Many people have – or believe they have – problems with their teeth crowding that goes untreated. Crowding can be caused by a number of different factors, and knowing the actual cause may impact the treatment options. Crowding is the lack of space for all the teeth to fit normally within the jaws. The teeth may be twisted or displaced. Crowding occurs when there is disharmony in the size or number of teeth to available jaw size.
One of the common causes of tooth crowding is natural occurrence – so called mesial drift phenomenon, where your front teeth drift slowly to the center of the mouth. In the past, some dentists believed this was caused by the presence of wisdom teeth, crowding the front teeth from the rear of the mouth, though in reality many of the problems are due to simple insufficient space for the number of teeth as adults grow. Beyond mesial drift, other potential causes – such as weakened support due to periodontal disease, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting – can also influence teeth to move in directions that are undesirable, leading to misalignment and crowding issues. We see many adult patients who had relatively straight teeth as teenagers coming to correct new crowding that has developed, especially in the lower front teeth. It is still not completely understood why this happens, but we do know that presence of the wisdom teeth are not usually directly related.
Many see crowding as a cosmetic problem, the reality is that poorly aligned teeth are at an increased risk for periodontal disease, decay, and the patient is more likely to suffer from TMJ (jaw-joint) problems, as their irregular bite may cause strain on their jaw over time. For these reasons, fixing alignment should be considered more than simply a cosmetic procedure – correcting the alignment allows the patient to have better access to brush and floss, and their bite will be more level.
If you notice crowding in your front teeth, make a point of asking Dr. Kirtley about options during your next regular checkup. There are a number of treatments available, and treating the crowding early can help prevent more serious problems from developing in the future. Even if your concerns are simply cosmetic, we can work with you to ensure that your teeth will have the best chance for minimal movement in the future.
For more information on tooth crowding and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsi
Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park.