Crowded teeth are teeth that are crowded or touching. Teeth can crowd over time, but it can also be hereditary. Crowding of the teeth usually occurs during development, when permanent teeth are growing in, and root formation isn’t complete. Sometimes, as more than one set of teeth is present (as with baby and adult teeth), some teeth can crowd out others, especially if the teeth are of unequal size.
Crowding may become a problem when it is no longer possible to clean effectively between some or all of the teeth. Prevention of tooth crowding begins with good oral hygiene and regular dental care.
Symptoms of Crowded Teeth
The crowding of teeth does not generally cause any noticeable symptoms, but you may experience:
- Pain when eating certain foods that requires a lot of chewing.
- Pressure or pain in the jawbone.
- Discomfort when wearing braces.
- A shift of teeth may cause shifting of other teeth, leading to periodontal problems.
- Jaw joint pain or clicking in the jaw joint.
- Headaches or neck aches.
- Potential damage to developing permanent teeth as they come in.
- Increased risk of cavities due to increased plaque buildup around crowded teeth.
Causes of Crowded Teeth
The crowding of teeth is caused by factors such as:
- Genetic predisposition. Sometimes overcrowding is passed on from parents to children, but it can also be seen in identical twins with the same genetic makeup. This is commonly seen if baby teeth are lost prematurely.
- Irregular growth of the jaws. If the jawbone does not grow at an average pace, overcrowding can occur.
- Early loss of primary or baby teeth before permanent teeth come in. This results in uneven tooth development and spacing.
- Overenthusiastic orthodontia. When teeth are pulled too much, the gaps left behind can crowd other teeth.
- Premature loss of primary teeth. As permanent teeth replace baby teeth, this may leave insufficient space for the remaining adult teeth to grow in.
- Failure to remove a retained root or another tooth blocks average growth and development of associated adult teeth.
- Broken, lost, or misaligned teeth that remain in the mouth.
Crowded Teeth Treatments
There are several treatment options available to improve the crowding of teeth:
Removable appliances are used to help reposition teeth for improved alignment. They may be removable or fixed appliances. Examples of removable appliances include:
These are small plastic pieces that fit over the tongue and rest against the edge of a tooth to push it forward, allowing more space for other teeth. They can be worn with or without teeth.
These devices are attached to the roof of your mouth (palate) and gradually stretch it open, moving teeth apart. A small spring-like device is placed in the palate between two back molars. As you wind a tiny key, the bands on the device extend. The bands are worn for a few months, gradually separating the back teeth to create more space.
These appliances are similar in construction to adult dental braces and serve the same purpose of holding open gaps where teeth have been lost or extracted. They can be either fixed or removable appliances.
Fixed appliances are used to move teeth into better positions. They are attached to the existing teeth and adjusted in small increments over an extended period (months). They can be in braces, including traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, or invisible (tooth-colored) braces.
A dentist does orthodontic treatment with specialized training in using dental appliances to correct skeletal irregularities, causing overcrowding. Dental braces remain the most effective way to move teeth into better positions.
Crowded Teeth Prevention
To prevent overcrowding, you should visit your dentist regularly to check for signs of tooth misalignment. This allows early detection and treatment of complications. The dentist will also guide preventive measures, such as cleaning between the teeth to remove plaque that may form and lead to gum disease or decay. Your dentist can also use w x-rays to detect misalignment of the teeth not visible during a routine dental exam. Early detection will make it possible for treatment to start when needed most.
Flossing and brushing twice a day with either an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste or one prescribed by your dentist will both help to prevent plaque buildup and promote strong, healthy teeth. It would be best if you involved your child with this simple teeth cleaning routine.
It is important to note that severe overcrowding can be inherited, but it usually develops due to other causes. If you are concerned about developing crowded or misaligned teeth, talk to your dentist about treatment options.
The crowding of teeth can have various causes, including genetics and any trauma. Having such teeth is scary, but it also means that you need to start looking for a new dentist. This is because dentists tend to avoid complicated cases, and you need a dentist who can treat your case.