How Severe Dental Crowding Can Impact Your Oral Health

doctor holding teeth xray

• Severe dental crowding is an issue characterized by misaligned, overlapping, or spaced apart teeth that can cause oral health issues. 

• Possible risks include increased risk of tooth decay, TMJ disorders, difficulty closing lips, and facial deformities. 

• Treatment options for severe dental crowding include braces, tooth extraction, surgery, and palate expanders. 

• Avoiding sticky and hard foods, brushing and flossing regularly, and wearing a retainer can help maintain the results. 

• Practice good oral hygiene habits and follow your dentist’s instructions to ensure that your new smile lasts for years. 

When you think of dental problems, cavities and gum disease may come to mind. But did you know that severe dental crowding can also be an issue? Severe dental crowding is the crooked alignment of teeth in the jaw, which can cause several oral health issues if not corrected. It is characterized by teeth that are misaligned, overlapping, or have large spaces between them.

Read on to learn more about the risks associated with severe dental crowding.

The Risks of Severe Dental Crowding

Severe dental crowding can lead to many oral health issues if not corrected. Some of the most common risks include:

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay

When teeth are crowded and overlapping, it’s harder to effectively brush and floss them, increasing plaque buildup. As plaque accumulates on your teeth, it increases your risk for cavities and gum disease. Additionally, overcrowded teeth may be difficult to clean properly, resulting in trapped food particles that serve as breeding grounds for bacteria. Bacteria growth can then contribute to additional tooth decay and gum problems.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

Severely crowded teeth can also lead to more serious oral health issues such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders or misalignment of the jawbone itself. This misalignment can cause pain when speaking or chewing and even lead to facial deformities due to abnormal pressure on certain jawbone parts. It may also cause clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth. When left untreated, TMJ disorders can cause long-term pain, discomfort, and even facial changes.

Difficulty Closing Lips

Severe dental crowding can also cause difficulty closing your lips due to the misalignment of teeth. This leads to an increased risk of gum irritation and infections and decreased oral hygiene overall. This could also lead to lower confidence in your smile due to an incomplete or asymmetrical look.

Knowing the risks associated with severe dental crowding is important as getting regular checkups to ensure your teeth are properly aligned. Talk to your dentist about possible treatment options if you have overcrowded teeth.

A shocked woman using her hand to cover her mouth

Treatment Options

Fortunately, several treatment options are available for those suffering from severe dental crowding:

  • Braces: Braces are one of the most common treatments used by orthodontists—they use metal brackets attached directly to each tooth and wires that move the teeth into proper alignment over time.
  • Tooth Extraction: In certain cases, some overcrowded teeth may need to be extracted for braces or retainers to work properly. This is usually only done if the teeth are severely overcrowded and there is no other option.
  • Surgery: In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to reshape the jawbone or fix any issues with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This involves cutting the bone, realigning it with metal plates and screws, and reconstructing any damaged tissue.
  • Orthopedic Expander: An orthopedic expander is an orthopedic appliance that widens the upper jaw and creates more space for overcrowded teeth. It works by gently pushing on the roof of the mouth, which causes the bones in the upper jaw to expand and make room for other teeth. Although this option is ideal for children, adults can also benefit.

The Aftercare

Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene habits to keep your teeth healthy and aligned. It’s also a good idea to wear a retainer at night or as prescribed by your dentist to prevent further crowding of your teeth.

For the first few months after your orthodontic treatment, it’s important to remain mindful of what you eat. Avoid hard or sticky foods such as candy and gum that can pull at the wires of your braces or bend the retainer. Additionally, it’s important to continue brushing and flossing regularly to maintain healthy gums and teeth.

Once completely healed from your orthodontic treatment, you’ll likely feel newfound confidence in your smile and improved oral health. But it’s important to remember that aftercare is just as important as the treatment itself. Taking good care of your teeth and following your dentist’s instructions will help ensure that your new smile lasts for years.

A man looking at himself in the mirror while brushing his teeth

Severe dental crowding can greatly impact your oral health if left untreated. Make sure to visit your dentist regularly and talk to them about possible treatment options if you suspect an overcrowding issue. Taking care of your teeth now will help you maintain a healthy and beautiful smile for years to come!

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