Table of contents
- Periodontal ligament
- More About The Teeth
- About Misaligned Teeth or Jaws
- What Are The Symptoms?
- Risk Factors
- Can You Prevent Misalignment And Other Issues?
- What Treatment Is Available For Misaligned Teeth?
We may know bits and bobs about the human body, but many of us have no idea about one of the body parts we use multiple times a day, without fail – the teeth. Sure, we have enamel, and many of us have heard of that because we know we’re supposed to look after it. What about the other components of the teeth? Understanding your teeth can help you to ensure you keep your mouth healthy, and could even help you to identify a problem before calling to book in with a dental professional. This is not only good for you, but good for your family if you have kids. Looking after children’s teeth is one of the best things for them while they are young, as it’ll help to save them a lot of pain and hassle in the long run. Educating yourself can help you to educate the people you love.
The teeth are the hardest substance in the human body. They are essential for chewing, and play a very important role in the shape of the face, how we talk, and more. If we have problems with the health of our teeth, then the rest of our health and wellbeing can easily be affected. Teeth that have unaddressed cavities can be extremely painful and become sensitive. Without treatment, issues like periodontal disease can occur. Misaligned teeth present a different set of problems: teeth can become chipped, wear down more easily, and you may find that you struggle to communicate as well as you would like.
Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the teeth and various components.
This is the hardest, white part of the tooth. Most people have heard of the enamel, as it’s important to protect it. If it wears off, then you can’t get it back. Enamel is mostly made of calcium phosphate, which is a mineral as hard as a rock. You can make your enamel wear away if you brush your teeth too hard or use a frayed toothbrush. Try to use an electric or sonic toothbrush, letting it do the work for you and changing the head regularly. Many good toothbrushes will tell you when to do this.
This is the layer underneath the enamel. It’s a hard tissue, and when your enamel is damaged hot and cold foods can come through and cause sensitivity.
This is the soft part of the tooth. It’s the living inner structure of the teeth, and the blood vessels and nerves run through here.
This is a layer of connective tissue binding the roots of the teeth to the gums and the jawbone.
This is tissue that helps to hold the teeth against the jaw.
More About The Teeth
The standard adult mouth has 32 teeth, and these all tend to come through before the age of 13. Wisdom teeth are an exception to this. We usually have:
- 8 Incisors. These are the middle four teeth on the upper and lower jaws.
- 4 Canines. These are the pointed teeth outside of the incisors.
- 8 Premolars. These are the teeth between the canines and molars.
- 8 Molars. These are the flat teeth found at the back of the mouth, the best teeth for grinding food.
- 4 Wisdom teeth. They erupt at age 18, but not everybody experiences issues with them, or has all 4 erupt. They may take longer to erupt, or not erupt at all. They are often surgically removed when associated with problems, as they can cause pain, develop infection (they are hard to keep clean), and can push other teeth out of alignment.
Each tooth has a crown that projects into the mouth. The root of each tooth descends below the gum line and goes right into the jaw.
About Misaligned Teeth or Jaws
Each and every person has a unique set of teeth. There’s a far more noticeable difference in those who have misaligned teeth, however. In some cases, one tooth may be affected. In other cases, several teeth and even the position of the jawbone may be involved.
A severe misalignment can cause issues with chewing, speaking, and even breathing. Psychological wellbeing is often affected. Removable or fixed braces are often used to correct these types of problems.
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms will depend on how severe the misalignment is. Some may notice problems when they eat, drink, sleep, and even breathe. Affected teeth may become wobbly and begin to decay. Jaw joints may become painful.
Children and teenagers especially may struggle with their self esteem, as other children may point this out and make them feel different. People who have crooked teeth and/or an uneven may feel less attractive or confident as a result. This is especially true if they are unable to speak like other people, and may even begin to avoid contact with others.
You will usually notice the symptoms, but they may be more subtle. Again, it all depends on the individual. This is why paying close attention to changes and visiting a trusted orthodontist is key.
Certain habits can be risk factors. For instance, sucking the thumb or using a pacifier for children. This is the reason many children grow up to have misaligned teeth, and many parents are unaware that this is what causes it. Genes can even play a role, so certain issues may run in families. However, misaligned teeth and jawbones are fairly common and can be corrected using various methods.
The misalignment of the teeth may actually get better or worse by the time the jawbone has stopped growing.
Many parents notice themselves that their child has a misaligned jaw or misaligned teeth. You may be able to clearly see it. Doctors or dentists may be the first to notice, though, if the issues are a bit more subtle. The child is usually referred to a specialist known as an orthodontist to figure out whether treatment needs to take place. They will examine their teeth, mouth, and the rest of their head to figure out if it’s something to be concerned about. The orthodontist will usually take x-rays and make plaster models of the teeth too.
Specialized doctors may also need to be paid a visit to see what’s going on. If the airways are narrow, for instance, then visiting an ear, nose, and throat specialist is a good idea. The teeth work holistically with many other areas of the face and neck, and so it’s a good idea to have all of them checked over so you know exactly what the problem is.
Can You Prevent Misalignment And Other Issues?
Stopping habits like thumb sucking before children become too dependent on them is a good idea. You can use certain creams to try to stop kids from doing this, but it is usually a comfort habit. See if there’s something else they can use, like a special blanket. In a lot of cases, you won’t be able to prevent it. If the issue runs in the family, all you can do is treat it.
What Treatment Is Available For Misaligned Teeth?
Misaligned teeth must be treated by an orthodontist if they are causing issues. This treatment can involve wearing fixed or removable braces. Both types of braces can even be used to correct the position of the teeth and align the jaws to improve the bite. This should be done between the ages of 12 and 16 to ensure maximum effect. Remember that by that time the baby teeth have already been replaced by permanent teeth, but the jawbones are still growing. Sometimes children already have treatment with braces between the ages of 6 and 8, but this is early treatment and may not be suitable for everyone.
If you are an adult looking for an affordable and effective way to correct misaligned teeth, our invisible aligners could help. You don’t need to visit a dentist’s office. Simply take an impression of your teeth and send them back to us to receive your braces and treatment plan.
Treatment phases with braces are usually around 2 years. After this, a retainer must be used to ensure the teeth stay in their new position. If treatment is undertaken at a dentist, the retainer may consist of a wire glued to the back of the front teeth so that it doesn’t need to be removed and put back in all the time, but others may be fine putting it in each night. Active treatment and retention takes approximately 3-4 years. However, a retainer may need to be worn longer depending on the type of misalignment.
Treatment with braces can only work if children and teenagers and even adults are committed to using them properly. In other words, if they keep their teeth and braces clean and wear removable braces as often as they are told to. Treating teeth early on could well help children to avoid expensive and painful dental work in the future, as well as issues with self esteem and confidence.