Braces for Just One Tooth? Single Tooth Straightening Options
With respect to teeth straightening, most procedures and treatments are geared towards fixing multiple teeth or even an entire row. That’s the idea behind solutions like braces, aligners or even dentures. Sometimes, though, it’s only one tooth that is misaligned. When this happens, it can sabotage your entire smile, lower your confidence and lead to oral health issues. In addition, because the problem feels minute it often goes untreated.
Single tooth straightening is both possible and more common than you think. There are several treatment options and each patient must decide the lengths they are willing to go to fix one tooth. Often, one tooth can be quickly straightened with clear aligners or fast braces. While these are potentially suitable solutions, there are methods that could be less disruptive to a patient’s life.
Let’s review what can cause a single misalignment and the potential dangers they harbour. Then, we’ll present the options to fix that tooth so you can make an informed decision and take the first step toward getting your smile in style!
Causes for a Single Crooked Tooth
One crooked tooth is usually the result of overcrowding or a narrow roof of the mouth. Essentially, the problem is that when teeth don’t have enough room, one or more can get push forward or backward. Think about a crowded elevator and how hard it is for everyone to stand perfectly aligned, shoulders barely touching.
A crooked tooth, or misalignment, is generally caused by:
- Thumb sucking after baby has started to teethe.
- A poor swallowing reflux that causes the tongue to push against the front teeth.
- Early loss of baby teeth.
- Uncharacteristically big teeth.
Whether it’s a single tooth or an entire row of teeth, what causes misalignments is standard.
Dangers of a Single Crooked Tooth
Granted, a single crooked tooth might seem minor but it is still recommended that you seek treatment. The main reason is that a perfect smile can boost your confidence and improve your appearance. It might sound strange but one little tooth can draw attention away from your other facial features.
Appearances aside there are several oral health dangers associated with single misalignments. Overlapping or overcrowded teeth can become bacteria traps and are much harder to clean. Left untreated, that tooth and surrounding teeth could be susceptible to decay, gum disease and discolouration. Lastly, a misaligned tooth can throw off your bite causing pressure on your teeth. This can lead to cracked teeth or even TMJ disorders.
If you are the parent of a teenager with a crooked tooth you should speak with a dentist about corrective measures. Fixing this issue for young adults has been known to help them feel more self-assured and prevent the issue from worsening.
Are Braces an Option?
Braces could be recommended by an orthodontist simply because they are the most effective way to straighten crooked teeth. Made from either ceramic or metal, braces use a network of brackets connected by tight wires to bring teeth into a healthy position pre-determined by your orthodontist. Braces rely on a steady amount of tension that is gradually increased over time to successfully straighten teeth, or in this case, one tooth.
For most, though, braces are too extreme of an option to just fix one crooked tooth. The patient would be subjected to the emotional rigors of having to wear braces in addition to being tasked with maintaining them daily. It’s unrealistic for most to commit to at least a year of monthly clinic visits for adjustments and checkups.
If you go the braces route but want to complete treatment quicker than normal, then you should consider Fast Braces. Georgian Dental® introduced this version of accelerated braces to the Muskoka-Simcoe County, allowing patients to get the best results in half the time and without sacrificing quality or paying an exorbitant amount of money. For patients looking to fix a single tooth, Fast Braces might offer the best mix of results and treatment duration.
Straightening a Tooth without Braces
If you don’t want to undergo an extensive treatment like braces just to correct a single misalignment, then don’t worry, you have options. Since we’re focusing on an isolated tooth issue, the following treatments should take less time than normal.
Both removable and fixed retainers can repair an isolated issue like a single misalignment in a relatively efficient way. Determine which is better based on your comfort level, lifestyle and your orthodontist’s recommendation.
Removable retainers are a popular method as the patient doesn’t have to wear them while attending social occasions or professional events. The convenience and joy of being able to remove them for a night out is counterbalanced by the responsibility of wearing them often enough so that they can provide treatment.
The fixed version appeals to patients who don’t want to be burdened with having to remember to wear their retainer. Additionally, fixed retainers tend to offer better long-term results. They are attached to the inside of a patient’s teeth and correct the single crooked tooth over time by not allowing the teeth to shift. While this is a good solution, remember that it cannot be removed for even a moment of relief.
An orthodontist can insert a palatal expander to widen the arch of the upper teeth. This opens space for the teeth to shift into their natural position. This piece of orthodontic equipment is attached to the upper molars. Then a special key is used to painlessly turn a screw that applies pressure on each halve of the upper jaw.
Expanders are nearly invisible but patients need to expect a small amount of discomfort as adjustments are being made.
Invisalign are sets of clear and removable aligners that straighten teeth over time. It is considered a strong option to correct one misaligned tooth as it allows patients to undergo treatment in a stealth manner with little interruption to their lives.
If this sounds good, then speak to your dentist or orthodontist about Invisalign. A major caveat is that while Invisalign might be the most comfortable option they might not be able to correct a tooth that is severely misaligned. Ultimately, you don’t want to commit to a long treatment schedule only to find out the problem was only half fixed.
Which Solution is Best?
Now that you know you can correct just one tooth that is out of alignment, you need to determine which solution is best for you. The short (and frustrating) answer is that there’s no one way that works for everyone. The best course of action is to sit down with an orthodontist to review your situation and discuss the pros and cons of each option.
Let’s Talk About your Smile
If only one tooth is undermining your appearance and smile, remember, you’re not alone. Lots of people invest their time and money to fix one crooked tooth knowing that a straight smile is a short step away. Doing so will also help you achieve optimal oral health and prevent future problems with your teeth or gums.