Imagine another layer of teeth growing next to your naturally existing teeth. Only sharks can live normally with that oral condition. Called teeth crowding, this condition in which an extra tooth or several teeth grow overlapping with or adjacent to existing teeth, can happen to anyone. One tooth grows in front of or behind another, which makes brushing and flossing difficult. Alliance Family Dental in Fayetteville, NC would like to identify other serious issues arising from teeth crowding that need immediate prevention.

Teeth crowding occurs through a phenomenon called mesial drift- the tendency of a growing tooth to push forward an existing tooth root if no space for growth is available. This is the same phenomenon as when plant branches look for a path to reach the sunlight. Extra teeth drift backward in rare conditions—for instance, when existing teeth are currently misaligned. However, both cases result in a number of nearly similar dental problems.

When teeth overlap, they provide more surfaces for bacteria to grow. This leads to a higher risk of cavities, especially when the additional surfaces are difficult to access with a toothbrush or dental floss. Alliance Family Dental, your Fayetteville, NC dentist, says people with crowded teeth should spend extra time cleaning their teeth, as they are twice as prone to cavities. If taken lightly, the cavities can reach the gingival region and rapidly develop into periodontal disease.

Teeth crowding disrupts the oral environment. It breaks the balance between the teeth, air passage, and muscles, causing biting, chewing, and speech difficulties. Sometimes, because overlapping teeth are as strong as existing teeth, they cause the existing teeth to misalign, which leads to irritation and deformity. If not dealt with immediately, the extra teeth can mature and become difficult to extract.

Orthodontics is a subspecialty of cosmetic dentistry dealing with malocclusion and other dental issues involving the growth and alignment of teeth. Normally, Dr. Barber will have to extract the extra teeth to allow the others to grow normally. If teeth are already misaligned because of crowding, Dr. Barber and Alliance Family Dental will require the use of braces to correct alignment.

Braces consist of metal wires and brackets used to push misaligned teeth back to their normal position. It may take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years of wearing this dental appliance before teeth alignment is restored. Dr. Barber and Alliance Family Dental in Fayetteville, NC will then require patients to wear a retainer following metal braces to keep the teeth in position.