Causes and Management of Crooked Teeth - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Causes and Management of Crooked Teeth

Dr.I Vijayalakshmi Murthy profile Authored by Dr.I Vijayalakshmi Murthy on 3 May 2016 - 11:21.


'Do it yourself' and "avoid an othrodontist" is the new trend doing the rounds across the internet for wearing braces.  However, orthodontists are putting parents on high alert. The American Association of Orthodontists is outright against the risk of teens trying to straighten their teeth.

Although wearing braces is a simple method, it can cause many complications like gum damage, tooth fracture, tooth loss, root damage or serious medical conditions. It can lead to irreversible damage to gums and even teeth falling out, if you do not follow the instructions properly, say The Australian Society of Orthodontists.

Misconception:"There's a common misconception in the general public that braces are simple - you push on the tooth and it moves where you want it. Orthodontics is very complex. Human physiology, occlusion, biomechanics, craniofacial growth and development, tooth size, shape and morphology, as well as the patient's overall lifelong dental health, must be taken into consideration," says Dr Jeffery Iverson, an assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Dentistry.

Why does one need braces?

Braces are required due to following reasons:

  • If  your baby teeth is damaged early in life, it can affect the growth and development of your adult teeth
  • If you are self-conscious about your smile because of your crowded or crooked teeth, you may develop low self-esteem.
  • If your jaw shifts or makes sounds, there's a problem in the development of your teeth and jaw line.
  • If you are always hitting the roof of your mouth or biting the sides of your cheek, it indicates that your teeth are misaligned. Braces help address an under bite or an overbite.
  • If you're having a trouble chewing your food. This not only causes discomfort, but can also be harmful for your health. Braces can help fix this problem.

Causes of crooked teeth:

  • Using a pacifier for an extended period during childhood: Dr James Bekker, a pediatric dentist with University of Utah Health Care says that some children benefit from the psychological security that a pacifier brings comfort and that it is a good thing. However, parents should be alert of the possible complications that prolonged pacifier use can cause.  "The harm is usually in creating an 'open bite' where the front teeth don't meet, making biting foods difficult. Pacifiers also can cause a narrow palate and sometimes a posterior cross-bite. These are conditions that can be addressed with interceptive orthodontics," says Bekker. To ward off such problems, regular extended pacifier use should be discontinued no later than 2 years of age.

    However, Bekker also suggest parents not to be in haste to discontinue the pacifier altogether. He recommends limiting the use as it can be a good alternative to finger sucking or thumb sucking.  Journal of Pediatrics and Child health, indicates parents that not using a pacifier in a right way can result in issues with teeth (cavities and overbite), breastfeeding and possibly ear infections. A meta-analysis showed that pacifier use after 3 years of age is connected with a higher incidence of malocclusion. 

  • Lack of nutrients: Dr. Weston A. Price's book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration research powerfully argues that a lack of jaw development and crooked teeth is completely nutritional in origin such as attempting to build a wide bridge with substandard materials. Without important nutrients like that of fat soluble activators A,D and K2 and minerals, which are abundant in primitive diets,  the jaw and palate cannot form with enough strength to support a broad facial structure.  This leads to crooked teeth no matter how hard the food is chewed.

Other causes include:

  • Genetic factor is the most frequent cause of overbites, under-bites and crooked teeth.
  • Traumas are usually the cause of most severe instances of crooked teeth. Facial trauma or jaw injury has the effect of moving the teeth out of place. Your jaw could be misaligned due to an accident.
  • Gingivitis and pressure on gums and teeth.
  • The earlier than usual loss of adult or baby teeth.
  • Misalignment of jaw post injury.
  • Standard oral health complications such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking.
  • When the size and shape of the mouth and jaw is small, the teeth suffer overcrowding and shifts so that all the teeth in your mouth fits. This leads to crooked teeth.
  • Overcrowding of teeth can occur when the baby teeth are replaced by permanent teeth.
  • Teeth misalignment may occur when the adult's teeth shift.

Treatment: A dentist generally recommends braces to improve a patients 'orofacial appearance'. Dr. Michael Rennert, a Montreal orthodontist, explains: "Instead of using heavy metal bands around the teeth, orthodontists now use small brackets bonded onto the front surfaces of the teeth and newer arch wires that are attached to those brackets." By applying gentle pressure to the teeth, these braces can move teeth slowly over a period of 12-36 months.

The four main types of braces are:

  • Fixed braces:  This is a non-removable brace that consist of stainless steel brackets and wires which were permanently fixed onto the tooth surface. While this kind of braces look ugly and cause a lot of inconvenience, they are still the best option for straightening of severely crooked or crowded teeth.
  • Removable braces: This is usually suggested for less severe cases of crowded or crooked teeth. They are made of a bio-friendly acrylic/plastic plate to which wire clasps and springs are attached. These clasps fit snugly to the teeth and gradually move them in the desired position.
  • Headgear: This is a complex device made of thick metal wires extending from the outside of the mouth onto the teeth, which are firmly supported by straps that fit behind the neck or under the chin. These are usually worn at night and for minimum 12 hours a day, for a couple of days to several weeks.
  • Retainers: The main purpose of wearing a retainer is to assure that the patients teeth stay properly aligned after braces have been removed. They are to be worn for a couple of months as a precaution. Retainers are also beneficial for those who want to rectify other dental conditions like closing gaps between 2 or more teeth without the use of braces, which is time consuming.

How to take care of your braces?

For people who are new to braces need to consider the following points:

  • Braces have tiny spaces to trap food causing plaque, which can lead to other dental problems. Therefore brushing your teeth after every meal and rinsing with mouthwash is essential, besides flossing at least once each day.
  • When you wear braces, you may feel pain in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressure for upto 5 days. You can take aspirin or just dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in warm water and rinse your mouth.
  • Avoid certain sticky and chewy foods like gummies as it can damage orthodontic appliances.
  • Also avoid hard and crunchy foods like hard candies, popcorn and nuts. You can have dairy products, soft breads, seafood and soft cooked vegetables.
  • Lastly, if you have severe pain or if any band or wire is broken, make an emergency appointment.





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