Contrary to popular notion, we can prevent crooked teeth in both children and adults. As that statement implies, it is true that even adults can get crooked teeth later on in their lives if they are not careful about preventing bad habits from developing. Given that malocclusions can not only hinder an otherwise perfect smile, but also make us more susceptible to a variety of oral health problems, it would be particularly useful to know the preventive measures. With the notion of “prevention being the best cure” in focus, let’s now find out more about how to avoid dental misalignments in children and adults.
A Brief Overview of Malocclusions, aka Crooked Teeth
Before learning about ways to prevent something, we should at least get to know what it is first. Crooked teeth, misalignment and malocclusion are all terms that describe oral misalignments. Although malocclusion is a cluster term, there are various types of crooked teeth, which can be divided into a few primary categories, as stated below:
- Overcrowding: Overlapping, overcrowded, crooked teeth on the upper, lower, or both rows of teeth
- Overbite: Multiple or all of the teeth in the upper set overlap the set of teeth below
- Underbite: Two or more of the frontal teeth are overlapped by their counterparts in the lower row of teeth
- Crossbite: Similar to an underbite, but instead of just the frontal teeth, multiple other teeth on the upper set are also overlapped by the lower set
- Open Bite: Someone with an open bite cannot clench their teeth without leaving a prominent gap between the two sets
- Diastema: Diastema is often used to describe a prominent gap between the two frontal teeth, but it also applies to spaced teeth in general
- Tooth Agenesis: This refers to a set of conditions where an adult tooth never grew out to fill the gap it was supposed to; aka missing tooth
- Impacted Tooth: A half-grown, crooked, misaligned adult tooth that never managed to replace the milk tooth it was supposed to
- Overjet: Unlike an overbite where the upper set of teeth only overlaps the lower set, an overjet is a visible, horizontal protrusion of the upper jaw and teeth
How to Fix Malocclusions that are Already There
If the malocclusion is already there, be it congenital, or acquired, we need a solution, and it almost always comes in the form of braces. Children will need to visit the orthodontist to get their teeth properly aligned, but adults and late teens can do it at home by themselves.
At a small fraction of what the orthodontist will charge you, clear aligners from ALIGNERCO will straighten your teeth in roughly six to eleven months’ time. They can be taken out by the wearer at night for cleaning, or before eating for maintaining maximum oral hygiene. Since these are clear braces, they are nearly invisible to onlookers. Visit ALIGNERCO to know more about the whole system of straightening your teeth at home. They even have a monthly payment plan going for those that do not have the cash to pay right away.
How to Prevent Malocclusions in Children?
There are two main aspects to consider if you wish to stop your children from developing crooked teeth, which we will detail next.
Fallen Milk Tooth/Teeth
It is an inevitable part of growing up of course, but unlike most of our other natural processes, the transition from milk teeth to adult teeth is seldom smooth. You need to always pay special attention to your child’s fallen tooth/teeth, because the first few times a gap is created, it must be followed up by a check-up at the dentist’s. The dentist will look at how the surrounding teeth are behaving, as well as the condition and inclination of the tooth that’s about to replace the missing tooth. If they detect that there are chances of spacing, overcrowding, etc. appropriate measures will be taken and the malocclusion can be avoided easily.
This is the number one reason in not just the United States, but pretty much the entire world for children developing crooked teeth. While it is perfectly natural for children to suck their thumbs until the age of 4 or 5, the faster you are able to stop them from doing so, the better are their chances of having a perfect smile. Don’t ever force it though, because it’s a natural oral stage which needs to be handled with care.
How to Prevent Malocclusions in Adults
Malocclusions in adults can be easily avoided as we are discussing aware and developed individuals here, but that’s only if they are indeed aware of what bad habits can lead to crooked teeth. Check the following to know what the most important steps are to preventing malocclusions in adults:
Sleeping on your tummy will lead to crooked teeth due to the repetitive, uneven pressure this bad habit exerts on your upper set of teeth. It’s even worse for your back, so force a change in your sleeping posture. It might not be easy to make the shift and it won’t happen overnight, but as long as you consciously try to sleep on your back every night, the body will eventually catch on.
Adults can end up sucking their thumbs during the night too in rare cases, but more often than not, it’s something that they do subconsciously during the waking hours that leads to misalignments. It could be anything from chewing on the end of a pencil or pen, to grinding teeth; if you are doing things with your mouth subconsciously, you need to stop it consciously.
That’s all there is to it, but additional measures might still be suggested by your dentist. For the most part though, paying attention to these few habits should help both children and adults avoid malocclusions quite easily.