Dangers of Crooked Teeth

The Hidden Risks: Health Dangers Caused by Crooked Teeth

Everyone wants the perfect, straight smile that is often seen portrayed on movie screens by actors and in ads by models. What many people do not know, however, is that the most important benefits of having a straight smile go beyond visual aesthetics. In fact, numerous health conditions are directly influenced by the alignment of the teeth. Some of these include gum disease, tooth decay, jaw pain, and more.

The good news is that a crooked smile can be fixed with some orthodontic help. By reaching out to an orthodontist for help, you can take a step in not only beautifying your smile but also improving your overall oral health.

Health Dangers Caused by Crooked Teeth

There are numerous health issues that can be caused by crooked teeth. Some of these include plaque and bacteria buildup, tooth discoloration, tooth decay, gum disease, speech impediments, digestion issues, jaw pain, and more. Some of these issues, if caught early enough, can be reversed with the help of professional dental care. However, some of these issues cannot be reversed and may only be treated so they can be prevented from worsening. For this reason, it is vital to take preventative measures, such as correcting crooked teeth, rather than suffer the potential damages caused by misalignment.

Let’s take a closer look at these health issues.

Increased Risk of Dental Decay

Teeth that are crooked are often at a higher risk for decay. When teeth are crowded and pushed up against one another, it can be difficult to clean them properly and ensure that all of the plaque and bacteria are removed. Plaque is the sticky, white buildup that is soft and coats the teeth. It is not difficult to remove with a toothbrush when it is soft, but when it is left for too long, it begins to harden and is then difficult to remove. Plaque is even more challenging to remove in the spaces where crooked teeth overlap because it is harder to get to and has likely been allowed to harden.

Decay occurs when plaque is left for too long and hardens on or between the teeth. Plaque contains an acid that has the power to break down teeth, and once the breakdown has started, it becomes a possibility to lose the entire tooth. This can be avoided by a regular, proper routine of brushing and flossing, but even in keeping this routine, it is still easy to miss spots with crooked teeth. This is just one of many reasons why it is a danger to leave crooked teeth as they are.

Some of the signs of tooth decay include:

  • Toothache-This could take the form of ongoing, continuous pain or short bursts of pain, both of which have no obvious cause.
  • Tooth sensitivity- Sensitivity in the teeth is not always described as pain but rather as a slightly uncomfortable feeling when eating or drinking something hot or cold.
  • Spotting on the teeth- If you begin to notice dark spots on your teeth, there is a good chance that those teeth are decaying. Even if there is no pain present, discoloration points to decay as the cause.
  • Bad breath- The buildup of bacteria in the mouth can cause your breath to take on an unpleasant smell, which may linger even shortly after you have brushed your teeth. When bacteria is not removed for a long period of time, it will begin to smell and break down your teeth.
  • Bad taste in your mouth- An ongoing bad taste in your mouth can also be the result of dental decay, another sign that there is a buildup of bacteria hanging around in the crevices between your teeth.

If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of tooth decay, it is important to seek professional dental help. Neglecting to find help can cause long-term effects that may be irreversible.

Gum Disease and Periodontal Problems

Gum Disease and Periodontal Problems

When it is difficult to clean between your teeth, it is easy to neglect doing so. A lack of oral hygiene will be reflected not only in your teeth but also in your gums. When plaque builds up along the gum line, the bacteria it fosters impacts the gums. Periodontitis, also commonly referred to as gum disease, occurs when the soft tissue surrounding your teeth is damaged by bacteria buildup. When your gums begin to be affected by bacteria, pockets and spaces are created where plaque and bacteria will only continue to fester.

When teeth are misaligned and overlapping, it is sometimes impossible to be able to properly clean the surrounding gums. Once bacteria hardens, it only continues to grow and harden more, leading eventually to decay of the gums if that is where it is found. Periodontitis issues require the attention and help of professional dental care.

The dangers of periodontitis are often an encouragement to those with crooked teeth to seek orthodontic help to straighten their teeth and, therefore, lower their risk of gum disease in the future. If left untreated, gum disease issues can cause the loss of your teeth and eventually even of tissue and bone.

Some symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Discoloration of the gums, often dark red or purple
  • Tender gums
  • Gums that bleed easily, such as when poked or when brushing
  • Unpleasant breath
  • Receding gums

Speech and Eating Issues

As a child, it can be difficult to form all of the many proper sounds in a language. For many, it takes years to grow out of a lisp or learn to pronounce the r sound. All of this is challenging enough without the added difficulty of crooked teeth standing in the way.

Individuals with misaligned teeth may experience an array of speech problems, while others may experience none at all. Each person’s teeth are different, so each experience with crooked teeth will be different as well. However, because crooked teeth are often caused by the crowding and overlapping of the teeth in the mouth, they can sometimes impede the clarity and ease of proper pronunciation and speech. For younger people, in particular, a speech impediment can directly affect their overall confidence and mental health, contributing to more issues later in life.

Aside from speech issues, teeth misalignment can also impact the way a person chews. While digestion is typically thought of as a function of the stomach and intestines, it really begins in the mouth with chewing. Human teeth are designed differently in order to ensure that the food we eat is broken down properly before it reaches our stomachs. For example, canine teeth or eye teeth are specifically tasked with being responsible for tearing into meats and vegetables. Molars, on the other hand, are the teeth found in the very back of the mouth, and they are responsible for crushing and grinding food so that it is soft and easy to swallow.

Jaw Pain and TMJ Disorders

Effects of crooked teeth span beyond issues with just the teeth. If your bite is uneven, you may also be at risk of experiencing jaw pain. Because your teeth are so intertwined with gum, bone, and connective tissue in the jaw, every movement of the teeth impacts the jaws. The pressure used by the teeth when chewing is exerted by the jaw as well, meaning that issues with a crooked bite can cause unnecessary stress to the jaw. Stress in the jaw muscle, as stress in any muscle, can lead to pain in the area.

In addition to jaw pain, crooked teeth can also cause Temporomandibular Joint syndrome, also known as TMJ syndrome. TMJ syndrome is caused when the temporomandibular joint, which is what connects the jawbone to the skull, is injured or swelled.

Some of the symptoms of TMJ syndrome include (but are not limited to):

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Popping or clicking in the jaw
  • Pain in the ears
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Blurry vision
  • Tightness or stiffness in the neck muscles
  • Jaw muscular spasms
  • Pain in the face or chin
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Pain in the shoulder area
  • Lockjaw
  • Dizziness and/or vertigo

Maintaining Good Dental Hygiene With Crooked Teeth

Maintaining good dental hygiene

Regardless of whether your teeth are crooked or straight, it is essential to brush at least twice per day and floss at least once per day. Being aware of the spaces that are crowded or covered by crooked teeth is essential to ensuring those places are properly cleaned. These spots should receive extra care and cleaning, especially if they cannot be easily seen. Because tooth decay is caused by a buildup of plaque, brushing thoroughly in places where your teeth are crooked is the best first step to take in preventing decay.

In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene at home, making regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and check-ups will help to keep your mouth clean and bacteria-free. Another crucial step is to visit an orthodontist and see how they can help to correct the misalignment of your teeth. Correction and straightening make cleaning easier, therefore lowering your risk of dental decay.

Fixing Crooked Teeth

In today’s world, there are many ways to correct crooked teeth, and alignment treatment is available to all ages. At Robison Orthodontics, the treatments we offer vary by age range.

  • Children – The recommended age for beginning orthodontic care starts as early as seven. This type of early treatment allows time to guide permanent teeth as they are coming in and help them to grow straight.
  • Teenagers – Braces are the typical treatment for teenagers who have crooked teeth, but there are many braces options available. Each treatment plan is personalized, meaning that the material and duration of time to wear braces will be different for each teen.
  • Adults – Adults have various options when it comes to the path they take to correct their teeth. Robison Orthodontics offers Ceramic braces, Invisalign, traditional metal braces, and more.

Crooked Teeth FAQs

It’s natural to have questions about the problems crooked teeth may cause you. Here are the most common.

Can Crooked Teeth Cause Health Problems?

Crooked teeth can contribute to an array of health problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, Temporomandibular Joint syndrome, and digestion issues. Some of these issues, if left untreated, can lead to even more serious conditions. These include coronary artery disease, lung disease, arthritis, and more.

What Happens if You Don’t Fix Your Crooked Teeth?

Crooked teeth, if left untreated, can cause issues with self-esteem in addition to health issues that may be irreversible in some cases. You may be at risk of experiencing tooth decay and loss, gum disease, and more. Crooked teeth can have long term effects on both mental health and physical health.

What Is the Complication of Crooked Teeth?

The root of the issue with crooked teeth is that they make it difficult to clean your teeth and gums properly. This leads to the buildup of plaque and bacteria. If left on the teeth and gums, plaque and bacteria can eventually cause tooth decay and loss.

Preventing and Treating Dental Problems With Crooked Teeth

Preventing and Treating Dental Problems With Crooked Teeth

Aside from the cosmetic downsides, crooked teeth can pose real problems if not treated. There are significant health risks associated with misaligned teeth, many of which can be fixed simply by correcting the teeth that are crooked. Dental decay, gum disease, speech and digestion issues, and jaw pain can all be helped by receiving treatment from a knowledgeable orthodontist.

Some crookedness is minimal and may not require much attention beyond some extra brushing and flossing. Other misalignments, if they are severe enough, may need orthodontic treatment in order to prevent bacteria buildup. It is up to you to assess your own needs, but an orthodontist can help you determine a route of treatment that can suit your issues.

If you are experiencing dental issues caused by crooked teeth, reach out to Robison Orthodontics today to learn more about how we can help you improve your oral health. We strive to provide a warm, welcoming environment in which we put our patients first and find the right solution for you.


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