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Crooked teeth: How they affect your dental health
Updated: 1/5/2009 8:00:24 PM

Crooked teeth: How they affect your dental health Crooked or misaligned teeth are not a problem just for aesthetic reasons - in fact, they can affect your dental health.

According to Web MD, crooked teeth can interfere with proper chewing, strain the jaw muscles and increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease because cleaning them is more difficult.

There are various reasons that a bite may be misaligned. For example, some people inherit these traits through their genes or have a mouth that is too small for the teeth growing in.

Other causes include thumb-sucking or pacifier use that continues beyond the age of three or an early loss of baby teeth. Some people also develop crooked teeth because their fillings or crowns have not been fitted properly.

If, during a dental checkup, your dentist determines that you have a misaligned bite, they will probably refer you to an orthodontist, who will take x-rays and impressions of your bite.

An orthodontist should be able to create a personalized treatment for your situation, which may include a retainer, braces, tooth removal or another procedure.

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