If you have crooked and crammed teeth, you might be constantly holding your hand up when you laugh, or may even be experiencing health issues like headaches, gum disease, and other issues that you are not even aware of. Many adults don’t fix their misaligned teeth because they feel it just isn’t that important: either that it’s only for vanity, or not worth fixing. There is substantial evidence that suggests aligning your teeth can create not only improved self-esteem and confidence but help remedy many health issues and risks that misaligned teeth may be creating.
If you’re on the fence with whether you would have a more fulfilling life with straighter teeth, the truth may surprise you. People perceive others that have straight-toothed smiles to be better equipped to get a job, a second date, and more trustworthy. People even assumed that those with straighter teeth were likelier to have a better personality. While this is not grounded in truth, having misaligned teeth may not be doing your social life any justice.
Causes of crooked teeth
Before diving into some of the other physical and mental health effects associated with misaligned teeth, you may be interested in what causes crooked teeth. While the blanket term “genetics” often accounts for misaligned teeth, what exactly are those genetic reasons? Jaw size, which can’t be altered by a habit, is genetically predetermined. If one, or both, of your parents, have misaligned teeth, there’s a strong chance you will have some crowding as well. Other hereditary problems that cause misaligned teeth are being born with a cleft palate or even abnormally shaped teeth.
Now, some of the other reasons you may have less than straight teeth include habits like sucking a thumb or using a pacifier, trauma or accidents as a child or adult, and breathing through your mouth (especially as a child) since this alters how your facial proportions develop, resulting in a longer face that could put stress on the jaw. Other causes of misaligned teeth include poor dental care, and poor or inadequate nutrition.
Repercussions of misaligned teeth
Now that you know the causes, you may be able to address some of them, such as poor dental care. However, by remedying these habits, your teeth will unfortunately not magically get into line. If you’re interested in what consequences crooked teeth may have, keep reading.
Poor oral health
While one cause of misaligned teeth can be poor oral health, it also simultaneously can have the effect of creating poor oral health as well, resulting in bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and pain and damage to teeth.
Nobody likes having bad breath, especially when there isn’t much that can be done. If you find that you’re brushing your teeth several times a day, scraping your tongue of any existing bacteria, and flossing regularly, but still notice your breath doesn’t smell quite right, it’s likely tooth decay. While some tooth decay can be prevented by good oral hygiene, other times, it is caused by overlapping and crowded teeth. Since flossing can be difficult between crammed in or crooked teeth, bacteria linger in these areas, causing bad-smelling breath. If this sounds like you, continue brushing, flossing, and using a nightly mouth wash to get rid of any existing bacteria, and consider making a consulting appointment to see what options to have to straighten your teeth.
Tooth Decay and gum disease
While addressed above, it bears repeating that teeth that don’t have any space between them, or that overlap in less-than-ideal ways, simply are less easy to clean. If you have crooked teeth, chances are that you simply have to fight harder to keep your mouth clean of decay-causing bacteria. This is especially true around the gum line, where tartar and plaque usually start to build up. If left unchecked, these buildups can lead to root canals, extracting entire teeth, and gum disease. Gums are one of the tissues of the body that do not regrow once they become infected. While you may not have wished for crooked teeth, you’ll have to work hard to combat the issues that arise with it. People with crooked teeth are likelier to experience root canals and cavities for the mere fact they are prone to higher bacteria levels in and around their teeth.
Gum disease is no joke. It has been linked to several serious diseases, included adult-onset diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Another option repercussion of misaligned teeth is that of easier damage to your teeth. When the jaw consistently forces teeth together at odd angles, they are likelier to put pressure on one another incorrectly, as well as cause constant friction. The constant friction is likely to lead to tiny fractures that can lead to easier breakage later on.
TMJ, migraines, and recurring headaches
Still not sure if having your teeth straightened is worth it? What if you knew you would be more likely to suffer from repeated headaches and your risk for TMJ was increased? Well, both of these risks are true.
If you suffer from crooked teeth, you may be grinding them without realizing it, especially while you sleep. When your lower and upper teeth don’t line up as intended, your jaw joint never fully relaxes. This means the muscle around your jaw is constantly stressed as well. With this comes an increase in headaches, and even migraines. When you have an overbite or underbite and are constantly suffering from headaches that seem to have no cause, you may want to meet with a specialist to see if your malocclusion is causing the intense pain.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, more commonly referred to as TMJ, is often a result of misaligned teeth and can show up later in life as your jaw joint is used incorrectly over a period of years. TMJ disorders can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe and include pain while chewing, ear, face, jaw, and neck pain, popping sounds in your jaw, headaches, (no surprise there!) and locking of your jaw joint. If you have perfectly straight teeth, and still suffer from TMJ disorders, you will want to see a specialist, but also consider performing jaw exercises like the ones mentioned here.
A positive note about TMJ disorders is that when it is treated effectively by straightening your teeth, it can be remedied and your symptoms may decrease or disappear completely. This is just one more reason why invisible braces or other straightening procedures may be a good option if your teeth are cramped for space, or if you’re suffering from an overbite or underbite.
Your mouth is the first place that food starts being digested when you consume it, not in the stomach, as is commonly assumed. Each tie you chew, your body releases digestive enzymes including lingual lipase, which begins breaking down fat, and an enzyme in your saliva that starts to break down starches. Each of these enzymes is triggered by chewing. When your teeth are not properly aligned, you may not be chewing the same amount as the next person, which can lead to digestive issues. There’s a reason your parents always told you to chew thirty times per bite! (While that might be overkill, there is some validity to chewing each bite thoroughly that helps with digestion.) Crooked teeth have been linked to eating disorders as well, simply because the act of eating is less enjoyable.
Mental wellbeing and self-esteem
Finally, let’s discuss how misaligned teeth can affect your confidence and self-esteem.
Even if you take great care of your teeth, your smile may make you feel like your oral hygiene is not up to par with others. If your smile is making you feel subconscious about your looks, you don’t need to feel like you don’t have options. Straightening teeth for adults has become much more popular in recent years since traditional braces are not the only option on the market today. With invisible braces, you don’t have to feel like a gawky teenager for several years while your teeth sort themselves out.
Interestingly, studies have shown that smiling often is directly correlated with higher levels of self-esteem. If your self-esteem, so if you’re constantly resisting the urge to smile because you’re not confident about your teeth, there’s a cycle being perpetrated in which your self-esteem is affected. A real smile illustrates confidence, and people tend to view those who smile easily as people who are trustworthy and sociable. When your social life is lacking because of some pesky crooked teeth, it’s a relatively easy fix.
Straightening your teeth
Are these reasons enough for you to consider having your teeth straightened? When both your physical and mental health is at risk, you may want to consider seeking out options on how to straighten your teeth. You do have options for treating your oral health. While the physical appearance and looking good are key reasons that people start to look into having their teeth changed, you may have learned that there are substantial risks associated with keeping your teeth misaligned that have nothing to do specifically with what you look like.
When you think of straightening teeth, traditional metal braces with their colourful rubber bands may be the first thing that comes to mind. At the time of their creation, the metal tracks and wires that kept teeth in a line as others shifted was the only direct ways to straighten teeth.
If you’re someone that is self-conscious about their crooked teeth, you may feel even more self-aware if you go the route of traditional metal braces.
Unlike their modern counterpart, invisible braces, the traditional braces are typically best for people who have complex teeth issues but do cause more pain on the soft interior of your mouth. If you do participate in any rough or contact sports, skip the traditional silver-colored braces. However, if your orthodontist mentions that you have some severe oral issues, you may want to choose this route, especially if you have significantly wide gaps between teeth, which may be easier to treat with traditional braces than invisible options.
While metal braces have been on the market for multiple decades. As early as the 1940s people were sporting the traditional option, although at the time they were incredibly expensive, so rarely utilized. As the metal braces became more affordable, hundreds of thousands of high-school-aged kids were turning to the orthodontic device to make their smile shine. However, in 19997, that all changed, when invisible braces finally hit the market.
With their advent came rejoicing from kids across the world who would not have to have the brackets of braces glued on to their teeth, and could opt for a less invasive device to straighten their misaligned teeth.
If what you are hoping to minimize is the appearance of braces while your teeth are shifted into place, then invisible braces may be your best bet. They are discreet and can be removed to eat and brush your teeth. Because you can floss and brush your teeth normally, there is less nuisance when you’re keeping up good dental hygiene.
While the main reason that people may choose to opt for invisible braces is that they are easy to wear without being apparent in photographs, or even everyday conversation, they are notably less abrasive on your inner cheek as well, which can become slightly irritated or torn with traditional metal braces.
To be a good candidate for invisible braces, your teeth alignment issues should be mild to moderate, and you will need to be willing to commit to wearing the invisible braces device for twenty-two hours a day.
Ready to straighten those teeth?
If you are unsure about which option might be best for you, or if you’re an ideal candidate for invisible braces, take our short assessment. You can get started today with our at-home kit: no need to even make an appointment with an orthodontist. What are you waiting for? Your brand new smile is waiting for you.