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How to fix crooked teeth (everything you need to know)

woman with straight teeth

You don’t need to have perfect teeth to show off your smile and feel good about yourself.

There’s beauty in imperfection, after all!

But there’s good reason to consider having your crooked teeth straightened – beyond aesthetics.

You see, children and adults with misaligned teeth often have problems chewing their food, and may even experience speech difficulties.

Other side-effects include:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Low self-esteem
  • Digestion issues (due to an inability to chew food properly)
  • A clicking jaw

It’s also harder to properly clean crooked teeth, which increases your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease.

What causes crooked teeth?

There are many factors that can cause crooked teeth, such as genetics, jaw injury, malnutrition, tooth extractions, thumb sucking and prolonged use of a pacifier as a toddler.

Whatever the cause, orthodontic treatment can straighten your teeth, improve your oral hygiene and lift your confidence.

The rest of this article will explore the different options for straightening your teeth.

But before we get into that, it’s important to say you should never try to straighten your teeth at home (by using a borrowed retainer or equipment you’ve made yourself). Not only is this unlikely to work, it can also damage your teeth and gums.

Crooked teeth treatments (orthodontic)

Braces (fixed to the teeth)

Wearing metal or ceramic braces for 18 to 24 months is one of the most popular ways to straighten your teeth. It’s a good option for people who have mild to severe misalignment issues.

These appliances are bonded onto teeth with metal wires, O-rings and brackets: a system which gradually shifts teeth into their ideal position over time. The system cannot be removed during the treatment phase.

The braces are tightened at follow-up appointments, which occur every month or two.

Ceramic braces tend to be more discreet, as they blend with your tooth enamel. Metal braces are a good option for people who want to make a fashion statement with fun colours (which can be changed at every appointment – teens love this!).

SureSmile (removable clear aligners)

These removable, clear aligners are worn for six to 18 months, but must be removed when you’re eating or playing contact sports (as long as you keep them in your mouth for at least 20 hours a day).

SureSmile works in a similar way to braces, by shifting teeth into place over time. However, the pressure applied isn’t as strong – so it isn’t suitable for complicated cases.

This is a wonderful option for people who feel self-conscious about getting orthodontic treatment. The clear aligners are difficult for others to see, so it’s very discreet.

Jaw surgery

In some cases, a minor procedure is required to adjust the gums and bones. If you have problems eating or speaking, you may need orthognathic surgery to realign the jaw.

Retainers for slightly crooked teeth

Your dentist may decide to straighten your teeth with only a fixed retainer, if your crookedness is mild and therefore easy to treat.

Veneers for mild misalignment (cosmetic illusion only)

Porcelain veneers won’t fix the alignment of your teeth at all, but they can make your teeth APPEAR straighter by hiding imperfections. This is a cosmetic illusion only, there are no structural changes – your teeth remain in the same position.

Are you thinking about straightening your crooked teeth?

Our friendly team is based in Wahroonga, and we’re committed to providing the best dental care. Fill out this form or call us on (02) 9489 1107 to book an appointment.

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