Crooked teeth? They could hurt more than just your self-esteem
Not all of us have been blessed with the gift of a perfectly straight smile, but thanks to dental technology like braces and clear orthodontic aligners like Invisalign, fixing crooked teeth isn’t too far out of reach.
However, treating and re-aligning crooked teeth can be more than a cosmetic issue.
“Teeth that are not aligned properly in your mouth create what dentists call ‘malocclusion,’” says Dr. Phalguni Patel, a dentist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “Left untreated, malocclusion can lead to several serious problems.”
So, what kind of problems can crooked teeth cause, besides perhaps an unwillingness to smile?
Unhealthy gums: Properly positioned teeth are easier to brush and floss than teeth that are crowded, crooked or spaced too far apart.
More difficult cleanings: Crooked or misaligned teeth can increase the risk of plaque retention, tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. This can give way to cavities and gingivitis, as well.
Abnormal wear of your jaw: A crooked set of teeth can put stress on your jaws and increase your chances of breaking a tooth.
“While anyone can simply look in a mirror to see if they have crooked teeth or not, a visit to a dentist can help assess how much damage malocclusion is causing and offer therapies to fix the problem,” Dr. Patel says.
About the Author
Jaimie Oh, health enews contributor, is the manager of public affairs and marketing at Illinois Masonic in Chicago. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has nearly a decade of experience working in publishing, strategic communications and marketing. Outside of work, Jaimie trains for marathons with the goal of running 50 races before she turns 50 years old.