We’ve been publishing articles about some of the latest and greatest advancements in Orthodontics for some time now, but completely forgot to mention to the newbie, why you would even need an orthodontist to take a look at your teeth in the first place! Well let’s get back to the basics with this overview of some common issues that can beset a person and the solutions a certified orthodontist can provide!

This week we are going to discuss two pretty common issues that, if left unaddressed, can lead to problems: crowding and spacing. Both serve as an excellent reminder of why Orthodontics should not be viewed as a purely esthetic or cosmetic dental solution, but rather, as a preventive measure intended to restore proper function of your teeth. As you will soon learn, Orthodontics is about achieving the best possible chances for ongoing oral health success! Let’s get started.

Orthodontic Issue # 1. Your teeth look crowded.

Crowded teeth

Crowded teeth

  1. Crowding refers to a general lack of space for your teeth. They don’t fit normally within the jaw and can be a detriment to your overall oral health in the following ways.
  2. Crowded teeth make it very difficult to properly clean your teeth. There just isn’t enough room to get in between the teeth and you can’t brush or floss properly.
  3. As a result of poor oral hygiene caused by crowding, dental decay can persist which can lead to even more serious issues like root canals or extractions.
  4. Also, with severe crowding the teeth may not get to function the way they were intended to, which can lead to ‘bite’ issues (such as undue tension in the jaw which in turn can lead to TMJ pain, headaches, and in extreme cases, migraines).
  5. Generally, a crowded smile is esthetically less attractive than a properly aligned smile, but more then just good looks, we have to consider proper function. A poorly aligned smile definitely compromises tooth function.

When you think of your teeth, it’s useful to compare them to dominos. You know that game we all played as kids, where we’d line up one domino and push it over and watch all the others fall in sequence? Trust me, it’s a lot less fun when that’s your teeth.

Using this comparison; a problem affecting one or more teeth can very easily begin to compromise others and, if left unaddressed, can create more serious, and ultimately more expensive issues! Just like a falling domino, a tooth that was previously secure and well seated, can become loose and mis-aligned because of an adjacent tooth. All of this is completely avoidable with proper tooth alignment and subsequent retention. This is where an orthodontist is your best possible partner for achieving tooth alignment and long term proper function of your teeth and jaw.

Issue # 2 Related to crowding is Spacing (essentially the opposite of crowding

Example of spacing

Example of spacing

This is caused by an overabundance of space between the teeth and this excess room for your teeth results in gaps between your teeth that can cause some dental problems.

Large spaces at the back of the mouth (due to missing or extracted teeth) can lead to tipping of adjacent teeth. This can prevent your dentist from eventually restoring the spaces with implants or bridges. Sometimes if the patient is young enough, these spaces can be closed orthodontically using braces. If the plan is not to close the space, a simple retainer can keep things in place. It is much harder to recover these spaces once the unwanted tipping has occurred.

Small spaces at the back of the mouth are generally considered to be non-cleansable and act as food traps in a similar fashion to crowding. These spaces can be closed but depends on many factors such as the age of the patient, the bite, the appliance used, etc.Small spaces at the front of the mouth are generally considered unesthetic. It is very common to have small upper lateral incisors. Depending on the situation, the spaces can be completely closed, or more commonly, re-arranged to optimize ideal bonding, veneers, or crowns on these teeth.

The Bottom line: take your tooth alignment seriously and consider taking the necessary steps to prevent any of these issues from happening in the first place. Contact our Orthodontic Office in Vaughan if you have any questions.

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