Few things are worse than being crammed in a tight space, jostling around to find a way to comfortably fit. The same goes for your teeth – they need their space and will do anything they can to fully grow in. For many, this means crooked or overlapping teeth know as teeth crowding or tooth crowding. When you experience teeth crowding, your dental health is at risk – but it’s a common problem and easily fixed!
Learn the facts about teeth crowding, some of its history, and what you can do to counteract its effects.
Facts About Teeth Crowding
According to the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, researchers discovered a certain hunter-gatherer population near the eastern Anatolia region and found that the structure of jaw bones in human populations changes over time.
Upon examination, these hunter-gatherers’ mouths revealed proper alignment between the lower jaw and teeth. Researchers then compared this to a transitional farmer population and noticed that they experienced an abnormal alignment shift around 12,000 years ago. What exactly caused this tooth crowding?
Researchers discovered that the key difference between the hunter-gatherers and the farmers was the diet. The farmers’ diet consisted of cooked foods where the need for chewing was less of a requirement. As a result, the jaw size reduced without a corresponding reduction in the dimensions of the teeth. Since there’s no adequate space in the jaw, the teeth started to crowd together causing malocclusion.
What is Tooth Crowding Malocclusion?
Teeth crowding is a type of malocclusion that impacts one out of every five people and is often hereditary. Tooth crowding occurs when your teeth are not aligned properly, which results in overcrowding or an abnormal bite patterns. There are three different types of malocclusion:
- Class 1 – This is the most common type of tooth crowding. The bite is normal, but the upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth.
- Class 2 – This is commonly known as an overbite. The upper jaw and teeth severely overlap the bottom jaw and teeth.
- Class 3 – This is commonly known as an underbite. The lower jaw juts forward causing the lower jaw and teeth to overlap the upper jaw and teeth.
Why You Should Correct Teeth Crowding Issues
Like any malocclusion, tooth crowding issues will increase the challenge of maintaining the health of your teeth or gums. As teeth begin to overlap, they create three major issues:
Difficulty Brushing & Flossing – Adequate brushing is already difficult enough. But when teeth overlap, bristles of your brush or strings of floss will be harder to get into all the surfaces of your teeth, leaving certain areas frequently unbrushed. Over time, this can lead to cavities, building into major dental issues
Promotes Bacteria Growth – The longer bacteria have to remain in your teeth undisturbed, the more damaging they become. Basic bacteria build into plaque and tartar, becoming more difficult to remove even if you can reach them with a brush or floss. Eventually, they may only be thoroughly cleaned with the assistance of a hygienic cleaning at your dentist!
Uneven Wear – Teeth that aren’t aligned properly won’t wear at the same rate, as some surfaces will make more contact with food when you eat, and others may not be used during chewing at all. Over time, this puts extra stress on the heavily worn teeth, leading to a higher rate of dental issues with these teeth versus the lesser used ones.
In any case, teeth or tooth crowding issues make you a likely candidate for orthodontic treatment depending on the severity! You shouldn’t leave malocclusions alone, as they can worsen over time and lead to issues with physical development in children who are still growing!
Teeth Crowding Treatment Options
If you’re suffering from tooth crowding, there are a few treatment options that your orthodontist may recommend:
- Braces – The goal of this treatment is to correct the positioning of the teeth.
- Removal of one or more teeth – This is a treatment option if the teeth are too overcrowded.
- Orthognathic surgery – This technique is used to lengthen or shorten the jaw but is only needed in rare cases.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Do you have questions about Invisalign or orthodontic treatment? We can answer your questions to keep your teeth and gums healthy – schedule a free consultation! Contact us online or call 440-842-8015
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