Crooked teeth can make your child feel uncomfortable about their smile, but cosmetic reasons aren't the only reasons to fix crooked teeth. Here are three problems that crooked teeth can cause.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Crooked teeth can be difficult to clean properly. This is because the crooked teeth may block some surfaces of the adjacent teeth, and these blocked surfaces are hard to access with a toothbrush. Plus, when the teeth are crowded very close to one another, passing floss between the teeth may be difficult. Floss may fray when used to floss between crowded teeth, and this frayed floss may then injure the gum tissue.
Poor oral hygiene is a big problem. When children can't brush and floss their teeth effectively, they're at risk of conditions like gum disease or cavities.
Altered Jaw Function
When teeth are aligned properly, they gently fit together in a way that makes biting and chewing efficient. When teeth are crooked, the teeth on the upper arch may not align properly with their counterparts on the lower arch, and this throws off the whole bite pattern.
Over time, this altered bite pattern can put additional stress on your child's jaw joint and jaw muscles. This can cause damage to the jaw joint, and your child can suffer from problems like soreness or headaches. The jaw may even lock in place due to the damage!
The teeth play a big role in the production of speech, so it's no surprise that crooked, overcrowded teeth can contribute to speech impediments. When your child's teeth are crooked, their poorly-aligned teeth may interfere with the normal movements of their tongue, and this can make pronunciation difficult. For example, children with crooked teeth may have trouble saying words that start with "s" or "sh" since their tongue can't properly push air out of their mouth.
Straightening your child's teeth gives their tongue the room it needs to move freely, which helps them produce sounds properly. Once their teeth have been moved into position, they may need to see a speech therapist to learn how to produce "s" or "sh" sounds. Your child's dentist may refer them to a speech therapist with experience treating children who learned to talk with crooked teeth.
If your child has crooked teeth, discomfort about their smile isn't the only problem they could develop. Crooked teeth can lead to poor oral hygiene, altered jaw function and speech impediments, so they need to be treated by a dentist or orthodontist, such as Gregg Mond DMD.