Orthodontic problems take on many forms, ranging from severe malformation of the positioning of the teeth to minor spacing issues (where treatment can even be optional). Overcrowding in the dental arch is simply when the overall length of the arch is inadequate to accommodate the teeth that have erupted. It rarely affects posterior teeth (molars and premolars) and is generally limited to posterior teeth (canines and incisors). These teeth simply appear crooked and may not even affect the way your upper and lower teeth connect when your jaw is closed. However, if the current look of your crooked teeth is something you want to relegate, an orthodontist can help.
A Cosmetic Solution
For some patients, overcrowding isn't even an orthodontic issue. The issue can be addressed by a cosmetic dentist and involves having dental veneers attached to the outward-facing surfaces of the posterior teeth to create an effect that disguises the overcrowding. But veneers have a few drawbacks.
Veneers require a small amount of the tooth's surface to be removed. This creates space for the veneer so that the finished restoration doesn't increase the total mass of the tooth. Once your dental enamel is removed, it's gone forever, and some patients may not like the permanent nature of this approach. In short, you'll always need to wear veneers because your protective enamel has been removed. The price of the procedure can also be unappealing, especially when veneers are needed on multiple anterior teeth.
Orthodontics can be a better bet since this form of treatment simply improves the placement of the teeth you already have. And since overcrowding is considered to be a minor issue, it's unlikely that you'll need traditional braces. Clear aligners will be able to reposition your teeth over the course of your treatment. They're not intrusive, nor are they conspicuous. They're not your only option though.
Extremely Inconspicuous Braces
Lingual braces look quite similar to traditional braces, but hardly anyone will be able to see them. Traditional braces involve brackets being bonded to the front surfaces of your teeth, with an archwire threaded between the brackets, which is periodically tightened to achieve realignment of your teeth. With lingual braces, the entire appliance is bonded to the rear surfaces of your teeth, making them extremely inconspicuous as they slowly but surely straighten your crooked teeth.
So while cosmetic dentistry is an option for treating crooked teeth, orthodontics is often the better choice—improving what is already there instead of disguising the problem with an irreversible restoration. Contact a local orthodontist to learn more.