Know the basics
1. What are crooked teeth?
There are several reasons why some people experience crooked teeth, as well as overlapping teeth, or twisted teeth. Some people’s mouths are too small for their teeth, which crowds the teeth and causes them to shift.
In other cases, a person’s upper and lower jaws aren’t the same size or are malformed, resulting in either an overbite, when there is excessive protrusion of the upper jaw, or an underbite, when the lower jaw protrudes forward causing the lower jaw and teeth to extend out beyond the upper teeth.
Moreover, crooked teeth can:
- Interfere with proper chewing.
- Make keeping teeth clean more of a challenge, increasing the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis.
- Strain the teeth, jaws, and muscles, increasing the risk of breaking a tooth.
- Make people feel self-conscious about their appearance and affect their self-esteem.
The teeth won’t be able to perform vital functions if they’re misaligned. Learn more about this issue and how it may be treated, to protect your overall oral and digestive health.
Generally, crooked teeth are a fairly common problem. However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Depending on the classification of crooked teeth, the symptoms of the disorder may be subtle or severe. Typical symptoms of it include:
- Improper alignment of the teeth
- Alteration in the appearance of the face
- Frequent biting of the inner cheeks or tongue
- Discomfort when chewing or biting
- Speech problems, including the development of a lisp
- Breathing through the mouth rather than the nose
Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent crooked teeth from worsening, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this condition.
Diagnosis & Treatments
1. How is crooked teeth diagnosed?
Crooked teeth are typically diagnosed through routine dental exams. First, your dentist will examine your teeth and may perform dental X-rays to determine if your teeth are properly aligned. If the X-rays suggest crooked teeth, the dentist will classify it according to its type and severity.
Generally, there are three major classes of crooked teeth:
The 1st class of crooked teeth is diagnosed when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth. In this type of crooked teeth, the bite is normal and the overlap is slight. Class 1 crooked teeth is the most common classification of crooked teeth.
This class of crooked teeth is diagnosed when a severe overbite is present. This condition, known as retrognathism (or retrognathia), means that the upper teeth and jaw significantly overlap the lower jaw and teeth.
Class 3 crooked teeth is also diagnosed when there’s a severe underbite. This condition, also known as prognathism, means that the lower jaw protrudes forward. This causes the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth and jaw.
2. How is crooked teeth treated?
In general, most people with mild crooked teeth will not require any treatment. However, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist if your crooked teeth are severe.
Depending on your type of crooked teeth, your orthodontist may recommend various treatments. These can include:
- Braces to correct the position of the teeth
- Removal of teeth to correct overcrowding
- Reshaping, bonding, or capping of teeth
- Surgery to reshape or shorten the jaw
- Wires or plates to stabilize the jaw bone
Treatment for the disorder may also result in some complications. These include:
- Tooth decay
- Pain or discomfort
- Irritation of the mouth from the use of appliances, such as braces
- Difficulty chewing or speaking during treatment
In general, crooked teeth are a genetic condition, which means it can be passed down from one generation to the next.
Furthermore, there are some conditions or habits that may change the shape and structure of the jaw. These include:
- Cleft lip and palate
- Frequent use of a pacifier after the age of 3
- Prolonged use of bottle feeding in early childhood
- Thumb sucking in early childhood
- Injuries that result in the misalignment of the jaw
- Tumors in the mouth or jaw
- Abnormally shaped or impacted teeth
- Poor dental care that results in improperly fitting dental fillings, crowns, or braces
- Airway obstruction (mouth breathing), potentially caused by allergies or by enlarged adenoids or tonsils
2. Risk factors
The risk factors of this condition are still unknown, and many scientists believe that the patient inherits the gene from their parents.
Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.
GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Crooked teeth. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/crooked-teeth-misaligned-bites#1. Accessed 19 Feb, 2017.
Crooked teeth. http://www.healthline.com/health/malocclusion-of-teeth#Overview1. Accessed 19 Feb, 2017.
Crooked teeth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malocclusion. Accessed 19 Feb, 2017.