Can Braces Fix Teeth That Are Overcrowded?
Braces are well-known as an effective way to straighten teeth that are crooked and to correct common dental problems such as overbite, underbite, and position of the jaw. However, this ingenious appliance can also be very effective at straightening teeth. Let’s take a better look at this common dental problem and how braces can help.
What Is Teeth Crowding?
Teeth crowding or overcrowded teeth occur when your teeth have run out of “real estate” in your mouth. When this occurs, teeth press together but not in an aligned way. This can result in some teeth sitting higher than others. It can also result in some teeth being pushed behind or ahead of other teeth.
Why do teeth run out of space? There are many reasons. For example, crowded teeth can occur in children as the result of the simultaneous growth of teeth combined with the continued growth of the jaws and gums. In adults, crowding can occur as the result of not correcting the issue in childhood or when the tongue thrusts against the teeth. It can also occur as the result of breathing mostly through the mouth instead of only through the nose.
Importance Of Correction
Unfortunately, crowded teeth are more of a problem than they seem. Left untreated, crowded teeth can cause many issues. For instance, not correcting crowding during childhood can lead to the need for major and costly treatment via family orthodontics in adulthood. Waiting to correct the issue can also cause your jaw to become misaligned. Should this happen, chewing can become difficult. Misalignment of the jaw can also cause headaches.
Over time, overcrowded teeth that have not been treated can lead to the development of gum disease. It can also lead to damage of the joints in the jaws. As you can see, the correction of crowded teeth now can help you avoid increased costs and risks down the road.
What Kinds Of Braces Can Help Correct Teeth Crowding?
Teeth crowding can be fixed in more than one way, although the installation of braces is the most common way to do so. Two types of braces exist—those that can be removed and those that can’t. Fixed braces are installed and removed by an orthodontist. You can take removable braces from your mouth if you don’t want anyone to see them, but, for best results, it’s important to avoid repeatedly removing these braces for long periods of time.
Metal braces are the most common type of fixed braces used to correct crowding. They are also the strongest material available to correct severe crowding. Brackets and wires are attached to the teeth and are then secured by elastic ties. Dental cement is used to attach the brackets to individual teeth. The wires are installed between the brackets, and this part of the brace is what does a lot of the heavy lifting, applying the constant pressure needed to push the teeth into their proper position.
Where the look of metal braces is undesirable or crowding isn’t too bad, ceramic braces can be a great alternative to other options. Ceramic braces are less visible because the brackets are the same color as the teeth, which can make them a good choice for teenagers. Typically, only the wires between the “invisible” brackets can be seen. Braces may also be able to be installed behind a patient’s teeth, but the ability to do this depends on several factors.
An alternative to traditional fixed braces is the removable aligner. Invisalign is one brand of removable brace. These clear aligners are worn in a series, with each series being worn for two weeks. At that time, they are replaced with the next set in the series, which moves the teeth a little bit more into their desired position.
Another way to fix overcrowded teeth is via the application of veneers, which is usually not done by an orthodontist. Veneers help to maintain the proper space between teeth, but may not be recommended for treatment in children. Treatment with braces may be required prior to installing veneers, as this will allow teeth to be more properly aligned, making it easier for the veneers to do their job.
Where the misalignment of the jaws is the cause of overcrowding, surgery may be necessary to align the jaw. Following this procedure, braces are installed to continue the alignment process.
What To Expect: The Treatment Process
If teeth are severely crowded and no room exists for them to sit in their proper position, it may be necessary to create that space by removing one or more teeth. However, this is typically only done if absolutely necessary and, so, most orthodontists will not recommend removal.
The orthodontist will need to obtain more information about your teeth before he or she can go ahead with installing your braces. Therefore, the orthodontist will need to take x-rays and photos and also get impressions of your teeth. This is typically completed at the initial appointment, which also includes talking about and developing your individual treatment plan.
Installation and Adjustment
It may take no longer than 20 minutes to install the braces, but you will need to come in on a regular basis because, as your teeth move into position, your wires will need to be adjusted and your elastic ties replaced. This ensures that your teeth stay where they are supposed to.
The length of time you will need to wear your braces will depend both on how severely your teeth are crowded, as well as how long it was estimated you’d be wearing them according to your treatment plan. However, it’s reasonable to expect to wear your braces for longer if your crowding is very severe or if you are an older adult. Generally, braces must be worn for between one and three years in order to get the desired result.
For invisible aligners, the typical number of aligners in the series needed to correct overcrowding is between 20 and 30.
Regardless of whether you are wearing fixed or removable braces, you will need to wear a retainer once this phase of treatment has ended. This device will continue to hold teeth in their proper position. Although the length of time you’ll need to wear your retainer depends on individual factors, one year is typically the length of time a retainer will need to be worn following the removal of your braces.
Get Treatment For Your Overcrowded Teeth
Overcrowded teeth can not only make chewing and digesting food more difficult but, in not being able to efficiently clean them, various other dental issues can develop. The only way to avoid these potential problems and health risks is to get treatment from an orthodontist.
Experienced orthodontists will be able to first identify the main cause of your overcrowded teeth, and then determine which kind of misalignment is taking place. This will allow them to recommend the best treatment options.
At Labbe Family Orthodontics, the comfort and satisfaction of our clients are top priorities. We know that it can be difficult to choose from so many options. That’s why we ensure every visit is an informative one. We do our absolute best to answer all of your questions so that you can make an educated decision about your child’s or your orthodontic treatment.
There are several factors which make Labbe the choice for so many clients. We always treat you how we’d treat our own family, even if we’re meeting for the first time. We have four convenient locations to serve you: Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, and Greenbelt. Each has the same state-of-the-art equipment for diagnosing and treating a wide variety of orthodontic issues in children and adults.
At Labbe, we know that the costs of orthodontic services can sometimes be hard to juggle. That’s why we offer flexible payment plans and accept coverage from most insurance companies. Our team of experts is always ready to contribute its knowledge so that you can get the best treatment possible—isn’t that the way it should be?