Deciding to straighten your teeth can seem complicated. Crowding, gaps, and misaligned bites respond differently to individual orthodontic treatments. At Unique Orthodontics in Fresno, CA, finding the quickest and most efficient way to treat your crooked teeth is our top priority.
WHAT CONSTITUTES “CROOKED” FOR TEETH?
Crooked teeth may mean different things to different people. Most people refer to teeth that aren’t straight or aligned as “crooked.” We see patients with a variety of concerns about their smiles. These concerns range from spacing to bite issues. Below we look at the most common orthodontic problems we treat.
Crowding manifests as overlapping teeth that look like they don’t have enough room to fit in the mouth. Often crowded teeth become increasingly overlapped with time, which can lead to an even more crooked smile. Crowding in the mouth makes it more difficult to clean the teeth adequately, and there is an increased risk for plaque, decay, and gum disease.
A crossbite is a jaw misalignment that can involve one tooth or a group of teeth that rest on the inside of the lower teeth. Crossbites may occur in the front or on the sides of the mouth and may contribute to excessive wear on teeth, gum disease, and bone loss.
A healthy smile has matching midlines in the mouth’s front. The midlines are the center areas found between the front upper and lower teeth. Misaligned midlines can wreak havoc on the jaw and inhibit the functioning of teeth.
An open bite is a condition of having a space in the front portion of the teeth when the back molars touch. The front upper and lower teeth do not meet with an open bite, and this impairs chewing.
Overbites are marked by the upper front teeth extending over the bottom lower teeth. This condition is one of the more common reasons people seek orthodontic treatment. Sometimes with an overbite, the lower teeth may touch or bite the roof of the mouth, causing discomfort.
A protrusion, also called an “overjet” bite, exists when the upper front teeth protrude outward over the bottom teeth. The front teeth extend toward the lips and may prevent a person from closing the mouth without force. Individuals with a protrusion often feel incredibly self-conscious about their appearance.
Spacing issues are the opposite of crowded teeth. Noticeable gaps between teeth are always present when spacing is an issue. Spacing poses risks to teeth because they may become loose, painful and at increased risk for periodontal disease.
An underbite happens when the lower teeth cover the upper teeth. Underbites result from jaw misalignment and may cause difficulties with biting and chewing. Underbites are also associated with reduced oral health.
WHAT CAUSES CROOKED TEETH?
Both baby teeth and permanent teeth can grow in crooked, and there are many possible contributing factors. Some factors are controllable, but others are not. Common causes include:
Your genes can impact the way your teeth emerge. If your family members have bite problems, crowding, spacing, or other orthodontic issues, there is a higher likelihood that you will inherit them.
Childhood habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrusting can cause dental abnormalities. Breathing through your mouth instead of your nose can also cause teeth to shift.
MISALIGNED OR SMALL JAW
Your jaw could be to blame for teeth that aren’t aligned. When teeth grow, they align according to the space allotted. If your jaw is small and there isn’t enough room for your teeth, it can make them emerge crooked.
Malocclusion or a misaligned jaw prevents teeth from appearing straight. When the jaw is aligned, your upper front teeth rest slightly over your lower front teeth, with the back molars fitting comfortably. With a malocclusion, the teeth do not align correctly.
INJURY OR MISSING TEETH
Dental or facial injuries can cause teeth to grow in crooked, especially when the damage happens in childhood. A missing tooth or teeth can create space in the mouth that causes the other teeth to shift.
WHY ARE STRAIGHT TEETH IMPORTANT?
Many people mistakenly believe that correcting teeth is merely a cosmetic concern. Although having straight teeth improves appearance, it is also important for myriad other reasons, including:
IMPROVED ORAL HEALTH
One of the most significant benefits of having straight teeth is the ability to clean them sufficiently. Teeth that are crooked or misaligned aren’t as easy to care for and can hide plaque and bacteria. With straight teeth, you have cleaning access to the fronts, backs, and sides of each tooth. The ability to care for your teeth reduces the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.
PREMATURE WEAR PREVENTION
When teeth don’t align, they can often create friction when they meet. Over time, this friction can lead to heavy wear marks on teeth, chipping, and cracking.
Bite issues often cause TMJ, which comes with a slew of uncomfortable symptoms. Straightening your teeth can help ease the pain associated with TMJ, headaches, and migraines.
Sleep apnea, a severe sleep disorder, is sometimes caused by a misaligned jaw. A jaw that doesn’t align correctly can obstruct airflow and make breathing more difficult. For those suffering from sleep apnea, this obstruction is especially dangerous. Taking action to straighten your teeth can treat sleep apnea and improve your sleep.
Feeling self-conscious about the teeth can prevent people from living life openly. They smile less and laugh more quietly. A straighter smile can boost self-esteem and confidence, which pays off in unbelievable ways. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves, and an orthodontist can help.
HOW DO ORTHODONTIC TREATMENTS WORK?
Each type of orthodontic treatment appliance uses specific methods for straightening teeth, but all methods use physics to guide teeth into place. The process is slow and steady, which is what teeth need to move safely.
When pressure is applied to teeth, they will move as guided by the appliance. Orthodontic treatment requires the right amount of pressure applied to teeth at precise times to help teeth transition into a straight smile.
Orthodontic care doesn’t stop when teeth are straight. Once your teeth have moved into the proper position, we provide you with the tools to keep your teeth aligned. We fit you with retainers to encourage teeth to stay in place.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR MY CROOKED TEETH?
You have several options for correcting crooked teeth. The three primary treatment types are conventional metal braces, Invisalign(R), and the Damon System(R). Each treatment option caters to different needs and lifestyles.
CONVENTIONAL METAL BRACES
Conventional metal braces are the treatment option most people are familiar with because they are the most popular choice for straightening teeth. Conventional metal braces stay affixed to the teeth for the duration of orthodontic treatment.
This conventional system uses a series of brackets mounted onto each tooth with bonding technology. Each metal bracket is connected with an archwire, and a ligature on the back molars secures the archwire into place. Other components used in this system include auxiliaries and molar bands.
Treatment times with conventional metal braces vary from patient to patient, but most patients wear them anywhere from 6 to 36 months. Conventional metal braces are cost-effective and very useful for correcting a variety of dental alignment issues, from mild to severe.
For those who want to straighten their teeth without wearing metal braces, Invisalign is the top choice. This orthodontic treatment features invisible aligners that most people won’t notice you’re wearing. Many people choose Invisalign because it is a comfortable alternative to metal braces that requires fewer maintenance appointments.
Another perk of choosing Invisalign is that they are removable. One common complaint about metal braces is that they pose challenges to oral hygiene. Conventional metal braces can make brushing and flossing difficult. With Invisalign, you can remove your clear aligner to clean your teeth.
The Invisalign process is straightforward. You’ll wear each aligner unless eating or cleaning teeth. After two weeks, you’ll receive a new aligner. You only visit us every six weeks during treatment to confirm that treatment is moving along as expected.
On average, Invisalign treatment lasts 11 months. During this time, you’ll go through a series of 18 to 30 aligners. Each patient has different needs and treatment duration times. The best way to learn more about how long you’d wear Invisalign is to book a consultation with us.
Invisalign Express is an ideal option for those who want all the benefits of Invisalign with faster results. This advanced orthodontic treatment uses 3D computer graphics technology to shift teeth into a perfect smile more rapidly.
Invisalign Express reduces treatment time to around six months, on average, and uses a series of ten or fewer aligners.
The Damon System is a revolutionary approach to orthodontics. Building upon the expansive knowledge and history of conventional metal braces, Damon System is one of the best choices for orthodontic treatment.
Damon System uses the power of self-ligating braces that completely eradicates the need for elastic or metal ties on braces. Omitting this one element means that you have fewer trips to the orthodontist because there isn’t a need for frequent adjustments.
These lightweight appliances move teeth faster than conventional metal braces and are available in a nearly invisible clear form. With Damon Clear braces, you get all the fast-acting benefits of Damon System most discreetly.
If you’re concerned that you must remove teeth to achieve the smile you want, Damon Smile may be the right option for you. This system discourages the removal of teeth. This system widens the smile and brings an improvement to teeth and the entire face in a matter of weeks.
HOW DO I DECIDE WHICH TREATMENT IS RIGHT FOR ME?
All the best orthodontic treatments are right for somebody, but deciding which treatment is right for you requires consulting a professional. Every case is different, and your teeth may benefit more from one treatment than another.
We understand that you don’t want to spend your life in braces, and we can help you find the fastest treatment option for your personal needs.
WHY SHOULD I VISIT AN ORTHODONTIST?
Only an orthodontist can provide you with the expert care you need to quickly and efficiently straighten your teeth. Straightening teeth isn’t as simple as finding someone to fit you with a corrective appliance. Many health considerations factor into orthodontics, and online mail services cannot provide the consistent diagnostics and supervision necessary for treatment.
CONTACT US TODAY
Choosing the right orthodontic treatment option for your crooked teeth could save you time and money. We are here to help you find the right treatment option for you. Contact us today at Unique Orthodontics in Fresno, CA to find the fastest and most effective way to straighten your teeth.