“Malocclusion” is the term dentists and orthodontists use to describe a misaligned bite. When teeth are crooked, crowded, gapped, or the jaws don’t line up properly, the condition is called a malocclusion.
Crooked teeth are one of the most common malocclusions that braces can fix. But depending on the severity of your tooth alignment and rotation, you may be wondering if traditional braces can fix your crooked teeth.
Using Braces to Fix Crowding | Crowded Teeth
Crooked teeth are not necessarily crowded teeth. Crowding occurs when there’s a lack of space or the teeth have been displaced. For instance, you may have a smaller jaw from your mother and larger teeth from your father. Without appropriate space, the teeth are likely to crowd together and appear crooked. Maybe some are tilted inward toward the tongue, while others splay outward toward the lips and cheeks.
Braces can correct some types of crowding, but not all of them. Intercepting oral development at a young age — with therapies like palatal expanders or phase I orthodontics — can minimize the risk of crowding in the future. For adults with severe crowding, elective tooth removal may be the only solution to create space to straighten teeth with braces.
Braces for Tilted or Leaning Teeth
Any time you lose a tooth, the ones around it will eventually start to tilt, lean, or drift out of place. You can think of it like books on a bookshelf, after one is removed. If you’re planning to replace the missing tooth with a bridge or dental implant, braces can straighten leaning teeth to create room for your fixed restoration.
How Braces Straighten Crooked Teeth
Conventional braces use a thin archwire that span the length of your bite. The archwire maintains a stable “U” shape. As it’s held into place within the orthodontic brackets, the gentle pressure or tension that’s applied will help to guide each applicable tooth into the desired direction. Our Sussex orthodontic providers will place the brackets in a way that facilitates the appropriate movement. Various elastics or archwire changes over the coming months continue the straightening process as your bite responds to the mild pressure.
Do I Qualify for Orthodontic Treatment?
You’re never too old to enjoy a straight smile. Investing in Sussex County braces can improve the function and appearance of your bite. Plus, by straightening your teeth, you can lower your risk of common dental problems like:
- Premature tooth wear
- Fractured/broken dental restorations
- Gum recession
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease
The first step in determining whether you qualify for braces is to reserve a consultation. During your exam, our Sussex County dentists will evaluate your bite to determine the severity of your malocclusion and estimate the treatment time involved. From there, you’ll get an estimate on insurance coverage and costs involved. That way you can have all of the information you need before investing in braces for crooked teeth.
Learn more about our adult, teen, and children’s braces. Contact Southern Delaware Dental Specialists today to reserve an exam.