It’s amazing how even minor disparities can have a significant impact. For example, when sitting at a wobbly table in a restaurant, using just a sugar packet under one leg can solve the problem. Or, simple filing to the rough edge of a fingernail can put a halt to potentially snagging fabrics or hosiery.
Such small things – yet, they can cause problems that are pretty frustrating. But what happens when these things lead to problems that are anything but small?
When your teeth are misaligned, it’s not always obvious since it occurs at a gradual pace. As teeth move, they may shift and crowd neighboring teeth. This, in turn, can cause adjacent teeth to move, which creates a domino effect where teeth bunch up. This means that tight angles can form, which allows oral bacteria to easily accumulate.
Not only do these angles provide incubation sites for bacteria growth, the crowding can lead to disruption of bite alignment. When lower teeth, for example, are crowded and crooked, they fail to meet upper teeth harmoniously. This can lead to a number of problems, including chipped, worn, broken and fractured teeth. And, the problem can contribute to seemingly unrelated problems.
Misaligned teeth can place strain on the TMJ, or jaw joints. These joints are located in front of the ears and hold sockets that hinge the lower jaw to the skull. When these joints are moving properly, you can speak, laugh, yawn and eat without the joints experiencing stress or strain.
However, bite misalignment can lead to issues that undo the balance that is supposed to exist. TMJ disorder can lead to headaches, migraines, night-time clenching and grinding, dizziness and ear ringing. Additional problems can include sore facial, shoulder or neck muscles; difficulty opening the mouth fully; tender jaw joints; and jaw popping.
While misaligned teeth are at higher risk for cavities and gum disease, their potential to cause problems can also lead to tooth removal. For instance, when upper teeth and lower teeth do not meet correctly they can ‘hit’ incorrectly, often while eating. When a tooth breaks below the gum line, a crown can no longer save the tooth. Once a tooth is removed, it leads to decisions in replacement, treatment costs and time for repairs.
Treating bite misalignment may be as simple as the reshaping of selected teeth. Some cases may involve crowning certain teeth to restore proper height. Other cases may require orthodontic treatment to fully resolve alignment problems. This can be done through traditional orthodontics (braces) or, in our office, through Invisalign.
Invisalign is an ‘invisible’ alternative to braces that doesn’t need wires or brackets to perform realignment. Using clear molds, Invisalign is more comfortable than traditional braces and virtually undetectable in a smile. This means you’ll feel less awkward during treatment and can avoid tears to tender tissues in the mouth or lips.
Another bonus of Invisalign is the ease of eating and brushing. Invisalign molds are removable, so you can eat and brush your teeth without either being an ordeal. Invisalign also moves teeth at a pace that’s similar to traditional braces and, in some cases, even faster.
Misaligned teeth are never going to improve without correction. At the very least, they’ll increase your odds for developing cavities or gum disease. At the worst, they’ll create TMJ problems that lead to migraines, dizziness, broken teeth or ear ringing. Some people never associate certain symptoms with the TMJ and search for years for a solution, going from doctor to doctor and trying medication after medication.
Don’t let crowded, crooked teeth lead to other problems. Realigning your teeth will enhance the appearance of a smile, provide a healthier foundation for your teeth and gums, and help you avoid the many problems associated with the TMJ.
If you’re experiencing any of the problems mentioned above, call 910-254-4555 to arrange a free consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss ways to evaluate your bite and determine if it is the true source of your symptoms. If so, we can develop a treatment plan to help you overcome the problems in the most conservative way possible.