Everybody’s set of teeth looks slightly different and is unique to the person. This difference is more noticeable in people who have misaligned teeth or jaws. Sometimes only one single tooth is affected, and sometimes several teeth or the position of the jawbones is involved. Misaligned tooth causing malocclusion is the third most common oral health problems, secondarily to dental caries and periodontal disease and therefore ranks third among worldwide public health dental disease priorities.
What are the causes of misaligned teeth?
There are several causes of misaligned teeth: These causes include:
- Size mismatch between jaw and teeth: The most common cause of misaligned teeth is when the jaw is too small compared to the size of the teeth. A slight size mismatch causes teeth to be too crowded and thus misaligned
- Habitual thumb-sucking: People, especially toddlers who habitually suck their thumb are prone to having misaligned or crooked teeth. The pressure from the thumb consistently applied to the still-growing gums causes the teeth to grow in crooked, especially outwards.
- Tongue Thrusting – Tongue thrusting has the same effect on the teeth as thumb sucking. It can result in misaligned bites, especially an overbite, that is a protruding upper teeth.
- Genetics – Children often get crooked teeth from their parents. If this problem runs down in the family, the children are likely to have crooked permanent teeth too despite following good oral care habits.
- Lost teeth: A lost permanent tooth creates a gap that nearby teeth may shift into, causing misalignment unless a dentist places a bridge, implant, or partial denture in the gap.
- Certain birth defects of the jaw and fractures of the jaw can also cause tooth misalignment.
What are the effects of misaligned teeth?
Depending on type of misalignment and how severe it is, misaligned teeth or jaws can lead to a wide range of different problems.
Severe misalignments can affect things like eating, drinking and speaking, or cause breathing problems. Sometimes teeth dig into the lips or the gums opposite when the mouth is closed which can be painful. The affected teeth may become wobbly, tooth decay may develop, and the teeth may be more prone to damage if an accident occurs. After a while the joints of the jaw might start hurting and the jaw muscles may tighten.
Severe teeth misalignment can lead to gum disease or periodontitis, which increases the risk of heart disease. The Infected bone below the gum line can cause a bacterial infection which can spread to the tissues of the heart, which can affect the valves in the heart.
Misaligned teeth and jaws can also affect the mental health of an individual, particularly in children and teenagers who are teased as a result. A lot of people who have crooked teeth or an uneven bite feel less attractive or less confident, particularly if it affects their speech and they might then avoid contact with others. But the psychological effects depend on both how severe the misalignment is, and how the individual perceives and deal with it.
How do you treat misaligned teeth?
The good news is that misaligned teeth can be corrected by the dentist. There are several options but the two best options are:
Use of Braces: Braces are a type of an orthodontic appliance made up of brackets, bands, and wires. They apply constant pressure on the jaw over an extended period, which makes it adapt to the pressure in a certain direction, causing it to move into the desired position. There are three types of braces available including metal braces, ceramic braces, and lingual braces.
Invisalign – Invisalign is invisible type of braces. The treatment includes clear or transparent trays that are custom-created to fit over the teeth set.
Severe cases may need dental surgery, or a combination of dental surgery and braces.
Broken or severely decayed or damaged tooth can be managed with Dental Crowns and Dental Veneers whichinvolve placing crowns or veneers over the teeth to restore natural appearance and function of the teeth.
What is Invisalign and how is it used?
Invisalign is a more recent treatment dental device orthodontic used for patients with overbite, crossbite, or underbite.
It uses clear aligners developed from computer-generated images and impressions taken from the mouth by the dentist and their team to change the position of the teeth. While the traditional brace makes use of fixed wires to “pull” the teeth into alignment, Invisalign aligns the teeth by using a series of molds that, across a series of months, force the teeth into their new and improved position. The molds have to be worn for at least 20 hours a day. The molds are easily removed, allowing patients to maintain their oral health and wellness, flossing and brushing as they normally would without having to worry about brackets and wires that can make it complicated. This option is fast becoming popular and currently, over 12 million people , including more than 1.4 million teens, have used Invisalign clear aligners to transform their smiles.
Advantages of Invisalign
Invisalign has many advantages. They are:
- Healthier Gums as dental hygiene is easier with this product.
- Virtually invisible and a person can smile without the socially awkward wires associated with traditional braces.
- Removable: it uses removable trays instead of brackets glued to the teeth and connected with wires, so the patients can maintain their oral health and wellness with brushing and flossing.
- Easier to clean when removed.
- Decreased risk of abnormal wear since precise digital imaging is used to create the molds
- It corrects tooth misalignment discreetly
- Less dental visits compared to traditional wire braces,
Can I get invisalign with missing teeth?
Having a missing tooth and needing invisalign can be very confusing and some people wrongly think they cannot use invisalign when they have missing tooth. The opposite is the case and a person with missing tooth can still get invisalign. The crooked or gapped teeth should be corrected with invisalign before tooth replacement. Orthodontic treatments, like Invisalign, are generally recommended before restorative dental work to move neighboring teeth back into the proper position and provide enough room for a crown, bridge, partial denture, or dental implant.
In some cases, like missing tooth due to gum disease, it is likely the gum and bone tissue around the teeth will not be healthy. The teeth require time to rebuild themselves so they don’t move and in order for Invisalign treatment to be successful, gums and teeth need to be as healthy as possible. In such cases, it is important to treat the infection first before invisalign is used.
If you need Invisalign and have a missing tooth, there is good news, you can book an appointment with your dentist and get your Invisalign, while you can take your time to replace your teeth.