In the past, if you needed braces, you could count on wearing the heavy metal contraptions for years, and it was the only option to fix crooked teeth. Today we have lots of ways to straighten your teeth, even as an adult.
Living with crooked teeth is embarrassing and means you’ll likely smile less for fear of exposure.
But that’s not all — If you don’t fix your crooked teeth, you risk cavities and gum disease, as well as other health issues.
Not to mention the misalignment or, malocclusion of teeth makes chewing difficult and throws off the jaw’s alignment.
When teeth are even and positioned perfectly, called occlusion, the upper and lower molars connect when we bite down; the points of one fit into the crevices of the other. Likewise, our upper teeth fit over our lower teeth, just enough to keep us from biting our cheek and tongue.
Blame It on Genetics
As it turns out, genetics cause many of the problems in the alignment of one’s teeth. At times an inherited malocclusion results in an overbite or underbite, overcrowding, and even upper and lower jaws that don’t match. If a patient’s palate is too small, more than likely genetics is the culprit.
But wait there’s more!
Outside factors influence the misalignment of our teeth
Many children suck their thumbs, use a pacifier, or drink from a bottle. While these behaviors are fine for infants, children shouldn’t continue after the age of three.
This makes all the difference
The first baby or primary tooth erupts (breaks through the gums), at around six months. Though every child is different, by the time they’re three, they’ll have 20 primary teeth including central incisors (their front teeth), lateral incisors, canine teeth, and their first and second molars.
These primary teeth are flexible. So you can see how the continuous action of sucking on a pacifier, thumb, or bottle could easily move them out of position over time.
As if that’s not enough — All kinds of things can throw our bite out of balance. Losing a tooth, crowns or fillings that aren’t properly seated, even an accident such as getting hit when playing sports causes trauma to the jaw and disrupts our teeth’s alignment.
Get Your Options Straight
Some teeth are more comfortable to set straight than others. In the long run, it matters if it’s our molars that need straightening or incisors that need a little room.
There is some good news — These days there are lots of different methods and many ways to fix crooked teeth from Orthodontics to cosmetic dentistry.
Banding to fix crooked teeth
Wrapping the tooth in a metal band and securing the tooth with dental adhesive straightens crooked teeth by force. The apparatus handles the pressure of holding the molars in position while they straighten and align.
Beforehand, the dentist installs separators to create enough space between teeth to accommodate the installation of the heavy metal. The separators stay in for approximately a week, then the dentist attaches the band.
This procedure comes with a few challenges such as dental caries, a.k.a. tooth decay, because the bands make it nearly impossible to clean that area of the tooth. Banding also potentially causes damage to other teeth, as well as making the gums susceptible to gum disease.
Decay and gum disease are two good reasons for using quicker methods to fix crooked teeth. Some accelerated methods use bands; however, there’s a limited time that the metal stays on the tooth which means banding has less of a chance to cause damage.
Today, accelerated methods reduce the time it takes to straighten teeth. Depending on the location of the crooked teeth, and the procedures used to set them straight, the time it takes to see improvement varies from two years to as little as three months.
Though it’s an accelerated method, the Orthodontic version, known as AOO takes several steps to complete, sometimes the Orthodontist removes tissue to make room for the teeth to move. Then they allow about a week for the teeth to settle before the procedure.
Next, the Orthodontist places the metal brackets. This metal differs from banding in that it’s a square piece that’s attached to the surface of the tooth, as opposed to wrapping around the tooth. A thin metal band runs horizontally across the brackets.
Then comes the surgery
Once the area has time to heel, roughly a week later, the Orthodontist makes an incision in the gum, or gingiva, and performs a bone graft to weaken the bone so the teeth will move more easily.
There are antibiotics added to the graft to ward off infection.
As the bone remineralizes, the bands are tightened and adjusted to keep the teeth straight. Since the graft is used to expedite the procedure, the process happens quicker than with regular braces. What this means for the patient is more visits in a shorter period to keep up with the band adjustments.
Braces don’t have to show
Typically, we think of braces as a dental apparatus placed on the front of teeth. As it turns out, there are times when connecting braces to the back of the teeth is an option to fix crooked teeth.
The most appealing thing about these braces is that people don’t see them when you smile. So, might decide you want lingual braces because of their cosmetic value.
But that’s only part of the story — Wearing lingual braces presents its challenges. Think about how difficult it is to clean the back of your teeth if they’re crooked, then add the extra burden of dental hardware. Another thing that probably won’t cross your mind is how having braces behind your teeth affects your tongue and the way it works.
You’ll need to practice both eating and talking with this new equipment if you choose to use lingual braces.
Sometimes you need a little evening out
Enamelplasty doesn’t require surgery or an Orthodontist. Instead, the dentist files the teeth to make them even.
As a cosmetic procedure, Enamelplasty doesn’t usually add much value to your dental health. Although, in some cases filing an overlapping tooth helps cut down on potential dental caries.
You’re welcome to request an appointment with the best dentist at Your Caring Dentist Group to find out your options to fix crooked teeth.
Technology makes dentistry faster and less invasive
If purposely softening your jawbone with a surgical procedure makes you feel queasy, you’re not alone. That’s precisely why technology is a popular option.
AcceleDent is a personal orthodontics device that speeds up the effect of braces without the discomfort.
Imagine straightening your teeth in less time without the need for invasive surgery. Even better, using AcceleDent for 20 minutes a day means you’ll cut down on office visits.
We know teeth move and AcceleDent moves them purposefully as it applies pressure to the teeth in a procedure termed bone remodeling. The device uses calibrated vibrations called “micropulses” to do much the same thing that the surgery and bone graft do in AOO.
Like the graft, the vibrations instigate a response in the bone, which allows the teeth to move and reposition quicker.
What to expect from an Invisalign treatment
At Your Caring Dentist Group, we offer Invisalign as a non-invasive way to fix crooked teeth. You’ll start with a consultation in which the dentist takes impressions of your teeth to study your bite and how your teeth align.
Next, the dentist suggests a treatment plan and sends that along with the impressions to Invisalign. Once the company receives the package from your dentist, Invisalign sets up a series of 3-D models to illustrate how your teeth will straighten over time.
One of the best things about Invisalign is the opportunity to look at the treatment plan with a visual that shows you what to expect. The dentist starts by sharing the model of your teeth before the procedure.
Invisalign uses the pressure of pushing teeth to straighten them. Once the patient is comfortable with the aligners, the dentist adds tooth-colored composites that attach to the teeth. Much like brackets, the attachments sit on the surface, and the aligners push against them to straighten the teeth.
Once the dentist adds the composites, the aligner fits tighter and is harder to remove. So it’s essential for you to be used to your Invisalign before you get to this stage. This is also when the teeth start to feel sore.
Sometimes a refinement is necessary depending on how crooked your teeth were at the start. All in all, if you’re a candidate for Invisalign, the process is faster and less painful than traditional braces.
Other considerations when you want to fix crooked teeth
If you can’t fix your crooked teeth right away, then getting into the dentist for a cleaning is vital. You can also add a tooth sealant for protection. Good oral hygiene is still the most important thing when you’re caring for your teeth.
Get Straightened Out
With all the options to fix crooked teeth, you’re probably ready to get started. We encourage you to set up an appointment to find out if Invisalign is right for you. Alternatively, you’ll have an opportunity to explore all the options based on your unique circumstances.
We always look forward to hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, question, or suggestion and we’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.