Do you believe braces are merely a cosmetic treatment device? For small corrections, this may be true, but for many patients, crooked teeth cause serious oral health problems. If you or your child have crooked teeth, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Speaks sooner rather than later. Appropriate orthodontic care can help prevent many problems associated with crooked teeth.

Gum Disease

Periodontal, or gum, disease develops when bacteria form into a sticky substance called plaque, which causes gum inflammation. The earliest stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, can be reversed with daily brushing and flossing along with regular cleanings from your dentist. However, crooked teeth are more difficult to clean, which increases the chance of missing bacteria while brushing and developing gum disease as a result.

More Cavities

Acid in plaque also decays your teeth, destroying the outer layer called enamel. Erosion leaves tiny pockets behind for bacteria and acid to settle in. This is how tooth decay begins and cavities develop. Common consequences include toothaches, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, and pain when biting down.

If left untreated, cavities can result in abscesses, which can be extremely painful. Since crooked teeth are more difficult to clean, these problems are more likely to develop, even if you do your best to brush and floss regularly.

Worn Teeth

A mouth full of crooked teeth leads to a high probability of bite problems. When upper and lower teeth rub together in an abnormal way, tooth enamel can wear down. This leads to tooth discoloration, sensitivity to temperatures and sweets, and cracked or irregularly shaped teeth.

Increased Risk of Tooth and Mouth Injuries

If your play sports or participate in other physical activities, protruding teeth are more likely to chip or crack if you have an accident. Your lips or cheeks could also be cut by your crooked teeth.

Increased Chance of TMJ

Under and overbites are common results of crooked teeth. When your bite doesn’t come together normally, chewing becomes difficult. This may cause you to chew your food on one side of your mouth, which can have a negative effect on jaw alignment.

Not only does poor jaw alignment increase the chance of biting your cheek while chewing, but it can lead to serious temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. The consequences of this include a clicking jaw, headaches and jaw pain. Eventually, disk slippage in the TMJ region or arthritis of the jaw can develop. And all this because your teeth are crooked!

Increased Chance of Other Health Issues

Many people fail to grasp how oral health affects the rest of your body. Oral infections resulting from the inability to clean your crooked teeth effectively can lead to other health issues. The American Heart Association hypothesizes that bacteria from gum disease or tooth decay can spread through the bloodstream and worsen existing inflammatory conditions, allowing serious ailments such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes to develop.

Bad Breath

Crooked teeth don’t look particularly appealing, but they often smell even worse. Bad breath, or halitosis, is often the result of excess bacteria hiding in your mouth. As already discussed, bacteria are more likely to linger between crooked teeth, which increases the chance of having chronic bad breath.

Low Self-Esteem

It’s no surprise that the ability to smile confidently with straight, white teeth improves the way you feel about yourself. It may even increase the amount you smile, which can lower stress and improve cognitive ability, according to a study published in the Association for Psychological Science. Consequently, having crooked teeth may lower your self-esteem, decrease the amount you smile and affect your overall happiness.

Braces: A Clear Solution to Crooked Teeth

Even if you weren’t born with straight teeth, or an accident has left a gap in your smile, the solution is obvious: meet with a qualified Denver orthodontist and start down the road to braces and the straight smile you’ve always wanted.