The condition known as malocclusion is a misalignment of the teeth that also causes overlapping teeth. In turn, this can cause some serious risks to the oral health of a person. While some people might only have a crooked tooth, there are others that might develop severe issues. Some of the causes of overlapping teeth include thumb sucking, long time use of the bottle as a child, use of a pacifier after the age of 3 and hereditary causes that might be a factor. The hereditary cause is said to be the most common and, according to the University of Florida Health, this cause is rooted in the conflicting sizes of the jaw and teeth. Babies are known to suck their thumbs and this habit can prove to be harmful if it goes on for too long. Once the permanent teeth start to settle in, there should be no obstruction. This, as well as extended use of the pacifier after the infant years, will begin to become detrimental to the alignment of the teeth and proper growth of the mouth or jaw.
Along with genes and habits started during childhood, there are other factors that contribute to overlapping teeth that can be attributed to the complexities of the body. Sometimes teeth are shaped abnormally or the lack of space within the jawbone can cause some dental crowding. Extra teeth coming in is said to be an issue for some people. If there is any injury that will cause any misalignment of the jaw, this can be added in as a contributing factor. If there are any tumors in the mouth, that can also be a factor in the alignment of the teeth.
Teeth tend to overlap and cause issues when trying to bite down or chew food. However, in more severe cases, you can expect for it to also cause an overbite, underbite, open bite or crossbite. Considering the fact that overcrowding teeth will cause your food to get caught between the teeth, brushing and flossing your teeth can become a task as all of the misaligned teeth will increase the chances of getting tooth decay. This occurs because it will become hard to properly brush and floss which can lead to gum disease. When left untreated, the progression of said gum disease will cause periodontitis.
Overlapped or misaligned teeth can increase the chances of dealing with physical pain and headaches as well as pain that is more emotional in nature. Overlapping teeth isn’t visually pleasing and, in a world where the “perfect” smile is sought, not having a “perfect smile” can lead to someone feeling self-conscious about their teeth.
If fixing this issue is a priority, one must factor in several things to correct the issue. Correcting overlapping teeth is often easier on the budget when a person is younger. The older a person gets the more complicated the issue might be which can make it more expensive to treat. Also keep in mind that overlapped teeth can cause other issues that also need to be fixed as a result. It is highly encouraged by some to fix this issue as studies have confirmed that many have seen a significant change in their quality of life after treating this issue. Please consult with an orthodontist and consider a few options as there is not just one treatment for this particular issue.
A very common option is traditional braces which consist of metal brackets, wires and elastic bands that apply pressure to the teeth and reshape the alignment of the teeth. When using braces earlier in life, progression is seen at a much quicker rate as opposed to later in life.
In recent years, the use of clear aligners has become the more popular option as it tends to be much more visually appealing without the sight of metal brackets and wires. While it isn’t completely invisible, clear aligners are made of custom-made clear and flexible trays placed onto the teeth to realign them. Clear aligners need to stay in the mouth for 22-23 hours a day with the only time for removal coming when a person eats, brushes the teeth or cleans the aligners. While it may be easier on the eyes for some, clear aligners are not recommended for much more severe cases of overlapping teeth.
In the event of having a really mild case of misaligned teeth, dental veneers are an option. Veneers only serve one purpose as they change the appearance of the teeth but they don’t change the position of the tooth or jaw.
There are many contributions to overlapping teeth but this issue is much more common than one would think. In some cases, it can be so minimal that treatment isn’t even necessary. It is highly recommended that patients consult with an orthodontist to take the next steps to putting their mind at ease.