A common misconception is that having crooked teeth is simply a cosmetic issue. In this journal post we go over some of the major consequences your "crooked teeth" can have on your oral health beyond cosmetics and appearance.

First, it is important to point out that the term crooked teeth is very misleading and overly simplistic. What may look to you as nothing more than crooked teeth is almost always a manifestation of a bigger problem. Interestingly, in the world of orthodontics, even the simplest tooth alignment issue is referred to as a malocclusion (mal=bad, occlusion=bite). So from now on, we will start using the term “bad bite” to refer to all tooth alignment issues.

What are the consequences of having crooked teeth or a bad bite?

There are many bad consequences of bad bite, here are some of the most common ones:

1. A bad bite may affect your chewing habits and even your speech

If your front teeth do not touch when you bite down, this means you have an open bite. An open bite affects the ability to cut food with your front teeth (incisors), increases pressure and wear of your back teeth (molars) and may negatively impact your speech.

2. A bad bite may cause excessive tooth wear, chipping and even fracture

On the other hand, if your front teeth overlap the bottom teeth excessively, this is called an increased overbite with increased the wear of your front teeth causing them to chip and break over time. A severe overbite dramatically increases the risk of losing one or more of your front teeth due to trauma. A bad bite localized to one or few teeth may cause excessive enamel wear, tooth fracture and gum recession, all of which are difficult (and expensive) problems to fix.

3. A bad bite may cause gum recession

Gingival recession refers to the loss of gum tissue that covers teeth roots. Gums can recede for a variety of reasons but a bad bite or bad tooth position are important and common factors. Gum recession is difficult to treat and often requires a painful and expensive gum surgery. Correcting your bite and aligning your teeth properly may be the only way to prevent progression of gum recession.

4. A bad bite can contribute to periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is a chronic condition affecting the bone and tissues holding your teeth in your jaw. Advanced periodontal disease ultimately leads to tooth loss. A bad bite or bad tooth/teeth positions may create areas that are impossible to clean properly which accelerates periodontal disease and tooth loss.

5. A bad bite may affect your breathing and your sleep

Sleep disturbances, breathing problems, snoring, sleep apnea are all serious medical problems that may be caused but a bad bite. Underdeveloped jaws may be the underlying cause and orthodontic treatment can be the best treatment if that’s the case!

6. A bad bite may cause restorations, crowns and/or implants to fail

Imagine spending thousands of dollars on new veneers or implants only to deal with failures and breakage a few days/weeks after! Placing restorations with a bad bite is like putting a band-aid on an infected wound. Unfortunately, this issue is often misdiagnosed as bad lab work or bad cement while in fact it is related to a bad bite.

7. A bad bite never gets better and almost certainly gets worse with time!

Believe it or not, your jaws continue to grow and change throughout life! What this means is that your teeth will continue to shift making your current problems worse over time. So in other words, it never gets better and it almost always gets worse!

8. Orthodontic treatment may be expensive, but dealing with these consequences can be a lot more expensive

So you ask yourself, “is it worth it to spend thousands of dollars to straighten my teeth?” and we can tell you with certainty is that having a healthy even bite with properly aligned teeth can help prevent tooth wear, tooth breakage, restoration failures, gum recession, periodontal disease and even some breathing problems. How healthy is your bite? should you be concerned about any of these problems? We’ll answer all of your questions and address your concerns in our complimentary orthodontic consultation. Call us or book online. We look forward to seeing you!

Dr. Ramzi Daibis is a board-certified orthodontist and the owner of Band & Wire Orthodontics in Clarendon Hills, IL. He specializes exclusively in Invisalign and braces for children and adults. Band & Wire Orthodontics serves Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale, Westmont, Downers Grove, Oak Brook, Willowbrook, Burr Ridge, Western Springs, La Grange, La Grange Park and Chicago.