Human bodies come in all shapes and sizes. That applies to teeth and jaws as much as it does to anything else. Some people are born with smaller jaws but develop more prominent teeth. This can result in crowded teeth, and it is more common than you might think.
In fact, at least 30 percent of people have this condition. In most cases, it is mild, but it can still cause problems. Crowded teeth are often dealt with in the teenage years, but it is never too late to do something about them.
Even Mildy Crowded Teeth Can Lead to Problems
You might think mild crowding is no big deal, and you might be right. Each person’s case is unique. In general, however, even mild overcrowding can cause problems or place you at higher risk of developing dental issues of the following kinds:
- Teeth that are difficult to clean – when teeth are crowded and overlapping, it can be difficult and uncomfortable trying to clean them thoroughly with a toothbrush and floss. We are only human and are likely to just not bother, only cleaning the parts we can get to. That puts us at an increased risk of developing cavities and gum disease.
- Low self-confidence – crowded teeth are noticeable, and it is easy to get self-conscious about it. That results in a reluctance to smile or open your mouth. The trouble is, this can make you appear evasive, creating a vicious circle.
- Difficulty chewing – crowding can lead to misalignment, and that can cause problems chewing and discomfort or clicking in the jaw when you do so.
- Speech impediments – if you have always had difficulty pronouncing words with “s” and “sh” sounds in them, it could be due to crowded teeth.
- Premature wear – crowded teeth work less efficiently. Over time, this means an increased likelihood of tooth loss, gum disease and damage to the jaw joint.
How We Treat Crowded Teeth
There are different treatment options for crowded teeth, and the right one for you depends on the nature and severity of the crowding, as well as your age and your personal preferences.
Traditional braces are not just for teenagers and can also be used on adults to correct crowded teeth. They represent a proven solution that has been in use for decades.
Invisalign is an invisible brace system. It’s a 21st-century solution, first appearing on the market in 2000. People like it because it is faster acting and less noticeable than traditional braces.
Some people use dental crowns to fix crowded teeth. This involves removing much of the oversized tooth structure and fitting smaller crowns that are correctly aligned. We would not usually recommend this when there are alternative methods that do not involve removing healthy tooth structure.
You might also hear about people using veneers to treat crowded teeth. This could be worth considering in mild cases. However, keep in mind that it is only a cosmetic solution and does not address the underlying problems and risks that we talked about earlier.
Common Questions in Relation to Crowded Teeth
Almost certainly not! There is no upper age limit on corrective orthodontic work. The advent of Invisalign has resulted in more people who might have felt self-conscious with traditional braces deciding to do something about their crowded teeth in later years.
Usually, the cause of crowded teeth is genetic. The jaw is just too small to support all the teeth, meaning they compete for space and grow in at unnatural angles. Sometimes, people grow extra adult teeth, which can also cause crowding.
Depends on the severity of the case. It can range anywhere from $4000 – $12000.
This depends on your personal circumstances. For example, if you were born with extra teeth, it might be necessary to extract them to create space for the other teeth to be moved into the correct alignment. We will always discuss the options with you, and the final decision is yours.
Having braces or Invisalign aligners fitted will feel strange at first and cause discomfort until you are accustomed to them. But there should be no real pain – if there is, consult your dentist immediately so the cause can be addressed.
Crowding can get worse over time. Even if you had orthodontic treatment in childhood, your teeth might shift later in life.