When people consider getting braces, it's usually for one of two reasons: they either want to look better, with a straighter smile, or they want to get over deficits that crooked teeth and misaligned jaws can create, like difficulty chewing and speaking. However, even if your teeth are only a little bit crooked, it could still be having a negative impact on your teeth and mouth. If you're not aware of this, then here's what you should know.
Bacteria and Plaque
One of the main problems that crooked teeth can create is their ability to act as safe havens for bacteria and the plaque created by bacteria.
Flossing and brushing one's teeth are the best ways to get rid of bacteria and plaque, outside of seeing a dentist. However, floss and some toothbrushes lose some of their efficacy when teeth are crooked. Getting the bristles between teeth can be difficult when teeth are overcrowded. However, once two teeth cross over each other, it becomes even worse, as even getting floss through to completely clean the surface of both teeth becomes more difficult. As a result, bacteria tend to thrive in these areas, producing more plaque — and later on, tartar — and thus leading to a higher likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease.
Stress and Bony Ridges
Another problem with even mildly crooked teeth is the way that they impact your jaw and chewing. Teeth are intended to be straight and evenly spaced so that each one absorbs a set amount of pressure when you bite down and chew. When teeth don't stand straight up and are instead leaning, as tends to be the case with overcrowding and crookedness, this changes. The pressure that you apply to your teeth can instead be over absorbed by some teeth and under absorbed by others, based on which is reaching the food or opposing tooth first. So, for example, if you have two front teeth that are leaning to the right, and another front tooth standing straight up, that straight tooth is likely to take on more pressure as it compensates for the others not doing their job.
To make matters worse, this can lead to a type of bony ridge developing under your gums called tori. While harmless, tori can become uncomfortable as the bone grows. Thankfully, tori are essentially jaw bone spurs, which means that if you take away the pressure, the lump will gradually dissipate over time.
With mild crookedness, you likely won't need braces for long to amend your issues. On top of that, you'll likely be eligible for invisible braces, so no one needs to know that your smile is undergoing an improvement. Contact an orthodontist's office, such as Horsey Orthodontics, to get started.