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Crowded Teeth

Crowded teeth, a common dental condition, refer to a lack of space within the jaw for all the teeth to fit normally. This can lead to teeth overlapping, twisting, or being pushed to the front or back. Crowding often becomes apparent as a child's permanent teeth grow in and can worsen over time. It's usually caused by a discrepancy between jaw size and the size of the teeth, genetic factors, or the early loss of primary teeth.

What causes crowded and overlapping teeth?

Several factors can cause crowded teeth. These factors include;

  • A lack of proportion between tooth size and jaw size
  • Habits such as dummy sucking or digit sucking
  • Undersized or oversized jaws
  • Having extra teeth
  • Early extraction or loss of baby teeth
  • Ageing

Most of these issues affect children, but crowded teeth usually worsen as you get older. As you age, your jaw shape gradually changes, and the teeth continually move. This results in an increase in the overlapping of teeth, which then appear more crooked.

Do crowded teeth cause problems?

If the teeth overlap or are crowded, it may cause the following.

What are the options for correcting crowded teeth?

Several treatment options are available for treating crowded teeth in the upper and lower arch. The ideal treatment will depend on how much you plan to spend for treatment and the severity of the crowding.

Children can get crowded teeth treatment on the NHS if the condition is severe and may affect the child's dental health. If the crowding is minor, you will need to consider private orthodontic treatment. The NHS doesn't cover cosmetic dental treatments, so children who want to straighten their teeth for aesthetic purposes will need to do so privately.

The options for crowded teeth treatment for children and adults include:

  1. Braces

Braces are usually the first option people consider. They are a common treatment option for crowded teeth and other orthodontic conditions. Braces effectively correct severely overlapping and overcrowded teeth. The different types of braces for correcting crowded teeth include:

Fixed braces can be metal, metal with a gold coating or ceramic. The orthodontist will fit the brackets to your teeth and connect the brackets with a metal wire and elastics. The braces exert gentle force on the teeth to gradually move them into their ideal position. The benefit of metal with a gold coating and ceramic braces over metal braces is their aesthetics and redued visibility.

Lingual fixed braces such as Incognito are also an option and offer complete invisibility of the brace as it is attached to the inside surface of the teeth.

Metal braces are the only type available to children within the NHS. If a child would like a more discreet brace, then they will need to see a private orthodontist.

Invisalign is another option for crooked teeth. Invisalign treatment uses a series of clear plastic aligners, changed every 1-2 weeks to move the teeth into alignment.

Invisalign corrects crowded front teeth within a short period. Invisalign i7 is for very minor tooth movements and correction can be achieved with just 7 aligners. Invisalign Lite can correct mild orthodontic issues within 6 – 8 months while fixing moderate orthodontic issues take up to 18-24 months.

Invisalign aligners are clear and less noticeable throughout the treatment. They can correct up to 90% of orthodontic cases, while the remaining 10% need fixed braces. Before Invisalign treatment, the dentist will examine your teeth to check your suitability and create your treatment plan.

A remote treatment option is also available, which costs less than Invisalign for mildly crowded teeth. You will carry out all the process at home yourself, from taking your teeth impressions to filing your teeth and fitting your aligners. These treatment options include Smile Direct Club. They aren't suitable for everyone and both dentsits and orthodontists would strongly advise that treatment should be planned and monitored carefully by an orthodontist.

  1. Retainers

You can maintain the position of your teeth with retainers to stop the crowding from worsening however this is only possible with very mild crowding. Retainers do not straighten your teeth.

  1. Veneers

Veneers can camouflage mild overcrowding. The dentist will remove a small part of your enamel and apply the porcelain or composite material on the tooth. Veneers don't straighten the teeth but only make them appear straight as they cover the crooked areas of the teeth.

Veneers offer a cosmetic dental treatment, but do not solve the issues of overcrowding. The teeth may still get more crowded after the veneer fitting because the pressure that moved the teeth and caused overcrowding is still present.

Veneers aren't available within the NHS because they are cosmetic dental procedures. Venners are also unsuitable for children.

  1. Dental crowns

You can fit a dental crown to cover crowded teeth. Fitting crowns requires the dentist to remove a substantial part of the tooth structure before fitting a porcelain cap over the teeth.

Fitting a dental crown can make the teeth look straighter, but it isn't always the best option because it requires removing part of the healthy teeth structure. Ensure you speak to your dentist if you want this option.

Summary and cost of treatments for crowded teeth

Treatment option Cost Maintenance Treatment duration Result
Fixed metal braces £1500 - £3000 Additional flossing and cleaning during treatment 12 – 18 months, depending on the severity of the case A long-term result, but needs wearing retainers
Fixed ceramic braces £2000 - £5500 Additional flossing and cleaning 12 – 18 months, depending on the severity of the case A long-term result, but needs wearing retainers
Retainers £70 - £135 Daily cleaning after taking them out 6 – 12 months, depending on the severity of the case Long-term result but must be worn every night
Invisalign braces £1500 – £5000 Daily aligner and teeth cleaning after removing the aligners 6 – 24 months, depending on the severity of the case A long-term result, but require wearing retainers
Straight My Teeth aligners £999 Daily teeth and aligner cleaning 9 – 12 A long-term result, but requires wearing retainers
Veneers per tooth £250 - £800 Normal oral hygiene Require 1 – 2 dental visits 5 – 20 years, depending on the type
Crown per tooth, depending on the material £250 - £800 Normal oral hygiene Require 1 – 2 dental visits 5 – 10 years, involves loss of healthy teeth
Tooth extraction £50 - £350 None One visit after the procedure Permanent teeth loss, but make space for the dentist to fit the braces

If you have overlapping and overcrowded teeth, contact Kingston Orthodontics at 0203 002 2501 to schedule an appointment with our orthodontist for treatment.

Frequently asked questions

Tooth removal before overcrowded teeth treatment depends on the case. Sometimes, the dentist will need to extract teeth, including wisdom teeth, to make more room for other teeth to move.

Some orthodontists don't recommend teeth removal, but if your orthodontist suggests it, they will also discuss other treatment options, like expansion or filing down the teeth before braces treatment. However, filing down the teeth isn't always the best option and is not an option for children.

When the orthodontist fits the braces on the teeth, they exert pressure that gradually moves the teeth into the ideal position. Invisalign braces also work similarly, using clear plastic aligners instead of wires and brackets.

Invisalign braces are less visible than metal braces, and you can take them out to clean your teeth and eat.

An advantage of Invisalign over conventional metal braces for correcting crowded teeth is the treatment's duration. Generally, the severity of the crowding determines the duration of treatment, as well as the hours of aligner wear but correction of mildly crowded teeth with Invisalign Lite takes 6 – 8 months.

The best type of braces for correcting your crowded teeth depends on the severity of the crowding. You will need invisible braces if you want to undergo a discreet treatment. However, if you are concerned about the treatment cost, metal braces are a better option.

You may be able to correct crowded teeth at home. Systems such as Smile Direct Club and Straight My Teeth are available, where you can get the aligners and everything needed for treatment by post. This treatment option does not include a visit to an orthodontist or any monitoring of your tooth movements and bite with an orthodontist.

Feeling pain in your bottom crowded teeth isn't normal. Crowded teeth can cause tooth decay, leading to the pain you feel. Crowded teeth can be harder to clean and this may lead to gum disease which can also feel painful. Ensure you visit your dentist if you feel pain from your lower crowded teeth.

You can request before and after pictures of people who have undergone overcrowded teeth treatment from your orthodontist. This gives you an idea of what to expect after your treatment. The dentist can create a computer simulation with before and after views of your crowded teeth. If you undergo Invisalign treatment, you will receive the simulation of your before and after look.

Undergoing braces treatment for crowded teeth and other orthodontic issues isn't a permanent solution. If you wear braces as a teenager, your teeth can still become crowded as you age because teeth movement is part of the ageing process. This is why permanent and removable retainers will be fitted once treatment is complete to maintain the alignment of your teeth.

If your teeth are shifting to their previous position shortly after your treatment, visit your orthodontist to offer further treatment or adjust your retainers.

Braces are usually the best option for fixing crowded teeth, but you have other options. Clear braces and clear aligners are as effective as metal braces and are less noticeable.


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