When Crooked Teeth Hurt: 3 Common Oral Problems Associated With Crooked Teeth

While most people want to straighten their teeth to improve the appearance of their smile, crooked teeth are far more than a cosmetic concern. There are serious oral health issues that can develop if crooked and misaligned teeth are not properly evaluated and treated by a dentist or orthodontist. Following are just a few of the more common oral problems that are associated with crooked teeth. 

Chewing Problems

Most chewing problems develop when teeth are crooked and/or crowded enough to cause bite issues, such as overbite, underbite, crossbite or open bite. In some cases, these bite issues can be present even in the absence of crowding and misaligned teeth. Bite issues, referred to as a malocclusion of the teeth, are present when the upper teeth and lower teeth do not come together properly during chewing. Malocclusion can lead to a whole host of oral symptoms, including biting of the cheeks and tongue, discomfort while chewing, speech problems and breathing problems. This condition may even alter your appearance and can cause pain in your jaw, neck and head.  

Jaw Strain

Malocclusion can lead to several musculosketetal problems involving the jaw, which are commonly referred to as temporomandibular disorders or TMDs. These disorders can affect the muscles that control the jaw and the jaw joints along with other structures found within the head and neck. Symptoms of jaw disorders include headache, muscle spasms, toothache, facial pain, pain in the neck and clicking in the jaw. 

Tooth Decay

Crowded and crooked teeth can make it very difficult to clean all your teeth properly, because they make it hard to reach all the surfaces of your teeth with a toothbrush or dental floss. Additionally, if you have jaw problems or bite problems due to your teeth placement, you might not be able to open your mouth far enough to clean all your teeth. When you can't clean your teeth properly, you are at a greater risk of tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. 

The treatments available for crooked teeth and malocclusion vary greatly and are prescribed on an individual basis. Some treatments include braces, tooth removal, tooth reshaping, jaw wires or plates, and surgery to fix the jaw. Some people may only have to wear a removable retainer. 

Since there are so many oral conditions associated with crooked teeth, it's vital that you have yours checked out by your dentist. At your visit, your dentist can check your bite and see if your crowded teeth have the potential to cause you further problems. Talk to a specialist like Olympia Dental and Implant Center today for more information.