Overcrowding of the teeth is a condition that can cause tooth misalignment, bite problems, digestive problems, mouth pain and other issues. Tooth overcrowding can sometimes be fixed with braces, but those who do not want to commit to braces may have other options. If you have this condition, the following information can be helpful as you seek to correct the problem.
Why Do Teeth Become Overcrowded?
Teeth become overcrowded for a variety of reasons. Sometimes this occurs when the jaw is underdeveloped; as teeth grow in, they literally run out of space. Other times, overcrowding occurs because the teeth and gums are growing at different rates. Tongue thrusts, lack of orthodontic care and even genetics can all contribute to overcrowding. This problem may become noticeable when the molars come in, or may not become an issue until much later in adulthood.
Teeth overcrowding can cause malocclusion, or misalignment. Malocclusion can lead to bite problems that can impact a person's health. Often, overcrowding is what causes the teeth to become misaligned in adulthood.
You Might Not Want Braces, But You Need an Orthodontist
Braces are not always the solution to an overcrowded mouth. An adult who is suffering from overcrowded teeth should always consult with an orthodontist, even if they have no plans to get braces. Orthodontists know the best way to find treatments and devices that can help people who have an overcrowded mouth.
Often, the safest way to straighten teeth is through braces. Braces for adults often involve tooth extraction and oral surgery, while braces for children do not. In fact, in children braces are often the safest way to straighten teeth because they bypass the need for surgery. For children, braces are a fast and efficient way to straighten teeth. For adults, the opposite is true.
Ways to Straighten Teeth Without Braces
There are several ways to straighten teeth without braces. Knowing your options is important as you and your orthodontist decide on proper treatment.
Retainers function very much like braces, moving teeth slowly over time. Retainers are unlike braces in that they are removable. Hawley retainers are made from metal wires and acrylic. They're formed to the shape of your mouth.
Some retainers are only worn at night, others are worn during the day and at night. Some retainers are never removed because they are fixed in your mouth; others can be removed at meals or for tooth cleaning. Your orthodontist can help you decide which type of retainer is best for you.
Retainers are sometimes used after braces to keep the teeth in their proper formation once the braces have done their job. Other times, retainers are used instead of braces because it's only necessary to correct the placement of one or two teeth.
Appliances straighten the teeth by correcting jaw imperfections. Appliances are designed to attach to the teeth and curve along the inside of the mouth. Appliances can come in different forms to correct different problems inside the jaw.
Like a retainer, each appliance is custom fit to the inside of the mouth. Appliances are custom designed by orthodontic professionals to ensure they're correct for the patient. Appliances can generally correct or straighten teeth more quickly than braces, and are easier to install.
Aligners are the easiest way to straighten teeth without braces. Aligners are the only option that is virtually invisible to others. These plastic, customized pieces fit directly over the teeth and help the teeth fit into the shape that they would ideally take.
Clear aligners make eating and drinking easier, because they can be removed for meals. They're easy to clean and can be taken out whenever needed.
Aligners can also be less expensive than braces, and in the case of mildly misaligned teeth, aligners can correct a problem in a relatively short period. They're not right for everyone, however. Aligners are clear plastic. They can be misplaced or forgotten, where braces cannot. And, if they're not worn for a certain length of time every day, aligners may not be an effective way to correct teeth.
Call Us For A Free Consultation
Now that you've taken some time to consider different ways to fix crowded teeth without braces, you may be ready for the next step. Laster Orthodontics offers a complimentary consultation to potential patients. If you're thinking about installing braces or using a clear aligner any time soon, contact us.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster's in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.