Dental Crowding: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

what is crowding

What is Crowding? Symptoms, Treatment Options, FAQs, and More

When the mouth does not have enough space for all your teeth, it can lead to crowding.

Dental crowding is a type of  malocclusion  – or “bad bite” – that occurs as a result of this problem. Rather than grow into their correct positions, when the teeth do not have enough room, they will grow in unnatural positions, trying to find a space to grow in competition with other teeth. This can lead to crooked, crowded teeth that don’t line up properly.

Dental crowding  is a common orthodontic concern and thus is treatable with braces and Invisalign with supervision by licensed, experienced orthodontists. There is a wide spectrum of crowding, and each unique case can be addressed with careful care from an in-office orthodontist.

This guide is designed to help you understand more about dental crowding: what it is, why it’s important to treat, how to correct it, and more. We’ve attempted to answer all questions about dental crowding – but you can always ask your licensed orthodontist for answers as well!

Table of Contents: What Is Dental Crowding  |  Causes  |  Signs  |  Is It Bad for Your Teeth?  |  How to Treat  |  Before & After  |  FAQs
WHAT IS  Dental Crowding

What is

Dental Crowding?

Dental crowding  occurs when teeth have competed for space in the mouth and have grown in improperly,  causing teeth to be twisted and misaligned.  In an ideal alignment of teeth, there is just the right amount of space for them all to grow in without crowding or leaving gaps between them. The teeth should touch each other, without affecting the proper rotation of the tooth. The top teeth should hang just slightly over the bottom teeth, with all the teeth lining up snugly and comfortably when biting down. Unfortunately, this is not always the case – many people’s teeth do not grow in exactly right!  Dental crowding is one common issue that arises when teeth don’t grow in properly aligned.  Instead, due to genetic issues in jaw size or other external factors, the teeth compete for space while they grow in, pushing them up in unnatural, crooked positions. This can lead to a variety of problems. It’s important to treat crowding with effective, supervised orthodontic care to prevent tooth decay or other issues.

    WHAT CAUSES  Dental Crowding

    What Causes

    Dental Crowding?

    Dental crowding can be caused by a number of factors.  Genetics  is usually a part of the problem: if your jaw is too small, it can impact the way the teeth grow in, causing crowding.  Other factors that can cause dental crowding:

    • Losing baby teeth prematurely
    • Extra adult teeth
    • Abnormal tooth growth
    • Unusually large teeth (can be caused by certain syndromes)

    Whatever the cause of crowding, there is a wide spectrum of different severities of crowding. Some causes may result in only one twisted tooth; others may cause the entire row of teeth to grow in improperly.

        WHAT ARE THE  Signs of Dental Crowding

        What Are the

        Signs of Dental Crowding?

        If you’re not sure if your teeth are crowded – or if you’re concerned about your child’s teeth being crooked – there are a few signs you can look for to assess whether the teeth are crowded.
        Signs of dental crowding:

        • Tooth discomfort on biting
        • Crooked teeth set at unnatural angles in your mouth
        • Teeth overlapping each other
        • Crossbite
        • Excessive overjet
        • Jaw pain
        • Trouble biting or chewing
        • Difficulty brushing and flossing
        • Bleeding gums when flossing

        If you have questions about whether these signs indicate dental crowding, schedule a consultation with a licensed orthodontist for more information. They will be able to do a thorough examination to determine whether your teeth are too crowded and what to do about it.

          IS CROWDING  Bad for Your Teeth

          Is Crowding

          Bad for Your Teeth?

          Yes, dental crowding is important to treat because it can cause lasting problems for your teeth, gums, mouth, and overall health. The most significant problem is  poor hygiene : crowded, overlapping teeth are much harder to clean properly, which increases bacterial growth and plaque build-up. This can in turn cause problems for your teeth and your general health.  Remember: a healthy mouth equals a healthy body.

          Problems resulting from dental crowding:

          For the reasons listed above, it’s extremely important to treat dental crowding as soon as possible. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing children to see an orthodontist beginning at age 7: while they may not begin treatment immediately, the orthodontist will be able to monitor and predict the growth pattern of teeth, making an intervention plan if necessary or taking early measures to prevent dental crowding in the first place.

          If you have dental crowding, visit an orthodontist for a consultation.  No matter your age, an experienced orthodontist can use braces or Invisalign to help you achieve straight teeth and a beautiful smile,  addressing your crowding with effective, comfortable orthodontic care!

          HOW IS  Dental Crowding Treated

          How is

          Dental Crowding Treated?

          Dental crowding can be a source of pain, discomfort, and embarrassment. It can have serious health consequences if left untreated.

          Luckily, licensed orthodontists are extremely skilled at correcting crowded teeth. They study for years to learn the intricate art of tooth movement, mastering the many techniques necessary to properly and safely move each tooth into its correct position.  Your teeth are in good hands with a licensed, experienced orthodontist.

          The most important tool to achieving straight teeth and a healthy smile is the expertise of your doctor. They use the following tools to treat dental crowding.

          adult braces colors


          There are various forms of  braces , all of which can be very effective tools in the hands of expert orthodontists to treat dental crowding. Metal, ceramic, or lingual braces can all help properly align teeth. Skilled doctors have helped many people achieve healthy bites and smiles with safe and comfortable braces treatment.

          invisalign aligner with case



          Invisalign treatment  uses clear aligners  to treat dental crowding. This is an extremely effective method for straightening teeth and correcting crowding. Patients love the discreet look of the clear aligners, which are nearly invisible when worn: plus, they achieve excellent results with speed and efficiency. Invisalign treatment is a great option for teens and adults who have overcrowded teeth!

          dental surgery


          When teeth are extremely crowded, it sometimes is necessary to get certain teeth  extracted . This is often the case for extra teeth, which are not needed for proper oral health, and cause crowding. If you need an extraction, your expert orthodontist will refer you to an oral surgeon or a dentist who can help with extractions. After extractions are completed and have healed, your orthodontist will move and guide the teeth into the extraction site to alleviate crowding.

          Alonda, 23 years old, lower front crowding, removal of lower incisor, and 12 months Invisalign treatment (before and after)
          Alonda  years old lower front crowding removal of lower incisor and  months Invisalign treatment before and after


          Your orthodontist will provide you with  retainers  to keep your smile in place after treatment for dental crowding. Teeth can sometimes slip back over time to their original positions, so the retainer protects the results achieved by orthodontic care. Be sure to wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist.

          You have options when it comes to treating dental crowding.  Your orthodontist will do a thorough examination of your teeth, including x-rays and/or 3D scans.

          The most important part of your treatment is the orthodontist:  choose a licensed, experienced orthodontist, not a general dentist to ensure you’re getting the highest-quality care and dedicated expertise.

          Practices that offer only orthodontics usually offer braces & Invisalign care for a lower price and have specialized skills specifically to treat issues like dental crowding. You are not only saving money, but you are also getting expert care as well!

          Treating Dental Crowding: Before & After

          Nataniel, 16 years old, Crowding caused by Overbite and Space Deficiency, before and after 9 months of Invisalign treatment
          Nataniel  years old Crowding casued by Overbite and Space Deficiency before Invisalign treatment
          Nataniel  years old Crowding casued by Overbite and Space Deficiency after Invisalign treatment
          Nia, 18 years old, Crowding and Overbite alleviated with extractions and Invisalign treatment (before and after)
          Nia  years old Crowding and Overbite alleviated with extractions and Invisalgn treatment before and after

          Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Crowding

          • 1 Why Are My Teeth Crowded?

            Dental crowding can happen for a variety of reasons. Often the cause is genetic: the jaw is too small to support all the teeth, which compete for space when they grow in, causing them to grow in at unnatural angles.

            Other causes may be losing baby teeth early, extra adult teeth, overly-large or irregularly-shaped teeth, all of which can cause teeth to crowd. Your expert orthodontist will be able to assess the dental crowding and identify what may have caused it by discussing your health history.

          • 2 How Do I Know if My Teeth Are Crowded?

            If you have misaligned and/or rotated teeth, or have difficulty flossing, chewing, biting, or closing your mouth properly, these are all signs that you may have dental crowding. If you are having dental pain, jaw pain, general discomfort, or don’t like the way your smile looks, you may also be suffering from crowded teeth.

            Consult a licensed orthodontist to find out your specific diagnosis and to discuss treatment options: dental crowding can be corrected, with proper care from a licensed, experienced orthodontist.

          • 3 Can Crowded Teeth be Corrected?

            Yes! An expert orthodontist can help you treat your dental crowding. Overcrowding can cause bite problems, pain, discomfort, and embarrassment with one’s smile, so it’s best to treat overcrowding as soon as possible. Expert orthodontists can treat overcrowding with a variety of methods, including braces and Invisalign aligners.

            Each case is unique, and your skilled orthodontist will carefully create a treatment method designed to adjust each of your teeth into their correct alignment. No matter your age, orthodontic care can help correct your crowded teeth.

          • 4 Does Removing Teeth Help with Dental Crowding?

            It depends on the case: in certain cases, especially for those patients who have too many teeth, or have very severe crowding, removing teeth will help the issue and create room for the other teeth. For others, traditional orthodontic treatment will be able to correct the crowding and achieve straight teeth.

            Your skilled orthodontist will do a thorough examination, including x-rays, to determine what is causing the dental crowding and how best to correct it.

          • 5 Do Crowded Teeth Get Worse?

            Yes, crowding will get worse over time. Misaligned teeth can continue to compete for position, leading to more crowding and overlapping. Crowding makes proper oral hygiene harder, so over time, this can lead to bacteria growth and excessive plaque build-up, which has serious consequences for your health. It’s important to address dental crowding as soon as you can, to straighten the teeth and achieve a healthy smile.

            Orthodontists advise parents to bring children in for a consultation at age 7, so they can determine whether future orthodontic intervention will be needed to correct crowding. Crowding can be corrected at any age, by skilled orthodontists with medical-grade technology

          • 6 How Long Does It Take to Correct Crowded Teeth?

            Every treatment is unique, so it depends on your specific condition and the severity of the crowding in your mouth. In addition, the skill and experience of your orthodontist will determine the length of your treatment. Generally, mild cases can be corrected in 6-8 months, while more complex cases may take 12 months to 2 years. Your expert orthodontist is the most important tool for effective, timely treatment for crowded teeth.

          • 7 How Much Does It Cost to Correct Crowded Teeth?

            Each case of dental crowding is unique, and costs also depend on the treatment selected, the provider who treats you, and where you live. Treatment can cost anywhere between $1,700 to $9,000. Insurance can greatly offset your orthodontic care, and most orthodontic offices offer flexible monthly payment plans to help make payment easy and affordable.

          • 8 What is the Cheapest Way to Correct Crowded Teeth?

            Costs vary depending on the severity of the dental crowding, but generally, metal braces are the most cost-effective way to correct dental crowding. They are safe, effective, and reliable, and usually covered by dental insurance with orthodontic coverage.

            Metal braces can correct crowding for anywhere between $1,700 and $7,000, depending on the specifics of your case. Make sure you choose a dedicated, experienced orthodontist in an accredited orthodontic office: this will save you money overall and offer the most experienced, skilled professional care.

          • 9 Can Invisalign Aligners Correct Dental Crowding?

            Yes, when supervised by an expert orthodontist, Invisalign is an excellent treatment option for correcting dental crowding. Invisalign treatment has gained popularity since it was first introduced over 20 years ago. The clear aligners are convenient, comfortable, and effective, and patients love the discreet, nearly invisible appearance of the aligners.

            Invisalign treatment is carefully designed for the patient’s unique case by an expert, trained doctor, to precisely move teeth into their correct positions. Be sure to look for real Invisalign providers, and not off-brand companies like mail-order aligner brands, which offer a less-effective product for the same price.

          • 10 Can I Correct Dental Crowding at Home?

            No, it is not recommended that you attempt to correct your teeth at home. This can have serious consequences for your health. Orthodontists study for years to learn how to safely and effectively straighten teeth, using precise techniques and special equipment. Trying to use at-home materials like rubber bands to correct your dental crowding can damage your teeth and gums, sometimes causing permanent harm. In addition,  using at-home DIY treatment kits can cause damage to your teeth due to lack of proper supervision .

            The American Association of Orthodontists has recently issued an advisory warning against mail-order aligner kits. Correcting dental crowding is a medical intervention and should be done by a licensed professional, with direct supervision in a real orthodontist’s office.

          • 11 What is the Fastest Way to Treat Dental Crowding?

            Choosing an expert, skilled orthodontist is the key to efficient, effective treatment. In the hands of a skilled provider, both braces and Invisalign are reliable tools. In some cases, Invisalign may be a faster treatment method than braces for treating dental crowding, although it depends on the severity of the crowding.

            Your skilled orthodontist will do a thorough examination of your teeth and determine the most effective, quick treatment method for your condition.

          • 12 How Do Braces Correct Dental Crowding?

            Your orthodontist uses braces to correct dental crowding. To do this, they attach small brackets to your teeth and connect these with a flexible, lightweight metal wire. The wire links the brackets and provides the force that moves the teeth slowly and safely into place, bringing your teeth into their proper positions and spreading them out to treat crowding. They may also use rubber bands for added leverage in correcting the crowding.

            Moving teeth requires years of training. Be sure to choose an experienced orthodontist who is equipped with the tools and skills necessary for addressing dental crowding. This will give your smile the best treatment and the longest-lasting results.

          • 13 How Does Invisalign Treatment Correct Dental Crowding?

            When used as a tool by an expert, skilled orthodontist, Invisalign aligners are a great treatment method for correcting dental crowding. When you visit the orthodontist for Invisalign aligners, the first step will be to take x-rays and  iTero® 3D  scans of your teeth and bite.

            Your orthodontist then custom designs a series of clear aligners that will safely and efficiently move your teeth into their correct positions and correct the dental crowding. Seek out the most experienced Invisalign provider you can find in your area, for the highest-quality care and most reliable, lasting results.

          • 14 How Much Does Invisalign Cost to Correct Dental Crowding?

            Costs vary depending on your specific case, but generally, you can expect to pay between $2,650 and $7,000 for Invisalign treatment to correct dental crowding. Finding an experienced orthodontist is the most important part of your orthodontic care.

            Do your research before choosing an Invisalign provider: a low cost may look appealing, but find out what’s included. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, including x-rays, attachments, and final retainers. Mail-order aligners do not use Invisalign, so their treatment may be less effective and end up costing more.

          • 15 How Much Do Braces Cost to Correct Dental Crowding?

            Braces costs will depend on the specifics of your case and where you get your orthodontic care, but you can generally expect to pay between $1,700 and $6,000 for metal or ceramic braces to treat dental crowding. Do your research before choosing a provider: make sure to go to a dedicated, licensed orthodontist, rather than a general dentist, for more experienced care, high-end equipment, and lower prices!