Cosmetic or Functional?—The Truth About Crooked Teeth

If you notice that your teeth are crooked and it affects your smile’s appearance, you might be inclined to straighten them for your confidence’s sake. If you’re told that you have to wear braces for at least a couple of years, however, then you might reconsider. For children, braces are frequently needed to help guide the growth of their teeth and jawbones. As an older teen or adult, your main consideration may be how your smile looks, which can undermine the importance of straightening crooked teeth.

The Continuing Effects of Malocclusion

Occlusion refers to the alignment of your teeth, and malocclusion, or misalignment, describes different conditions for different people. Some teeth may overlap others, or one or more teeth may experience spacing problems that make it difficult for them to fit on your dental ridge comfortably. An overbite or underbite describes when your upper or lower teeth extend too far forward, placing your jaw joints and muscles under extreme strain and pressure. If not corrected, malocclusion can cause damage to teeth that have to absorb more-than-usual pressure, or to your exhausted jaw joints as they struggle to stabilize your bite.

What Causes Crooked Teeth?

Unlike cavities, or persistent bad breath, crooked teeth can’t exactly be prevented by practicing good hygiene. In most cases, it’s hereditary, or at least present since birth, and if you don’t correct it as a child, it will continue (or grow worse) as you grow older. Also, habitually grinding your teeth generates excessive pressure and friction that can change the shape of your teeth, causing your bite to become imbalanced.

Do You Need Braces to Fix Them?

Orthodontic braces, consisting of brackets attached to your teeth and connected by arch wires, can straighten severely crooked teeth by applying gentle force to reposition them. Sometimes, cosmetic braces, like Invisalign® and Realine® clear braces, can straighten your smile discreetly, using clear plastic aligners instead of metal brackets and wires. If only one or two teeth are slightly out of alignment, then Dr. Wright and Dr. Heron can suggest placing porcelain veneers, or wafer-thin shells of porcelain, over them to improve their appearance.

About Your Southlake Dentists:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.