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Home / Blog / Braces / Braces For Crowded Teeth

Braces For Crowded Teeth

Medically reviewed by Dr Minoo Ghamari  / Jun 13, 2024  
Medically reviewed by Dr Minoo Ghamari  
Jun 13, 2024  
Braces For Crowded Teeth

Teeth crowding is one of the most common reasons why people opt to have braces, and why they might want to undergo treatment later in life. Braces are excellent at straightening teeth and pulling them into their optimal position, which can fix a whole host of issues you might be facing due to overcrowding, like underbites, misaligned teeth, and speech impediments.

Studies have shown that dental crowding affects between 30 and 60 percent of people worldwide, making it one of the most common dental issues in the world. We've noted everything you need to know about using braces to fix crowded teeth below, so lets get right into the details.

What causes crowded teeth?

There are plenty of reasons that you might face overcrowded teeth, from environmental causes to hereditary genetics. For example, some people might experience overcrowding due to how their jaw developed when they were children. Others might develop crowded teeth due to an injury to the jaw or losing a baby tooth too early.

But how do you know for sure if you have crowded teeth or not? Well, crowded teeth are often visibly overlapping. You might also have trouble flossing between the teeth, and you might find it difficult to chew. Some people even realise they have crowded teeth because of how frequently they bite their tongue or the inside of their cheeks!

What type of braces are available to you?

Traditional braces

Traditional braces are otherwise known as metal braces, and they're the most commonly used for children and adolescent patients. While adults might prefer a less obviously-seen alternative, traditional metal braces are still the most commonly used type because they're the cheapest. Metal braces are bonded to your teeth with glue before being connected with wire and tiny plastic elastic ties that pull the teeth into place. The ties create chains that, by applying pressure to your teeth and gums, guide the teeth into their optimal position and away from their neighbours.

You can also opt for metal braces in the form of self-ligating braces, and these don't involve the plastic bands to hold the wire onto the brackets. Instead, the braces hold the wires themselves which takes away the need for colourful bands. Some adults prefer these as they believe they look more professional.

Lingual braces

Some adults don't want to be seen with braces for whatever reason, so they opt for lingual braces which are fixed onto the back of the teeth rather than the front. These cannot be seen when you smile or talk and therefore can work wonders for your self-esteem when undergoing dental treatment.

Lingual braces can fix overcrowded teeth as long as there is space on the tooth to fit the bracket. As crowded teeth tend to overlap each other, you might find that you need brackets attached to both the front and back of your teeth to properly straighten them out. Your dentist will be able to work with you to make sure you have the most effective method of treatment for your mouth.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are very similar to traditional metal braces in how they work, but they're made of ceramic rather than metal to mimic the colour of your teeth better. The wire and bands are also coloured similarly to your teeth, so while the braces can still be seen while you're smiling or talking, they're much less obviously seen than metal braces. This can make you more confident when wearing braces, so it's a popular choice among adults.

There is a potentially large downside to ceramic braces, though, which is that they're more fragile than metal braces, so you might need to see your dentist more frequently if the brackets keep popping off. Waiting for the appointments might make your treatment take longer, which can be frustrating - especially when you're undergoing a long treatment process.

Invisalign treatment

Invisalign treatment is a relatively new process within the dentist industry, and it's quickly becoming a popular brace alternative for crowded teeth treatment. Invisalign uses clear aligners that are moulded to your teeth and adjusted to move the teeth 0.2 mm every two weeks until the teeth are straight and realigned.

Invisalign is becoming more and more popular as they are almost invisible when you're smiling or talking. They also require fewer follow-ups with your orthodontist as long as you use them correctly. However, they are best used for more minor crowding issues rather than major ones, so they might not be the best treatment for your teeth. Your dentist might recommend using metal braces before swapping to Invisalign after the traditional braces have had time to work.

Can braces fix all crowded teeth?

The majority of overcrowded teeth can be fixed with braces, as this is one of the most common ailments to treat with braces. However, it's impossible to say whether braces can fix all crowded teeth, as it all depends on the severity of your tooth alignment. Your dentist will determine whether braces are a good treatment plan for you after looking at your teeth.

In some cases, more drastic measures will need to be taken before you can have braces fitted onto your teeth. For example, it's not uncommon for your dentist to recommend removing a few teeth before fitting braces, as this frees up some space for the remaining teeth to straighten out and become uncrowded.

How to treat crowded teeth with braces?

Traditional braces for crowded teeth

Using traditional metal braces for your overcrowded teeth is often one of the most common and easiest methods of fixing the issue. The metal brackets are bonded to your teeth before being attached to the metal wire and fixed with plastic bands. Your orthodontist will need to see you for regular appointments to tighten your braces, as this is how they pull your teeth to their correct position.

Your orthodontist can also fix other issues, such as misalignment and crooked teeth, in the same treatment plan with metal braces, cutting the process down in the long run. If your dentist finds more than one malocclusion, they might recommend metal bracelets to deal with all of the issues at once.

Invisalign for crowded teeth

You might prefer the idea of Invisalign to fix your overcrowded teeth, and as long as you get the go-ahead from your dentist, you'll be able to get your teeth moulded for the first set of trays. The treatment will move your teeth around 0.2 mm every two weeks, with you being given new trays to swap out every time the old trays are exhausted.

One common issue with Invisalign is that they're not fixed in your mouth so it's possible for you to lose them or forget to put them back in after eating. Invisible aligners need to be worn for 22 hours a day, otherwise your treatment might be slowed down.

How long does it take to treat crowded teeth with braces?

The time it takes for your teeth to be treated for overcrowding will depend on the severity of your situation. People with just a few crooked teeth might only need to wear their braces for six months to a year, while people with severely crowded teeth may require them for two or three years. Your dentist will be able to tell you more and give you an estimated timeline for your brace journey.

Invisalign aligners state that they can complete treatment within 12 to 18 months, but bear in mind that this is best used for minor teeth overcrowding only. They might take longer if your teeth are severely overcrowded or you fail to look after your aligners properly.

Are braces the right fix for you?

Braces are often considered the best fix for overcrowding, and it's the most commonly used orthodontic treatment plan. They should be the right fix for you, but your dentist will be able to advise you on whether you should go ahead with braces. Other alternative treatments can include surgery, composite veneers, and they removal of teeth. The best thing to do here is to talk to your orthodontist and figure out the best course of action together.

What other issues can braces fix?

There are plenty of issues that braces can fix alongside overcrowded teeth, including:

  • Crooked teeth

  • Misaligned jaw

  • Underbite

  • Open bite

  • Crossbite

  • Low confidence

  • Protruding teeth

  • Gaps in the teeth

Final thoughts

Braces are one of the most commonly used treatments for overcrowded teeth, whether that be using ceramic, traditional, or invisible braces. Depending on the severity of your crowding, your dentist will be able to advise you on what type of brace is best for your treatment process. The majority of people will have to wear braces for two years, but this could be shorter or longer depending on how your teeth react to the braces. You'll be surprised by how many malocclusions can be fixed with braces, so get ready to enjoy a whole new smile!

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