Ideally, teeth should fit in your mouth. Your upper jaw should rest on the lower jaw while leaving no gaps or overcrowding in between the teeth.
Why are your teeth out of alignment?
Your jaw size and the size of your teeth matter when it comes to malaligned teeth. A larger jaw size and relatively small tooth size will result in more spacing between your teeth from childhood. Similarly a smaller jaw size and larger tooth size can result in crowding of teeth. Since there is no space the tooth will try to accomodate itself anyhow. This will result in a situation where you would need orthodontic treatment (braces or clear aligners) to get your teeth into proper alignment.
Genetics play a role in deciding the size of your jaw and tooth. Parents with malaligned teeth are more likely to pass on the same tooth characteristics to their children.
Are your teeth aligned in a haphazard manner?
There are 3 types of malocclusion-
Class I – overcrowding/spacing between your teeth
Class II- Overbite, making your upper jaw look big.
Class III- Underbite, making your lower jaw prominent.
Depending on the severity of malocclusion you could opt for metal braces , ceramic braces, braces on the inside or even clear aligners.
Causes of malaligned teeth
Habits: Thumb sucking, lip sucking, and tongue thrusting are very common conditions seen in kids and many adults. When this habit is not arrested at the right time, it can cause proclination of teeth( cause the upper front teeth to be pushed forward and out). Prolonged use of feeding bottles or pacifiers in early childhood too contributes in disturbance of occlusion.
Genetics: Heredity is a possibly inevitable cause leading to malocclusion.
Aging: Just as the process of aging impacts our body, many factors like physical force alters the alignment of our teeth.
Dental diseases: Diseases of gums and bones can cause teeth to move and change their position in the oral cavity.
Missing tooth: Other teeth try to fill up the gap of missing tooth and thus leads to supra eruption and misaligned teeth.
When do you need an orthodontic treatment?
When your teeth are out of alignment. That is if you feel you have spacing between your teeth, or teeth that are either front or behind
Upper front teeth pushed outwards or inwards
Difficulty in chewing your food
Frequent biting of tongue or lip
Abnormal jaw alignment
Why get braces when looks don’t matter?
Severe crowding of teeth can cause more food and plaque to accumulate over the tooth surface. Maintaining a good oral hygiene and brushing properly can be challenging due to this. Problems like food getting stuck between your teeth can be a result of spacing between two teeth. All this can enhance the risk of gum diseases and dental caries. Aligning your teeth with the help of braces or ortho treatments can not only change your facial appearance but prevent you from further problems like
- Pain in the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ or jaw joint)
- More plaque and calculus
- accumulation between teeth further leading to gum diseases
- Wearing out of teeth enamel which further prevents tooth sensitivity
Treatment for malaligned teeth
- Replacement of missing tooth by a fixed or removable prosthesis.
- Removal of teeth which cannot be saved and replacing it later.
- Surgery of jaws to correct improper jaw size/posture.
- Orthodontic treatment which includes braces and wires.
- Intentional root canal treatment followed by the cap.
Prevention of malaligned teeth
It is tricky to prevent malocclusion because in some cases it is hereditary. But we can prevent by implementing simple measures like limiting the use of milk bottle, pacifier or prohibit the kids from thumb-sucking and other oral habits.
Consult dentist biannually once primary teeth have erupted to foresee potential malocclusion and get them diagnosed at an early stage.
- Malaligned teeth is a result of jaw size and tooth size discrepancies.
- Apart from genetics, habits like thumb sucking, lip sucking and tongue thrusting could cause your teeth to go out of alignment.
- The right time to get a braces treatment is between 12-18 years of age . Adults can opt for braces treatment too.
- Malaligned teeth not only hampers aesthetics but also causes speech problems.