A crooked tooth can ruin an otherwise perfect smile. Alongside discomfort, you can also experience a big hit to your self-esteem. Maybe it’s something you noticed brushing your teeth in the morning, or perhaps it’s something you’ve dealt with for most of your life. Whatever the reason, you’re probably wondering how to fix a crooked tooth.
Why Fix a Crooked Tooth?
It isn’t necessary to have multiple crooked teeth before seeking treatment. Besides the aesthetic annoyance, there are several reasons you should fix a crooked tooth, including:
- Bacteria Trapping: Misaligned or overlapping teeth hinders your ability to brush and floss properly. A substantial build-up of plaque and bacteria can lead to gum issues and tooth decay, regardless of your dental habits.
- Pressure: A crooked tooth can place unnecessary pressure on your jaw and lead to cracked teeth.
- TMJ Disorder: A TMJ disorder is temporomandibular joint dysfunction and can become an issue if you go too long without receiving appropriate care. You can experience pain in your jaw hinge and muscles that control movement.
Just one crooked tooth can be a warning sign of overcrowding and can worsen over time, causing more teeth to shift. Even if you’re not experiencing any of the issues listed above, it might be worth asking your dentist about pursuing treatment.
Most treatment options are designed to correct multiple teeth or an entire row, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t avenues to follow for a single crooked tooth.
Braces are the most traditional form of corrective treatment for misaligned teeth. Braces are wire-based frames installed by your orthodontist using metal brackets that are bonded to each tooth.
With braces, you’ll make visits to your orthodontist approximately every four to eight weeks. At these appointments, they’ll make sure the treatment is moving along accordingly and then, traditionally, will tighten your braces.
They do this by adjusting the wire in specific places, which puts pressure on your teeth to shift into the correct position. If you’re only worried about how to fix a crooked tooth, braces might not be the best option as they’re typically geared for severe cases.
Fastbraces™ is another popular, alternative route to braces with a shorter treatment time than traditional braces and can be used for one tooth.
Aligners are a popular choice for individuals who don’t like the appearance of braces. Aligners are made of hard plastic material and work in the same fashion as traditional braces by placing pressure on your teeth to slowly move them into the correct place.
Instead of anything being bonded to your teeth, aligners come in multiple different sets. The shape is slightly adjusted in each set, so every time you change aligners, you’re moving closer to a set of straight teeth.
For correcting only one tooth or minimal issues, online teledentistry has surged in popularity. Companies like Smile Direct Club and Byte provide you with a do-it-yourself impression kit that allows you to mail in a mould of your teeth. Shortly afterwards, you’re provided with a set of aligners. At the end of your treatment, you’ll be sent a retainer to keep your smile in place.
You can read more about the companies, costs, and details associated with at-home straightening treatments here.
A crooked tooth could be caused by deeper problems concerning your jaw bone and muscles. In rare cases, your dentist may recommend surgery to correct this.
While it may sound like an extreme procedure, it’s fairly routine. The surgery only requires local anaesthesia and is performed in-office. Your dentist will reposition the gums and bones holding your teeth in place.
In many cases, you’ll still need to wear braces after your surgery, but this will be for a significantly shorter period of time than other treatment methods.
Any method of teeth straightening will require you to wear a retainer afterwards. There are three common types of retainers, depending on your needs:
- Removable Wire Retainers: These last a long time and can be tightened or repaired if any issues arise. They can also be customized with different colours and designs.
- Removable Clear Plastic: Just like aligners, these are secure and comfortable. They’re not noticeable and can also protect the individual from teeth grinding.
- Bonded Permanent: These don’t require much maintenance, and last a long time, but can prove to be difficult when flossing.
You can read more about retainers and what to expect after treatment here.