There are many reasons why you might want to fix a crooked or gapped smile. Most often, people are concerned about the appearance of their teeth. Crooked or gapped teeth can make you self-conscious when you show your smile. However, there are other reasons why you should fix misaligned teeth and close gaps in your smile. You might get food stuck in your teeth, which can be embarrassing andpainful. Challenges cleaning your teeth can also impact your oral health, contributing to gum disease and cavities.

So, what’s the best way to straighten your teeth? We recommend orthodontics. Orthodontics preserves your natural teeth and can provide lifelong results. Plus, there are multiple options, so you can choose the one that’s right for you. In addition to discussing how to improve your smile, we’ll discuss some recommendations for preventing your child from developing crooked or gapped teeth.

Find the Best Orthodontic Option for Your Smile

Modern orthodontics gives us multiple ways to address your gapped or crooked teeth. You can choose between orthodontic aligners and traditional braces.

Many people are drawn to orthodontic aligners because of their many benefits. Orthodontic aligners move your teeth with removable clear plastic aligners. Because they’re transparent, the aligners are almost invisible. This can help you avoid being more self-conscious during your orthodontic treatment. It can also help if you’re afraid that traditional braces might affect how you’re perceived in the workplace. Removable aligners also let you enjoy a wide variety of foods–you won’t have to give up any of your favorites. Plus, you won’t have to clean around brackets and wires. Orthodontic aligners are often great for closing gaps in your smile, but they’re not always the best for dealing with crooked teeth.

In some cases, traditional braces are a better choice for straightening your teeth. Braces can achieve some types of tooth movements better than orthodontic aligners. In addition, modern braces are more subtle and comfortable than braces in the past. With clear brackets and white wires, traditional braces don’t stand out the way they used to, if that’s a concern for you. We can also recommend cleaning tools to make it easier to keep your teeth clean around your braces. Plus, there are accelerated orthodontic options that can dramatically reduce the time you need to wear your braces.

If TMJ Is a Concern

For some people, crooked and gapped teeth may be related to more serious bite issues, such as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD). If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms like jaw pain, headaches, excessive tooth wear, ear symptoms, or a bite that just feels off, you might have TMJ.

Often, TMJ treatment can include orthodontic treatment that will also improve your smile. However, if you ignore possible TMJ issues, straightening your teeth can leave the problem in place. It might even make TMJ problems worse.

Talk to a TMJ dentist about symptoms before deciding to straighten your teeth.

Prevent Some Problems with a Frenectomy

It’s better to prevent teeth from becoming crooked or gapped whenever possible. One early intervention that can make a difference for your child is a frenectomy, which treats tongue tie and lip tie.

In some children, the frenum, a small band of tissue that binds the tongue to the floor of the mouth or the ones that attach the lips to the gums, is too short or restrictive. This is called tongue tie or lip tie and can affect the development of the teeth. Because the tongue helps push the teeth outward to develop the shape and size of the jaw, tongue ties can lead to an underdeveloped jaw with crooked, crowded teeth. Sometimes, the tie between the gums and lips can encourage the development of a gap between teeth, called a diastema.

Freeing the lips or tongue with a frenectomy can help your child avoid these problems.

Address Problems Early with Holistic Orthodontics

However, there are also orthodontic approaches that can help your child address crooked and gapped teeth at a young age. These approaches can help a child avoid orthodontics later–or reduce their complexity–and help your child develop a healthy bite and robust airway to avoid bite problems like TMJ and breathing problems like sleep apnea later in life.

As with orthodontic options for adults, we offer multiple choices for your child so you can find the one that works best for you. One option is orthotropics using removable BioBloc appliances. These can help guide the development of your child’s jaw, helping to improve its length, breadth, and position for healthy biting and better breathing.

Advanced lightwire functional (ALF) appliances are a noninvasive approach that uses very small appliances. They’re easy to wear but can make a big difference in your child’s development.

Myobrace orthodontics are worn for only a short time each day but combined with education about proper techniques for biting, chewing, and swallowing that can improve the development of your child’s teeth and jaw development.