crooked teeth and orthodontics

Why do teeth get crooked with age?

Lots of people have crooked teeth. Scientists think that this is chiefly because our jaws and teeth are getting smaller, but the jaws are shrinking faster than the teeth. Crowding can start from a very early age. Many parents are shocked when their child, who had perfectly straight baby teeth, develops crowding once the teeth start to change. This is because the permanent teeth are much larger than the baby teeth and unless the baby teeth were well spaced out, crowding is almost inevitable.

Some theories of why teeth crowd

Some people’s teeth come up straight, then become crowded later on. Based on his observations of Aboriginal teeth, the Australian researcher Raymond Begg put forward the theory that as our diet is so refined, the teeth do not wear down and therefore become crowded, but this idea is not accepted by many scientists. So what is the reason that crowding gets worse with time? The answer is that the shape of your mouth changes with age and this has an effect on the position of your teeth. The front part of the mouth gets wider up to the age of 10, in order to accommodate the larger permanent teeth.

An English academic called Robert Lee, found that the mouth starts to narrow after the age of 13, reducing the amount of space available.  The mouth does grow in depth after that age; however the space is not made available to the front teeth as the 14 year molars and then the wisdom teeth take up the room. Furthermore, a Swedish scholar, Arne Bjork, found that the upper and lower jaws keep growing even into the late teens and twenties, but at different rates.  This difference in growth may cause the teeth to tip towards each other to maintain the correct contact. A side effect of this is crowding, especially of the lower front teeth. The wisdom teeth come through at this age and are blamed for the crowding where in fact, they are innocent!

An Irish researcher, Margaret Richardson from Belfast, has shown that there is no connection between wisdom teeth erupting and the occurrence of tooth crowding. As you go through your twenties and early thirties, your face changes and so do the pressures on your teeth, this may push them towards each other and cause dental crowding.

Can I prevent crowding?

So, your teeth are at the risk of crowding from a very early age and the risk increases as you get older. Can anything be done to prevent crowding? If the jaws are significantly crowded then extraction of teeth together with the appropriate brace is the current answer. Unfortunately we do not understand enough about the variability between persons in order to be able to predict the amount and type of crowding a person may develop. The only guaranteed way of keeping your teeth kept straight, whether or not you have had braces, is to wear a retainer for as long as you wish to keep your teeth straight, or in other words, lifelong. The advantages and disadvantages of the different types of retainer will be dealt with in a subsequent post.

Concerned about your teeth crowding?

Camilleri Clinic is a leading dental clinic in Malta offering orthodontic treatment by fully qualified orthodontists. Contact us for more details about treatment options available.

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Covid precautions at our Clinic

Ensuring safety of our Dental Patients during Covid-19

During this Covid pandemic many things have changed, but at Camilleri Dental Medical Clinic one thing has remained the same – our commitment to your safety. Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice, and you may have seen this if you have attended our clinic. Our infection control processes are designed so that when you receive care, it is both safe and comfortable. On entering our clinic all patients are requested to wear a mask and sanitize their hands and their temperature is also checked and recorded. We have a spacious waiting room with designated seating and the dentist wears full protective equipment (FFP3 mask, visor, double gloves and a gown) when carrying out an aerosol generating procedure such as a filling or a cleaning. 

Covid-19: Our clinic’s infection control measures

Changing the air and air filtration at Camilleri Dental Clinic

Since we regularly carry out aerosol generating procedures, we have invested in an Air Changer which has inlets and outlets in every room. The surgeries are equipped with HEPA (High-efficiency Particulate Arrestor) filters which remove particles including bacteria and virus clusters. The efficiency of the surgery air HEPA filters is at least 99.97% at 0.3 Micron. The conditioned air enters at the top of the room and is designed to change the air 6 times an hour within each room, so that the air is constantly changed and purified.  In addition, we have also installed rigorous safety protocols to further prevent the possible release of particles, such as high-volume suction and additional UV air purifiers. The Air purifiers use the latest technology in air purification and a 5-level filtration system which eliminate contaminants in the room, quickly and effectively.

Should I visit my dentist?

We are confident about the safety of our clinic and we would in most cases not suggest skipping your dental check up or any other treatment you may have for fear of Covid-19.

However, we do advise the following:

If you are a person at high risk (in a high-risk age group, an asthmatic person, or someone suffering from an autoimmune condition amongst other things) or live with someone who is at high risk, you may want to consider postponing your appointment. If you are unsure about your specific situation, we would be happy to advise you as to whether visiting our clinic is fine or whether you should cancel or postpone your appointment. Our patient’s wellbeing will always be first at Camilleri Dental Clinic.


Tel: (+356) 21330468

The treatments we offer

During this pandemic, our clinic has maximized protection following the guidelines of internal health authorities for ourselves and our patients. With all the above measures in place and our staff trained to be extra careful and vigilant with regards to sanitization procedures, we are glad to be able to offer our patients all the services listed on our website including treatments falling under:

  • Orthodontics
  • Paediatric Dentistry
  • Oral Surgery
  • Cosmetic Dentistry

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About dental practices during Covid-19

Covid-19 is spread through saliva droplets; whenever we breathe, talk, sneeze and so forth we allow saliva droplets to enter the surrounding air. These droplets can find their way into another person’s nose, mouth, or eyes – not necessarily through inhalation of any contaminated surrounding air but also by touching surfaces other infected individual’s may have touched. If a symptomatic or asymptomatic Covid-19 person contaminates a surface (whether by touching it, sneezing on it, accidentally allowing droplets of saliva to fall onto the surface etc), the person who next touches the surface with for ex. their hands, and then proceeds to touch their mouth, inner nose, rub their eyes etc is at risk of picking up the infection. Covid-19 is extremely contagious.

Because of many dental procedures involving instruments which produce a relatively high amount of saliva droplets (such as drills), dental practices are particularly high-risk, especially if they do not have all the required precautions, equipment and procedures in place. Particles of Covid-19 can linger in the air for hours, making a filtration system specifically designed to get rid of germs a must-have for any clinic to operate during the current time.

At Camilleri Dental Medical Clinic we pride ourselves with placing Patient safety first and we look forward to welcoming you to our clinic.

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Children’s teeth

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