?

Members of the public who put up with misalignment issues for a long period of time may find they experience a number of issues, including:

  • Problems chewing food properly
  • Difficulty keeping pearly whites clean, with an added risk of tooth decay, cavities and gingivitis
  • Added strain on teeth, jaws and facial muscles that can increase the risk of losing a tooth
  • Lower self-esteem due to an unattractive appearance

How can I tell if my smile is misaligned?

There are a number of signs an individual can look out for to identify whether or not their smile is misaligned, such as:

  • Unusual or abnormal appearance of the face
  • Difficulty or discomfort when biting or chewing
  • Speech issues, including the emergence of a lisp

A dental professional will usually refer patients displaying any of these symptoms to a specialist who has experience in the diagnosis and treatment of crooked pearly whites and misaligned jaws.

What tests will be carried out?

Most instances will see an orthodontist will take a series of X-rays and photographs of the face, as well as teeth impressions to determine the type of treatment that is needed.

In addition, the professional could take regular pictures of the head to examine the relationship between the teeth and jaws, while impressions may be created, which involves the patient biting down on a soft material that is later used to create an exact copy of the pearly whites.

What are the solutions?

Teeth straightening can be achieved with a variety of cosmetic dental techniques, which are a far cry from the traditional methods that some adults may have shied away from due to their unsightly appearance.

Fixed orthodontic braces:

This course of action is usually associated with young children and involves the attachment of metal wires to the front surfaces of the pearly whites with the use of brackets.

Over time, a dental professional will tighten the fixtures to apply gentle pressure to the teeth and encourage them to move into a straighter position.

Depending on how much adjustment is required, the overall process can take up to two years to carry out, while developments in the world of orthodontics have resulted in the introduction of smaller, tooth-coloured ceramic brackets and friction-free braces that are more comfortable to wear.

Invisalign:

This system is intended to achieve the perfect teeth-straightening results without the need for visible wires, which are often avoided by older individuals who are afraid of the stigma attached to wearing braces.

During this process, a series of clear aligners are custom-designed and attached to the pearly whites to move them to their desired location.

The removable fixtures are changed every two weeks to guide the teeth throughout the treatment time, while individuals are able to remove them during eating and brushing – which is among the reasons this course of action is a hugely popular solution.

Lingual braces:

Similar to standard wire braces, this system is fitted to the back surfaces of the pearly whites and is not visible from the front. Although they can be quite uncomfortable and difficult to get used to, the fixtures provide an effective solution to perfecting the smile in a discreet manner.

Unlike invisible methods, this course of action can be used to correct severe orthodontic cases.

Inman Aligner:

This is a cross between the invisible and metal systems, as it relies heavily on a removable aligner that shifts the pearly whites by applying force to them over time.

Six-month smile:

Using this orthodontic treatment, a dental professional will focus on moving the pearly whites that can be seen during a smile, rather than the other areas. Special nickel wires are utilised to relocate the teeth into a desired position and can be completed in as little as six months.

Damon braces:

This “friction-free” alternative to traditional methods does not have any elastic ties to cause less irritation to the gum tissue and provide a more comfortable solution, as well as faster tooth-straightening results than conventional techniques.

Porcelain veneers:

While this course of action does not actually straighten the pearly whites, individuals who receive porcelain veneers are able to enjoy a perfectly straight and white smile that will last for many years.

Provided that patient’s teeth are not severely misaligned, this method can be placed over the front surfaces to make them appear straight in a single visit and could allow members of the public to enjoy an improved quality of life.

Another benefit of porcelain veneers is that they can also improve the colour and shape of the teeth, as the natural structure is removed to create the ideal surface for the attachment to fix to.

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