We all value a beautiful smile. You know the one! That wonderful look of a full set of straight, white teeth! A beautiful smile gives us confidence and allows us to display a more dynamic personality.

However, many people who do not have such straight teeth are reluctant to flash a big, confident smile. They become concerned about how their smile will be perceived and constantly strive to hide their teeth. Rightly or wrongly, they can be misjudged as not being friendly or being shy.

The improved confidence that comes with a more cosmetically appealing smile is one very good reason to correct crooked teeth. However, cosmetics are not the only concern. Crooked teeth can also have profound oral health implications.

For example, when teeth are not properly aligned, there is a tendency to develop an improper bite. When eating, the normal chewing motion can cause the teeth to grind against each other in an unnatural way. Over time, this can erode the enamel surface of the tooth, leaving that tooth more susceptible to decay.

Another factor to consider is that crooked teeth can be more difficult to keep clean. The bacteria that can lead to tooth decay or gum disease are microscopic and can fit just about anywhere.

But your toothbrush and dental floss, the essential tools to keep your teeth clean, are much larger. Quite simply, no amount of brushing or flossing can clean what cannot be reached. If crowding is preventing you from properly cleaning your teeth, bacteria will accumulate and you can expect this to result in oral health problems.

Crooked or misaligned teeth can also lead to problems with the temporomandibular  joint. This can result in muscle pain and tension that produces headaches. The longer you allow this situation to continue, the more problematic it can become. So correcting it as early as possible can, quite literally, save you lots of headaches!

As you can see, it is not just for cosmetic reasons that we recommend you address crooked teeth. The exact nature of the required intervention can depend upon the cause and severity of the problem as well as the age of the patient. Your dentist may be able to correct the situation with relatively minor intervention. On the other hand, more serious cases may have to be referred to an orthodontist.

And while it is preferable to address these situations when a patient is young, do not assume that you have to accept your crooked teeth just because you are an adult! You might be pleasantly surprised at how your dentist can help no matter what your age!

The key is to fix the problem…not just for the cosmetic improvement that will result. Crooked teeth can create serious oral health concerns and correcting them  is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon