If your smile is compromised due to crowded teeth, you may be a good candidate for a professional porcelain veneer treatment at our Beverly Hills dental spa. Dental crowding occurs when there’s not enough room in your mouth for your pearly whites to fit the way they should. As a result, they may overlap or be misaligned. Crowded or crooked teeth can impact your confidence and make you feel self-conscious about smiling.

When your teeth are properly aligned, there should be no crowding or gaps. The upper teeth hang just over the lower teeth, and both rows line up perfectly when you bite down. If the shape or alignment of your mouth doesn’t allow for this, there are cosmetic dentistry solutions that may be able to conceal the effects of the overcrowding. 

Types of Crowded Teeth 

Dental crowding is a form of malocclusion (misalignment) whereby limited space in the mouth causes teeth to overlap or push each other out of alignment. It can take on various forms, but the condition is usually classified as minor, moderate, or severe. 

  • Minor crowding occurs when one of the upper or lower anterior teeth is slightly rotated. 

  • Moderate crowding occurs when two to three of the upper or lower anterior teeth overlap with one another. 

  • Severe crowding occurs when more than three of the anterior teeth overlap. 

It’s important to understand these distinctions because the severity of the condition will usually dictate the course of treatment that is necessary to fix or conceal the crowding. 

Causes of Crowded Teeth

Crowding can be caused by numerous dental issues, including: 

  • Teeth that are large in proportion to the jaw. For instance, if your mother has large teeth and your father has a small jaw, you may inherit proportionally large teeth for your mouth. 

  • Misshapen teeth: Aside from tooth size, the shape can also contribute to crowding, particularly if teeth are unusually wide or stick out in one direction. 

  • A smaller-than-average jaw. Even if you have average-sized teeth, you may experience some dental crowding if you have a small jaw. 

  • Premature loss of teeth. If you lose your baby teeth too early, other teeth may try to occupy the vacant space, leading to crowding. 

  • Over-retained baby teeth. If your baby teeth remained fixed to the gums too long (thereby preventing the eruption of permanent teeth), crowding and misalignment may occur. A dentist will usually try to extract the baby teeth before this becomes a problem. 

There’s also a common myth that wisdom teeth (the back teeth) can push the other teeth forward, causing overcrowding, but the research doesn’t support this. Wisdom tooth extractions generally won’t fix an overcrowding issue.  

When dental crowding is detected during childhood, an orthodontist will usually recommend early intervention to correct the problem. 

Common Treatments for Crowded Teeth 

Before pursuing cosmetic treatments like veneers, a dentist or orthodontist might recommend a treatment to correct the misalignment. Common interventions include: 

  • Braces 

    • Usually recommended for moderate to severe crowding. 

    • This is the traditional orthodontic treatment for overcrowding, particularly in children. Options include traditional metal braces, lingual braces, and clear braces placed over the upper teeth and/or lower teeth. The benefit is that braces don’t just realign the teeth; they can also realign the jaw, promoting smile correction at the deepest level and preventing additional complications over time. The patient will typically visit their orthodontist every 4 to 8 weeks until the braces are removed, usually within 3 years. The end goal is straight teeth without the need for further intervention. 

  • Invisalign 

    • Usually recommended for minor, moderate, or severe crowding. 

    • Clear aligners, like the popular Invisalign model, work similarly to braces. They cost about the same as traditional braces but are virtually invisible and represent a more conservative treatment plan. The patient wears them for about 22 hours a day for 20 weeks with replacements being swapped out every 2 weeks. For significant overcrowding, we recommend Invisalign because it’s less invasive and noticeable than traditional braces, and it delivers noticeable results in less time. 

  • Retainers

And then, of course, there are dental veneers: the simple, alternative treatment plan. But where does this type of treatment fit into the equation? 

Porcelain Veneers for Crowded Teeth 

Dental veneers may be an excellent choice for minor to moderate overcrowding. Veneers won’t reverse the effects of overcrowded teeth, but they will create a beautiful smile by providing the appearance of straight teeth.

A veneer is a type of shell or cap that is cemented over the natural tooth. When multiple veneers are implanted over crowded teeth, they can conceal the gap or overlapping area, creating a smooth and unobstructed smile. 

The procedure can be completed in as few as three dental office visits: first, the dentist examines the teeth, provides a consultation, and ensures that you’re a good candidate for veneers. Then, the dentist shaves off a tiny layer of tooth enamel (usually no more than .5mm) to make room for the veneers and takes impressions. Then, the dentist places the finished veneers over your natural teeth. It’s simple and straightforward, and good porcelain veneers last 15 to 20 years with proper care. 

If you’re considering this course of treatment, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Cosmetic treatments like veneers are typically only recommended for minor to moderate crowding. 

  • Veneers can cost more than braces or Invisalign, but they require fewer office visits and result in an almost instant smile transformation. 

  • If you have severe crowding, a dentist may recommend undergoing an orthodontic treatment (such as braces or Invisalign) before veneers are placed; these procedures may be combined as part of a complete smile makeover.  

Are Veneers Right for Your Overcrowded Teeth?

Every patient is unique, and so is every smile. The only way to know for sure if veneers are right for you is to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable cosmetic dentist who specializes in the procedure. Your oral health professional will take X-rays, examine the causes and extent of your dental crowding, and help you to determine if veneers are—or are part of—the right solution for you.

Don’t put it off any longer. If you've lived for years with the frustration of dental crowding, crooked teeth, or misaligned teeth, treatment options are available. Your new beautiful smile may be just three appointments away.

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