Do you feel like your teeth are misaligned? You’re not alone. In fact, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, around one in five people in the United States have some degree of misalignment. While some people may feel like they need to live with it, there are actually several ways to fix teeth misalignment! Keep reading to learn more about how you can get the perfect smile.
What Causes Teeth Misalignment?
Several things can cause teeth misalignment, from genetics to injury. Some of the most common causes include:
One of the most common causes of teeth misalignment is genetics. If your parents or grandparents had teeth that were not properly aligned, you might be more likely to have the same issue. However, this does not mean that you are guaranteed to have misaligned teeth. There are other factors that can influence whether or not your teeth become misaligned.
Poor Oral Hygiene Habits
Another common cause of teeth misalignment is poor oral hygiene habits. This includes things like not brushing your teeth regularly or not flossing. When you don’t brush and floss, plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. This can cause your teeth to become misaligned over time.
Injury to the Mouth or Face
The third most common cause of teeth misalignment is an injury to the mouth or face. This could be something like getting hit in the mouth with a ball or falling and hitting your face on the ground. These injuries can cause your teeth to become loose, eventually leading to them becoming misaligned.
Another potential cause of misaligned teeth is thumb sucking, especially if it continues for a long period. When you suck on your thumb puts pressure on the teeth and jaw, leading to misalignment over time.
How Can I Fix Teeth Misalignment?
The good news is that there are several ways to fix teeth misalignment, depending on the severity of your case.
Mild Teeth Misalignment
If your teeth misalignment is mild, you may be able to correct it with at-home treatments like wearing dental appliances or doing specific exercises. Dental appliances include things like retainers and mouthguards, which need to be custom-fitted by an orthodontist or dentist.
These appliances work by gently shifting your teeth into the correct position over time. As for exercises, some people find relief by massaging their gums or doing tongue exercises designed to improve alignment.
Moderate Teeth Misalignment
If at-home treatments don’t work or your teeth misalignment is more severe, you may need to see an orthodontist for help. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in correcting bites and realigning teeth. They’ll likely recommend one of two main types of treatment: traditional braces or clear aligners (also called Invisalign).
Traditional braces use metal brackets and wires to slowly move your teeth into position over a period of months or years, while clear aligners are clear plastic trays that fit snugly over your teeth and need to be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day.
Severe Teeth Misalignment
In some cases, teeth misalignment is so severe that it can’t be corrected with braces or aligners alone. In these cases, you may need jaw surgery to correct the problem. This type of surgery is usually only recommended if you have an overbite or underbite that’s causing pain or making it difficult to eat or speak properly.
Surgery involves breaking the bones in your jaw and realigning them so that your teeth fit together correctly. It’s a serious procedure that comes with a lengthy recovery time, so it’s usually only considered a last resort. However, jaw surgery can have life-changing results for those with severely misaligned teeth.
How to Prevent Teeth Misalignment
You can take steps to prevent teeth misalignment or prevent it from worsening. These include practicing good oral hygiene habits (brushing twice a day and flossing daily), avoiding using your teeth as tools (for example, don’t bite your nails or open packages with your teeth), quitting any bad habits like smoking or thumb-sucking, and wearing a mouthguard while playing sports. See your dentist for regular checkups, as they can spot any potential jaw or teeth issues before they become more serious. The bottom line is that there are ways to fix misaligned teeth, but it’s best to try and prevent it from happening in the first place.
If you feel like your teeth are misaligned, don’t worry—you’re not alone! There are several ways to fix this problem, from braces and retainers to surgery and clear aligners. Talk to your dentist about which treatment option is right for you, and soon you’ll have the perfect smile!