The Oral Health Consequences Of Tooth Crowding

While most people seek orthodontic services because of crooked teeth or bite misalignments, an orthodontist can also treat you if your teeth are crowded. Crowding can cause a number of different dental and health problems, and if it's not treated properly, it may result in tooth loss. Here are some consequences of tooth crowding that you should talk to your orthodontist about.

Higher Risk Of Decay And Gingivitis

When your teeth are crowded, you may be unable to brush and floss them properly. Because of this, plaque may harden into tartar in between your teeth and under your gum line. When this happens, an inflammatory response may be triggered, resulting in gum disease, infections, and decay.

If your teeth are crowded, your orthodontist may recommend that you augment brushing and flossing with an antimicrobial mouthwash to help eliminate bacteria and plaque that you are unable to reach with your toothbrush and dental floss. Braces will help treat your crowded teeth so that they have more space in between them and so they don't overlap. Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, your risk for cavities and gum disease will decline.

Jaw Pain

Another reason why your orthodontist may recommend braces for your crowded teeth is that crowding can lead to severe jaw pain. In addition to jaw pain, crowding can cause pain to radiate to your head and neck, and it may even lead to malocclusion and chewing problems.

If dental crowding is causing jaw or other pain, avoid foods that are difficult to chew. Instead, eat soft foods such as soups, cooked vegetables, bananas. puddings, stews, and chopped lean meat. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen will also help ease your pain; however, keep in mind that these medications are only recommended for short-term use. You will need orthodontic services for a long-term solution to dental crowding and pain. After your braces have been removed, you will no longer have jaw pain or referred pain to the head and neck. 

If your teeth are crowded, make an appointment with an orthodontist. He or she will perform a comprehensive examination, which may include regular x-rays and panoramic images of your teeth and jaw. Once the results of your diagnostic imaging tests have been evaluated, your orthodontist will develop a treatment plan. If your crowding is extreme, you may need to wear your braces for an extended period of time. You will also need to wear a retainer after your braces come off to keep your teeth from shifting back into place. Contact an orthodontist like David W Hyten DMD to learn more.