You may associate crowded teeth with children and teens, but adults can also experience crowding of the teeth even if their teeth were perfectly straight in their youth. As you age your bone density can decrease and this can cause your jaw to shrink and reduce the space available for your teeth. Crowding can happen very slowly over a number of years or relatively quickly over a few months depending on a number of factors, such as the size of your jaw and overall oral health. Crowding causes some of your teeth to twist and can move your smile out of alignment. It can also make it difficult to properly clean the affected teeth, as you may not be able to get your floss between teeth that are overlapping. Read on to learn about three options for treating crowded teeth in adults.
Braces are a cost-effective treatment option for teeth crowding, but they do require regular adjustments to keep them tight as your teeth straighten. You'll need to cut some foods out of your diet, such as nuts, popcorn, crunchy vegetables and chewy bread products, and you may also have to change the products you use to clean your teeth. For example, it may be necessary to switch to an interdental toothbrush that can safely reach behind your braces without causing damage.
Aligners are more discreet than braces and consist of a plastic tray that's customised for your mouth. You'll be fitted for a new aligner regularly as your teeth move. Aligners can be removed to clean your teeth and eat, so no dietary changes are required. They tend to be more expensive than braces, and you may need to wear aligners for a longer period of time, but if you think you'd feel self-conscious with braces, aligners may be the right option for you.
Contouring is a cosmetic dental procedure that can be suitable to treat minor crowding of your teeth. This treatment option does not move your teeth back into alignment the way aligners and braces do. Instead, the affected teeth are reshaped to allow them to fit better and look straight. The part of your tooth that's overlapping is shaved down, which will reduce the enamel on your tooth's surface. Contouring is irreversible and there's no guarantee that additional crowding and movement of the teeth won't take place after your contouring procedure.
If you'd like to know more about the treatment options for crowding of the teeth, contact your local dental centre for information.