The front teeth, called incisors, are the most prominent and visible teeth meaning even the tiniest of problems can seem very obvious. If your incisors are very small or they are twisted, it may make you feel quite self-conscious.
What Causes the Lateral Incisors to Become Twisted?
The incisors are the frontal teeth. Typically, an adult has eight incisors (four in the top and four in the bottom jaw). The two front incisors both at the top and bottom are the central incisors, while the teeth on either side of the front incisors are known as the lateral incisors.
Sometimes the incisors can overlap the adjacent teeth, grow at a twisted angle, or they can get misshapen. Some of the reasons for twisted or crooked incisors include:
- Larger teeth
- Small dental arches
- Misaligned jaws
- Growth of wisdom teeth
- Poor habits during childhood such as sucking thumb
- Bruxism (tooth grinding)
- Trauma to the teeth
Can Twisted Incisors Cause Problems?
Twisted or misshapen lateral incisors can make you self-conscious about your appearance as it can affect the aesthetics of your smile. However, apart from affecting your appearance, twisted incisors can impact your dental health too.
If your incisors are misshapen or twisted, it can cause a lot of discomfort and pain when biting or chewing your food.
And, since your mouth is unable to find any comfortable resting position, this can lead to grinding and clenching your teeth, which over time, can lead to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder and tooth damage.
Twisted Lateral Incisor Treatment Options
There are a range of treatment options that can help to straighten twisted or misshapen lateral incisors, including:
Also called instant orthodontics, porcelain veneers may be a good option for minor twisted incisor problems. Porcelain veneers are essentially thin, custom-made dental ceramic shells fitted over the front of your teeth to alter their appearance, mask any imperfections, and make them appear properly shaped and straight.
Typically, the veneers are made slightly larger than your crooked incisors, which helps to improve the uniformity. If the lateral incisor twisting is very minor, then some enamel may be removed from the tooth, and when the veneer is placed, it sits level with the surrounding teeth.
However, if the lateral incisor is severely misaligned or twisted, then veneers may not resolve your problem, and you may have to opt for orthodontic treatment.
This is a quick and inexpensive treatment that can help to resolve cosmetic issues such as twisted or misshapen incisors. In this procedure, a bonding material is used to fill or enlarge some portions of the incisors. In addition, the colour of the bonding material used can be matched to blend in properly with your other teeth.
However, dental bonding can only be used to treat very minor issues and cannot be used to treat poor teeth alignment. Even its ability to resolve crooked or twisted incisors is somewhat limited.
If your lateral incisor is severely twisted or damaged, then porcelain veneers may not be a suitable option to correct it. Instead, you could consider a dental crown. A dental crown is essentially a tooth-coloured cap that fits over your tooth.
The dental crown not only improves the shape of the tooth but also protects the structure of the tooth underneath. With proper maintenance and care, dental crowns can last for ten years or even more.
If your lateral incisor is too twisted for any restorative or cosmetic treatments, it may need orthodontic care. Clear aligners such as Invisalign are a popular option that can help to correct the twisted incisors problem. Clear aligners are custom-made, clear, flexible aligner trays made of thermoplastic that fit snugly over the teeth.
While they may not be completely invisible, aligners are less noticeable than traditional braces. To work effectively, the clear aligners must be worn for around 20-22 hours a day except when you are drinking, eating or brushing your teeth.
The clear aligners need to be used for many months, as they help to improve the alignment of your teeth using micro-movements. However, clear aligners do not treat the shape of your teeth and can only help with their alignment, and they may not be very helpful in case of severely overlapped teeth.
If clear aligners cannot address the problem of your twisted lateral incisor, then you may have to opt for more conventional orthodontic procedures such as using braces or other techniques that can help to correct the incisor alignment so that they are not twisted or positioned poorly.
In conclusion, twisted lateral incisors are a very common dental problem. Fortunately, there are many options that can help to correct the issue, including veneers, dental crowns, clear aligners, dental bonding, and traditional braces.
And, if the problem is more severe and not correctable with any of these procedures, then your orthodontist or dentist may suggest extraction of the lateral incisor depending on your specific condition.