What causes misalignment of teeth?
Crowded teeth, misaligned teeth, Cross bite, Overbite; under bite, open bite.
Malocclusion means the teeth are not aligned properly. Occlusion means that the arrangement of teeth and the way that upper tooth and lower tooth fit in each other (bite). Malocclusion is very common reason for visiting an orthodontist.
Few main causes are:
Thumb Sucking Habit:
Children who suck their thumb for several years often end up having crooked teeth. The pressure from thumb consistently applying to the still-growing gums causes the teeth to grow in crooked form, especially outwards. The problem of crooked teeth is most likely if the habit continues until toddler age.
Tongue thrust appears when the tongue presses forward too far in the mouth, resulting in an abnormal orthodontic condition called an “open bite.” The condition is most common in children. It has a myriad of causes, including: poor swallowing habits.
Misaligned teeth or maloccluded teeth is caused when the size of the upper or the lower jaw is smaller than usual. Misaligned jaws result in problems like overbite and under bite. In an overbite, the upper set of teeth protrude over the lower teeth, and in an underbite, the lower set of teeth protrude over the upper teeth.
Children often get crooked teeth from their parents. If the crooked teeth problem runs down in the family, the children are likely to have crooked permanent teeth too despite following good oral care habits.
Facial Injury :
Facial trauma, like jaw injury in childhood, can result in displaced teeth or misaligned bites. The reason for this being the shifting of jaw slightly from its original position, which cause the teeth to grow in a crooked form. Facial injuries may also result in tooth loss. And when there is an open space in jaw, the rest of the teeth tend to shift so that it covers that space.
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Other probable causes include:
- Abnormal shaped or impacted teeth
- Cleft lip and palate
- Prolonged use of a pacifier or feeding bottle in childhood
- Breathing through mouth in childhood
- Improper dental restorative procedures in childhood
- Early loss of milk teeth
Can misaligned teeth cause problems and why should it be fixed?
- Gum Disease– Oral care in the case of crowded or crooked teeth is naturally quite hard. Over the period of time, poor oral health or dental health results in bad breath, plaque, tooth decay, and eventually, gum disease.
- Inability to brush every surface
- Difficulty while flossing
- Unnecessary stress on back teeth
- Hitting your back teeth improperly when chewing
- Wear and Tear– Misaligned teeth are more prone to be worn and torn. But the problem does not stop at the wear and tear. In most cases, excessive wear and tear lead to TMJ disorder or Temporomandibular Jaw disorder in which the patient experience extreme pain or even locking of the jaw bone on movement of Jaw.
- Difficulty in Chewing– Crooked or crowded teeth makes chewing difficult, which leads to digestion problems.
- Speech Difficulty– Speech difficulties, such as problem pronouncing a few words, is the most common effect of crooked teeth.
- Low Self Esteem– People with crooked teeth or misaligned teeth face the issue of low self-esteem; after all, our smile reflects our personality. Alongside, poor oral health can result in stained teeth that looks unappealing and make people feel embarrassed.
Treatment Options Available for Misaligned Teeth?
Misalignment of teeth, whether hereditary or caused by external factors is not permanent. There are various methods and treatments that one can undergo to align the teeth and prevent further damage in future to their oral health.
Some of the common treatment for misaligned teeth includes:
1. Metal Braces
One of the most common and oldest treatments for misaligned teeth is the use of metal braces to straighten the teeth. These are small metal brackets that are attached to the teeth with the help of dental adhesives, and an orthodontic wire is used to tighten the brackets together to put pressure on the teeth. Metal braces gives a good result of severely misaligned teeth.
2. Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces are just like metal braces. The only difference is that instead of a metal bracket, ceramic or clear brackets are used to make it less noticeable. Some dentists even use teeth coloured wire.
Invisalign is also known as clear aligners. These are transparent trays that are custom-made for every patient. These aligners can be removed by the user whenever they want. Since these aligners are clear, they don’t get noticed. To keep these aligners transparent, the user needs to take them off during meals and while brushing. Although they can be removed at will, dentists recommend that they are worn for 22 hours in a day.
Also, Invisalign is not a good choice for major misalignments.
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How long does it take to treat?
Your dentist may recommend that you see a specialist, called an orthodontist. Your mouth, teeth, and jaw will be examined and your bite assessed.
Your orthodontist would need to know about your symptoms, including any popping or clicking sounds that you hear whenever open or close your mouth, and any physical discomfort you feel while chewing or at other times.
X-rays of your mouth will be taken, and an impression of your teeth will be made.
The treatment duration will be different for each type of treatment and every patient. Typically, orthodontic treatments take from about six months to three years, depending on an individual case and severity of the malocclusion.
Once the braces are removed, you also may need to wear a retainer to hold your teeth in their new positions. A retainer may also be fixed to the back of your teeth, to ensure they don’t revert to their original misalignment.
Throughout the treatment and with any type of brace, it’s crucial to maintain good oral hygiene, brush well after every meal or snack, and avoid any hard or sticky foods since these could damage or get stuck in braces.
What type of foods to eat in the first few days?
For the first few days after you get your braces put on or adjusted, eat soft foods to minimize pain from chewing. These foods should be easy to eat:
- mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower
- soft-cooked vegetables
- scrambled eggs
- soft fruit like berries and bananas
- ice cream, frozen yogurt, and smoothies
- You may also have sore places in your mouth where the brackets or wires rub against the insides of your cheeks. Use the wax your orthodontist gave you to cover the parts of the braces that are causing pain.
You could also try rinsing with a saltwater solution or applying a topical anaesthetic like Mucopain or Hexigel to the sore spots.
Within about a month, your mouth will have adjusted to the braces, and you won’t experience this kind of soreness.
FOODS TO AVOID WITH BRACES?
For as long as you have braces, you will also want to avoid foods that could pop off your brackets. The Indian Dental Association (IDA) recommends you stay away from eating hard, chewy, and sticky foods such as:
- Corn on the cob
- Hard candy
- Chewing gum
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