Orthodontic Problems and Solutions: Crowding

It is important for patients to know what kind of orthodontic problems they may have, as this is the only way to make sure that they can make informed choices about their dental treatment.   Depending on what kind of orthodontic problem you have, your treatment can last from six months to three years, and the costs that are incurred vary greatly. This is why these series of articles wish to articulate what kind of orthodontic problems exist, what their solutions are, and what kind of costs and treatment times can be expected. As each case varies greatly, the final say will be made by your orthodontist, but these articles should give the patient a general idea of what to expect.


Today we will be talking about a phenomenon known as crowding. This phenomenon is not an orthodontic problem per say, but it is the cause of many other ones.

What is crowding?

Crowding, in the orthodontic sense is when there is more tooth surface in one place than can be reasonably dealt with. Each tooth has an amount of space that it should occupy, and this space is determined by the size and shape of the tooth, the size and shape of the jaw, and the position of the tooth. When the tooth does not have enough space, and is being overlapped by another tooth, then there is crowding. These teeth are harder to clean, as the space is not even between the teeth, and these teeth are thus much more likely to decay and to cause problems. Teeth that are crowded are also less aesthetically pleasing, and can also tax the jaw as they may cause an uneven bite, as there may be more teeth in one place than necessary.

How to treat crowding

Crowding is one of the most basic problems in orthodontics, and there are many different kinds of ways to solve it, depending on what is causing the crowding. Many times, teeth are crowded because they are being pushed by irregularly growing wisdom teeth. These teeth cause the rest of the teeth to shift towards each other. By removing the wisdom teeth and using light orthodontics to rectify the situation, the person can be rid of crowding in as little as 9 months. Sometimes the solution requires more radical measures; when the jaw is too small to house all of the teeth, extractions, and even orthognathic surgery may be required to fix the problem. Talk to your orthodontist and see what is causing your crowding, and what needs to be done to get it fixed.      

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