Most people aren’t born with perfectly straight teeth, and having crooked teeth can range from being a cosmetic nuisance to interfering with how someone chews and speaks. Crooked and misaligned teeth can also be traps for food particles, making it easier for plaque buildup to form and for teeth to decay.
Crooked teeth are common, and there are a number of options for how to treat or straighten them. Here are some of these options:
- Braces – Braces are the most common method of correcting crooked teeth, particularly for teenagers. Braces apply steady pressure over a long period of time gradually move your teeth into alignment. There are many different kinds of braces now, from the traditional metal braces to ceramic, tooth-colored braces. An option for minimally crooked teeth is lingual braces, which are attached to the back of your teeth and not visible when you smile.“Invisible” braces are also increasingly popular. These involve getting custom-molded clear plastic aligners that fit tightly over your teeth, and are removed when you eat or when need to be cleaned.
- Veneers – Non-severe cases of uneven teeth or teeth with gaps between them can be addressed with porcelain veneers. Veneers are thin, custom-made porcelain shells placed over and then bonded to the front of the tooth. Veneers consist of a tooth-colored material that looks very similar to natural teeth, and repel stains from beverages like tea, coffee, wine and soda. Veneers can last decades, and require minimal adjustment to your natural teeth– usually the natural tooth has to be shaved down a bit to make room for the veneer.
- Dental Bonding – Dental bonding is similar to veneers, in that a tooth-colored material is applied and shaped to the tooth, but then it is hardened with a special light. Dental bonding is not as effective as veneers, and not as durable and stain-resistant. But the benefits of dental bonding is that it does not require impressions be made of your natural teeth which are then sent to a lab to be made into veneers. Dental bonding takes about an hour at the dentist, and is also much more cost-effective. Bonding can crack with constant chewing of hard foods, and touch ups may be needed.
- Recontouring – Recontouring teeth involves reshaping them by removing small amounts of enamel and changing the tooth’s length or shape. It’s typically done to balance teeth out and to even out a person’s bite. Recontouring is best for minor teeth problems, particularly when teeth are too long or irregularly shaped at the ends.
- Crowns – If the entire structure of the tooth is off, or if a cavity or root canal has caused the tooth to be crooked, a crown may be an option. Crowns are tooth-shaped covers that go over the entire tooth, and are matched to the natural color of your teeth. Crowns usually last between 10-15 years, depending on what they’re made out of, and are susceptible to stress and trauma like natural teeth.
No matter the severity of one’s crooked teeth, there is an option available to address them and create a smile you are truly happy with. Dr. Djuric is a leading cosmetic and implant dentist with over 25 years experience. If you have crooked teeth and would like to know your options, please call us to setup a consultation – (850) 542-4428.