The only way to correct crooked teeth and the moderate to severe bite misalignment they can cause is through orthodontic treatment, either in the form of conventional bracket-and-wire braces or clear removable aligners.
One slightly slanted tooth, on the other hand, doesn’t usually call for full-on orthodontic care, especially if your bite is perfectly aligned. In fact, a simple cosmetic fix is often all it takes to straighten a single crooked tooth.
As dentists who specialize in transforming smile flaws, the team at Smiles in Springfield can correct or conceal a crooked tooth in no time flat. Let’s explore four effective cosmetic dentistry treatment options for minor to moderate tooth misalignments:
When a tooth is slightly askew in your gumline, it tends to stick out a little on one side and/or angle back a little on the other side. This may cause it to crowd or even somewhat overlap the adjacent tooth, making it hard to brush and floss the area thoroughly.
In some cases, it’s possible to shape the protruding side of a crooked tooth until it’s straight and flush with its neighboring teeth. Tooth contouring, which carefully removes thin layers of enamel to correct a cosmetic misalignment, is often combined with bonding to achieve exacting results.
A crooked tooth may also be positioned so that one side appears recessed, or angled further back than it should be in relation to the adjacent tooth. Just as a slight protrusion can be corrected with contouring techniques, a slight recession can be corrected with dental bonding.
Bonding involves applying enamel-colored composite resin directly to a tooth to repair it, change its shape, or improve its appearance. When bonding is used to build up the recessed side of a crooked tooth, it makes the front of the tooth look even with its neighboring tooth.
Many people opt to have a teeth whitening treatment before they undergo cosmetic bonding so they can match the composite resin to their whitest, brightest smile.
Simple contouring and bonding treatments work well for correcting minor tooth misalignments, but a tooth that’s more significantly askew often requires a more advanced cosmetic solution.
Just as a crooked tooth that leaves a significant gap on one side can’t be built up with bonding, a crooked tooth that protrudes substantially can’t be contoured into shape without compromising its integrity. In such cases, custom veneers can be an ideal solution.
Veneers are ultra-thin porcelain shells, or laminates, that adhere to the front of a problematic tooth (or a row of problematic teeth). Getting veneers involves buffing away about half a millimeter of enamel to accommodate the veneer, then using dental cement to adhere the strong and durable custom shells into place.
Veneers can be made to conceal a moderately crooked tooth, hide unsightly gaps, and give you the appearance of perfectly straight teeth for a flawless smile.
When a moderate tooth misalignment is a bit too extreme to be successfully covered by veneers, you may be able to conceal it with a custom crown instead. A dental crown, or cap, is an artificial tooth designed to fit over a cracked, chipped, weak, or misshapen tooth.
To conceal a crooked tooth with a crown, your natural tooth must be contoured down to create space for the artificial tooth. After it’s been fully prepared, it’s “capped” with a custom crown that’s made to fit your bite and sit perfectly straight alongside your natural teeth.
Just one slightly crooked tooth can leave you feeling self-conscious about your smile; it can also make it harder to clean your teeth and gums and maintain optimal oral health. Luckily, there’s an easy solution for virtually any minor to moderate cosmetic misalignment.
If you’re ready to unveil your best smile, the team at Smiles in Springfield can help. Call 703-634-4239 to schedule a visit with one of the cosmetic experts in our Springfield, Virginia, office today.