Will Clear Aligners Really Fix Crowded Teeth?

woman with crowded teeth

Having crowded or crooked teeth is a common problem. In addition to causing self-consciousness when you smile, crowded teeth increase oral health problems because they can be difficult to clean. Clear aligners are a popular and effective orthodontic treatment method to correct this problem.

What Causes Crowded Teeth?

Primary teeth and permanent teeth can either grow in crooked or become that way over time. The more crooked your teeth, the more that crowding is an issue. With baby teeth, they sometimes become crooked because they are not large enough to fit into the available gum space. Childhood habits such as thumb-sucking or using a pacifier can disrupt the proper alignment of primary teeth.

Children who have crowded baby teeth do not always have crowded adult teeth, but the likelihood is higher. When children lose a primary tooth prematurely due to an accident or decay, the permanent tooth can grow in crooked. Other factors that can cause crooked teeth include:

  • Facial injury: Trauma to the mouth can knock one or more teeth out of place and make them crowded.
  • Genetic factors: You are more likely to have crowded or crooked teeth if one or both of your parents did.
  • Jaw size: Many Americans consume a diet made up of mostly soft, processed foods that require less chewing than food in the past did. Over the years, the dramatic change in diet has caused a collective shrinking of people’s jaws. Some scientists speculate that smaller jaw size has resulted in more people than ever having crowded or misaligned teeth.
  • Misaligned jaw: Technically known as malocclusion, having a misaligned jaw means your teeth are out of alignment. With anatomically correct jaw alignment, the upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth. The points of the upper molars should connect evenly with the points of the lower molars. You have an overbite when your front teeth protrude out significantly from your lower teeth. An underbite is when your lower teeth extend the furthest.
  • Poor nutrition: Not including enough healthy foods in the diet, especially during childhood, can lead to chaotic tooth eruption and tooth decay. Both issues are common causes of crowded teeth.
    Poor oral healthcare: Taking inconsistent care of your teeth at home and not visiting the dentist on schedule can cause issues such as gum disease or tooth decay. These issues can in turn lead to problems with crowded teeth.

Regardless of how you developed crooked teeth, lack of orthodontic treatment increases your risk of several oral health issues.

Problems Caused by Crowded Teeth

Self-consciousness is a common issue for people who have crowded teeth. Other possible oral health problems include:

  • Chewing and digestion of food: Crowded teeth can make chewing difficult or painful, resulting in problems with digestion due to food not breaking down as it should.
    Excess wear: Non-corrected crowded teeth can cause pressure on all teeth. The problem can also lead to gum pain, jaw pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), chronic headaches, and cracked teeth.
  • Gum disease: Because it is challenging to clean between crowded teeth, you have a higher risk of developing gum disease than people with straight teeth. Untreated gum disease can eventually cause periodontal disease, an infection that causes damage to teeth and their bone structure.
  • Unclear speech: Crowded teeth can prevent you from producing speech sounds correctly, making it difficult for others to understand you. When this happens often enough, you might start isolating yourself to prevent feeling embarrassed.

Why Clear Aligners Can Be an Excellent Treatment Option for Crowded Teeth

Clear aligners like ALIGNERCO place pressure on crowded teeth to move and create space between them. Your orthodontist customizes each aligner to fit securely over each tooth. Approximately every two weeks, you discard the aligner you are wearing and replace it with the next one in the set. Each new aligner brings a slight increase in pressure to prompt your crowded teeth to move. However, traditional metal braces may be a more appropriate option if you have severely crowded or crooked teeth or problems with jaw alignment.

Be sure to check out our review of clear aligner companies.

Clear aligners offer several benefits over regular braces, including a shorter treatment time. The thing patients seem to appreciate about them the most is that their transparency makes it difficult for others to detect. Many adults, especially those in professional careers, do not want everyone to know they are receiving orthodontic treatment.

If you are tired of living with crowded teeth, your first step is to visit an orthodontist for an evaluation. The orthodontist will complete an examination, including digital X-rays. He or she will also explain whether you are a good candidate for clear aligners and provide other treatment options if you are not.