Years ago, when I was a young pup, I was told if I had my wisdom teeth out that I would never need braces because there would be plenty of room for my teeth. Fast forward an intentionally unspecified number of years and I find my teeth getting crowded and crooked. My dentist suggested orthodontics. Why would I need those if I had my wisdom teeth out? Did I do something to cause this? Is there an alternative to a mouth full of metal?
Our teeth are not permanently positioned. So, movement is possible even as an adult. Here are some issues adults face:
- One big culprit for adults is bruxism or teeth grinding. You may not even realize you are doing it because most people do it at night while they are sleeping. Your dentist could tell you if there are signs of wear on your teeth which would be an indicator. If you do grind your teeth, you will want to wear a night guard to protect them. Otherwise, you can grind them down to nubs and the repair for that is tens of thousands of dollars.
- Tooth loss is another issue adults can face. If you do not replace the lost tooth, even if it is in the back, the other teeth will shift or tip into the empty space. Depending on the direction the tooth goes this can cause crowding toward the front.
- Another possibility is poorly done dental work. If you have a dental crown placed that doesn’t fit the way it should it could shift the other teeth to make room for it.
- Sometimes an injury or trauma to your teeth or jaw can impact the placement of your teeth.
- Gum disease is another culprit. When gum disease is left untreated, then you end up losing some bone structure which loosens teeth and causes them to shift or even fall out. Smokers may not even realize they have gum disease because the nicotine in cigarettes masks the most common symptoms.
Invisalign – The Braces Alternative
My suggestion is you get evaluated by a dentist who offers Invisalign. Instead of the metal wires and brackets that nobody wants to wear, Invisalign uses clear aligners that gently guide your teeth back into their proper alignment. These not only work faster than braces, but they are invisible to others even at a conversational distance.
There is a hidden benefit too, which is especially helpful to those of us in an undisclosed age range. The aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This allows you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time, essentially giving you a mini smile makeover.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.