“Dr. Youssef, my front teeth are chipping and crowding up in the front- what should I do?”
If you have noticed your teeth shifting and crowding in the front over time, you are not the only one! This is probably one of the most common conversations I have with my patients- the discussion about why this happens and what to do next.
Unless you have a retainer in place to keep your teeth from shifting, everyone’s teeth have a normal tendency to shift forward over time. When this happens, the way your teeth contact one another when chewing, or even talking, changes. The crowding of the teeth puts them at a higher risk of wearing down and even fracturing or chipping as the force of the bite is not as evenly distributed.
Several patients come to me from other offices saying, “This other doctor put a filling in my front tooth and it keeps falling out- can you do it?” Most of the time, these patients are the types of patients that I just described- those that are experiencing some crowding of their teeth, and new forces against their teeth causing them to chip/ break over and over again. That’s when we have the conversation- I tell them that unless we take care of the cause of the problem, the issue will continue to happen over and over again. Usually that’s the point when their eyes light up and I can see the light bulb go off. “Well, what can I do, doc?” Easy! We have to make them more functional and even out the forces they are getting by essentially undoing the crowding.
There are several ways to take care of the crowding and even out our bite forces. Some patients are candidates for clear aligner therapy, which is also known as Invisalign®.
Most people think of Invisalign® as a way to simply make their teeth look better. But here’s the kicker- this is not what leads me to making this recommendation for some of my patients! Yes, straightening your teeth will make your smile more beautiful. However, the more important part is that it evens out your chewing forces, prevents your teeth from breaking, and helps us maintain all of your tooth structure for as long as possible! Even more, it reduces plaque accumulation and makes cleansing your teeth easier, which also contributes to your oral health and reduces cavities and gingivitis.
Who would have thought that Invisalign® could have so many benefits, the least of them being esthetics?! So if you are ever feeling new pressure on your teeth or can sense them shifting, make sure to have that conversation with your dentist to ensure you are doing your part in maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile for a lifetime!
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