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Crooked Teeth

Doctor's Terms

  • Brackets: the stud-like feature on braces. Brackets can be made of ceramic, plastic, or metal.

Information And Treatment

47% of Americans believe that crooked teeth can leave a negative first impression, and 72% think that straighter smiles as better received in social situations than those that aren't, according to a survey of 1000 people conducted by Align, the manufacturer of Invisalign braces. A separate survey found that 84% of Americans think straight teeth are a sexy feature, and 58% of women believe they are more important than a full head of hair. The bottom line? Crooked teeth may give a real reason to frown.

Crooked teeth can result from crowding, which is a problem that affects smaller mouths. When existing teeth don't have enough space, the rest shift, twist, and overlap. Small mouths are genetic, but if children suck on bottles, pacifiers, and their thumbs, they can exacerbate the issue. Jaw injury, improperly executed dental procedures, and oral tumors can also make teeth crooked.

On a functional level, severely warped teeth can interfere with chewing, and can also increase the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis. Yet most crooked teeth are primarily an aesthetic flaw. With regular brushing and flossing, crooked teeth alone shouldn't pose any alarming health risks.

Age range: Crooked teeth can be a problem at any age. Even straight smiles can be devastated by a jaw-jolting accident later in life.

Interesting Facts

About three out of every 10 American children wear braces.

It's speculated that orthodontic appliances have been around since 50,000 BC in ancient Greece.

Who's Affected?

Surprisingly, not all celebrities have perfected their smiles. Country singer and Dancing with the Stars contestant, Jewel, claims that an early gig she landed can actually be attributed to her natural smile. "I got the job because I was the only actress in Hollywood who hadn't gotten their teeth fixed!" she told Shape. She's not the only one either. "That's one of the things I like about me. Messed-up teeth are so sexy," Kirsten Dunst opined to In Style.