Adult Orthodontic Treatments for Tooth Crowding

Many adults find themselves with crowded teeth, and adult orthodontic treatment is the only way to fix the problem. It could take several months or even years to fix crowding in the mouth. However, patients who undertake treatment often leave their orthodontic office with a smile that they are proud to show off.

What is crowding?

Crowding of the teeth is just as it sounds. Teeth grow too close together which results in them overlapping one another. Overcrowding usually occurs when the jaw is too small to accommodate the adult teeth as they emerge from the gums, or when they come in at odd angles. Depending on when the teeth emerge, they can push other teeth in the mouth from their original locations.

How can crowding be fixed?

To fix crowding of the teeth, an adult orthodontic appliance is necessary. The adult orthodontic appliance will work by using a gradual pushing and pulling motion to separate and shift the teeth until they reach their intended and proper places.

In some cases, extractions may be necessary to allow the other teeth to fit perfectly in the mouth. These extractions are typically simple and do not require a general anesthetic. If this procedure is determined to be the best course of action, a dentist can discuss the details, including the anesthetic, before beginning the treatment.

Types of treatment

Whether an extraction is initially necessary or not, there are a few adult orthodontic options to treat tooth crowding

Traditional braces

The most widely-used adult orthodontic appliance is traditional braces. Braces use brackets and archwires to pull the teeth into the proper position. Traditionally made of metal brackets, there are ceramic options as well. The archwire needs adjusting every few weeks, and elastic bands also help to move the teeth in the right direction.


If a person does not want the hassle of maintaining traditional braces, and if the crowding is not too severe, they may consider Invisalign. Invisalign is a clear mouth guard that is custom fitted to a patient’s mouth. The trays are interchanged every few weeks to complete the straightening process. Invisalign does not have the strength required to straighten excessive crowding, and can only help in minor cases where the overcrowding is minimal.


Another option to fix overcrowding is a retainer. Retainers are usually only used for minor cases of overcrowding as well. The retainer will be custom made to fit over the teeth. A retainer should be worn at all times, except when eating, to achieve the maximum benefit. A dentist will need to make adjustments on the retainer every few weeks to ensure that it is encouraging the proper movement of the teeth.

Why fix crowded teeth?

Crowding is not only a cosmetic issue. Overcrowding can cause bone loss, gum disease and tooth decay as it is harder to clean in between overcrowded teeth. Fixing this issue will allow greater accessibility for a toothbrush and floss, so the teeth become stronger and healthier in the long run.

Your adult orthodontic options

Overcrowded teeth affect many adults, but the solutions are simple. There are adult orthodontic treatments that can fix any overcrowding issues. Severe cases may require traditional braces to pull and shift the teeth back into position. Invisalign and retainers are more aesthetically pleasing and appropriate for minor cases of overcrowding.

Request an appointment here: or call Visalia Care Dental at (559) 975-1213 for an appointment in our Visalia office.

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