Braces are a well known solution for crooked teeth, overbite, and underbite. Dental braces in Saskatoon are also an effective solution for treating overcrowded teeth. If you are consulting with a dentist about overcrowded teeth in your jaw — or in your child’s jaw — here is some information about using braces to treat this common condition.
What causes crowded teeth and why is it a problem?
Dental crowding is a situation where there is simply not enough room in your mouth or jaw to accommodate all of your permanent teeth in the correct positions. The consequences of overcrowding can range from mild to severe. Mild overcrowding may be characterized by one tooth simply being slightly rotated out of its ideal position. In its most severe presentation, overcrowding can cause most teeth in one or both jaws to overlap.
Dental crowding is potentially caused by a large variety of factors. Those causes include:
- Genetic influences that produce teeth larger than your jaw will result in crowding as the permanent teeth grow in
- Genetic influences can cause some people to be born with a smaller than usual jaw which will similarly cause crowding as permanent teeth emerge
- If a baby tooth is lost too early due to injury or tooth decay, other teeth have a tendency to shift into the empty space where they may interfere with the emerging permanent teeth and cause overcrowding
- If you or your child over-retain your baby teeth, they can prevent permanent teeth from emerging in their proper location unless those over-retained baby teeth are extracted
Uncorrected dental crowding during childhood can require major and expensive orthodontic treatment later in life to correct. In the interim until that orthodontic treatment is completed, dental overcrowding can cause: a misaligned jaw, difficulty chewing, headaches, gum disease, and damage to the joints in your jaw.
Can braces help resolve dental crowding?
Braces — whether fixed braces or removable braces — are the most common method of dental crowding, though not the only ones.
Fixed braces are those which are attached to your teeth by an orthodontist, adjusted during treatment, and then removed from your teeth when the overcrowding was resolved. Fixed braces come in two different primary formats: metal braces and ceramic braces.
Metal braces use brackets bonded to your teeth, which brackets are connected by wires and elastic ties. Adjustments to the wires connecting the brackets on your teeth exert pressure on the teeth as required to move them into their appropriate positions.
Ceramic braces are an alternative to metal braces, but are made from different materials. With ceramic braces, the brackets cemented to the teeth are fashioned from ceramic metal that blends in colour with the underlying teeth. This makes ceramic braces much more subtle and discreet, although the metal wires that connect the brackets themselves would still be visible.
Overcrowded teeth can also be resolved by the use of removable aligners through systems such as Invisalign. Your dentists will provide digital scans to Invisalign, who will fashion a series of thermoplastic aligners that gradually shift your teeth into their new positions.
Other solutions for dental crowding
While braces — removable or otherwise — are the most common approach to resolving dental overcrowding, there are other approaches that may offer relief or be required. For example, dental veneers can be placed on otherwise healthy teeth to project the appearance of properly aligned and spaced teeth, and to preserve the proper space between your teeth.
To the extent that the misaligned teeth are caused by a misaligned jaw, surgery may be required to effect change to the jaw alignment following which braces may be used to realign the teeth within the jaws.
If you or your child are experiencing dental overcrowding, we recommend that you consult with a dentist office in Saskatoon to determine the most effective and efficient approach to resolving those issues before it causes serious complications. Braces may be part of that solution.