Dental crowding occurs when teeth shift out of place and start to overlap the neighboring teeth. Crowding typically happens during dental development but can also occur when a tooth is extracted, which allows the other teeth to fall out of place. The extraction of a wisdom tooth, or a rear molar, can cause the remaining molar teeth to shift out of place and crowd, which can cause bite issues and general discomfort.
What are some of the potential dental treatments for crowded molars?
Braces will allow your dentist to force the molar teeth back into position. Orthodontics are usually necessary when the crowding is severe. You might cringe at the idea of having a mouth full of metal as an adult, but clear braces such as Invisalign can make the orthodontic process much more bearable.
The clear braces come in trays that fit snugly over your teeth to force the molars out of the crowded position. Your dentist will periodically check on the progress of the teeth and then craft new trays accordingly. Your treatment is done once the molars have shifted back into the natural position. The exact length of the treatment will vary depending on the severity of the crowding and how quickly your teeth respond.
Severe crowding can start to cause pressure-related damage to one of the teeth. If the damage is severe, your dentist might prefer to simply remove that tooth, which will also make room for the natural teeth to shift back into proper position. The remaining teeth might shift back on their own once the interfering tooth is extracted or you might still need to undergo orthodontics.
Note that dentists typically won't extract a healthy tooth for the purpose of fixing crowding. This option is only on the table when one of the teeth has suffered damage and isn't salvageable anyway.
If the crowded teeth formed during development, the underlying problem could trace down to the jawbone sitting slightly out of line in that area. Braces and even extraction won't help if there's a jawbone issue at play. Your dentist will need to perform jawbone surgery before pursuing the other treatment options.
The jawbone surgery will focus on reshaping or changing the alignment of the jawbone in the affected area. The surgery might automatically force the crowded teeth back into place. If not, you will have to heal up after surgery before your dentist can treat the crowding with braces or extraction.
Check out a company like Janzen Janzen & Chwa Orthodontics Ltd to learn more.