Here’s why you should address your crooked teeth ASAP
It’s a question we’re asked quite often at Wickham Terrace Dental: are my crooked teeth bad, or can I live with them?
While crooked or misaligned teeth are very common, that doesn’t mean you should simply ignore them. In fact, quite apart from the way your crooked teeth look (and how they may make you feel), there are some serious health issues that can be caused by a crooked smile.
Let’s take a look at the two categories of reasons why you should look at correcting your crooked teeth: the social impacts and the dental impacts.
How crooked teeth can affect you socially
If you’re living with crooked teeth, you’ll know the feeling. It just seems as though everyone is staring when you smile, judging the state of your teeth. It can lead you to feel self-conscious, cover your mouth, or sadly even to become hesitant to laugh and smile.
While we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover, studies suggest that biologically the human brain is in fact programmed to judge people by their appearance. A confident smile with straight teeth helps to make a good impression, suggesting the person is smart, trustworthy, happy in their life, the best candidate for a job, professionally and financially successful, and even has a better personality!
Even though we may wish that society will evolve above judging people by their appearance, millions of years of biological evolution say that a healthy looking smile does make somebody appear to be a better candidate for leadership and love.
So unfortunately the answer to the question, “Does my smile affect my success?” is yes. The good news is, it’s far easier to change your smile than it is to change the hard wiring of the human brain.
The oral health problems caused by crooked teeth
So why does our biological brain think that straight teeth are healthy teeth? The answer is that teeth that don’t look harmonious won’t meet harmoniously either, which can make eating more challenging since your teeth are less efficient.
More seriously, teeth that meet poorly are more likely to wear down, which ages not just your teeth but also your face. Think of the classic wicked witch, with her nose and chin close together making her look older – this is what happens when your teeth wear down. Reversing this tooth wear can be very time consuming and expensive.
Thirdly, crooked teeth can easily trap food and plaque, which increases your chances of gum disease and tooth loss. The gums and bone gradually recede, making us look “long in the tooth” before eventually becoming loose and falling out. Even with daily flossing and regular dental cleans, it can be a challenge to maintain the gums and bone foundations that hold crooked teeth in place.
Another issue is the overloading which occurs with crooked teeth. Your teeth are attached to your jawbone via a little squishy “ligament” that acts like the suspension in a car. And just as your suspension will break if you attempt speedbumps at high speed, this ligament will break if it’s overloaded enough too. When this happens, the bone and gum attached on either end serve no function, and will disappear. Once the gum and bone are gone it can be very difficult, unreliable, or more often than not, impossible to reverse.
Finally, once the teeth roots become exposed (either because of gum disease or overloading), another whole set of problems can occur. The exposed teeth roots are more sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks; and since they’re much softer than your tooth enamel, they’re much more susceptible both to decay and even to wear from your toothbrush. Damage to these tooth roots can be very difficult for your dentist to fix – and once the foundations are shot, the whole house is sunk.
What happens once your crooked teeth are lost?
So we’ve seen that you’re more likely to lose your crooked teeth over time. And once you start losing them, your remaining teeth will have to take on the workload of the missing teeth. This in turn results in a vicious circle of increased damage and further tooth loss.
For your dentist, it’s more difficult to replace missing teeth when you have crooked teeth. Implants can be difficult (or even impossible) to place correctly. Bridges can cause further overloading of neighbouring teeth, which can mean a failure of both the bridge and the teeth it’s attached to. Even a partial denture can lead to more food and plaque being trapped around your crooked teeth, hastening their demise.
One final point about crooked teeth: as time passes, the damage done by your crooked teeth can make it more difficult for your dentist to straighten them. Damage to the gum and bone and missing and highly worn teeth all increase the risk and difficulty.
For all these reasons, you can see why at Wickham Terrace Dental we strongly believe in treating crooked teeth early, before more serious problems appear.
Talk to us for the best solution for your crooked teeth
There are many more reasons to address your crooked teeth beyond just the way they look. To find out the options that are available to you, get in touch with the Wickham Terrace Dental team on 3831 3031 or contact us online.