How Do Orthodontists Fix Tooth Crowding?

All adults naturally have 32 teeth. Ideally, all these teeth should fit comfortably in your mouth. Unfortunately, sometimes tooth crowding can occur. Tooth crowding can create a whole host of problems, such as misaligned teeth, pain, or even impacted teeth. Overcrowding can occur if wisdom teeth aren't removed or if your teeth are simply too large for your mouth. People with small jaws are more likely to experience overcrowding than others. Here are three ways your orthodontist can fix your tooth crowding issue:

1. Extraction

Tooth extraction is the primary method used to treat overcrowding. In some cases, tooth extraction is routine, as in the case of wisdom teeth. Most people have their wisdom teeth pulled preventatively, even if those teeth are unlikely to impact other teeth. This is because wisdom teeth can contribute to tooth crowding. Wisdom teeth can be extracted surgically before they emerge and before they can have the chance to cause tooth misalignment.

Your orthodontist may also recommend extraction of other teeth in order to make room in your mouth. Extraction is typically performed before you get braces. Your mouth will be allowed to heal, and the space left behind by your missing tooth will eventually be filled by your remaining teeth once your orthodontic treatment is complete.

2. Tooth Reduction

If you prefer not to have teeth extracted and the crowding in your mouth is mild, tooth reduction is an option you can consider. During tooth reduction, your dentist will use an electronic tool to carefully remove enamel from the sides of your teeth. This will make your teeth slightly smaller, creating gaps between your teeth. Your orthodontist can utilize these gaps to move your teeth into a more ideal position.

3. Palate Expansion

If a small jaw is the source of your tooth crowding problem, palate expansion can help. In order to expand your palate, your orthodontist will fit you with palate expanding hardware. This hardware will be widened gradually, which will push your palate apart. Palate expansion is an ideal choice for teenagers who have yet to complete puberty since their jaw is still growing. This stage of unfinished growth is the ideal time for orthodontic treatment.

If tooth crowding is causing spacing issues, crooked, or misaligned teeth, an orthodontist can help. Using a combination of these techniques, they can help you achieve straight, healthy teeth. Many of these treatments can be used in conjunction with metal braces, ceramic braces, or even clear aligners.