Why are my child's teeth crooked?

Why are my child's teeth crooked?

Parents often ask “How did my child's teeth get crooked?” Teeth erupt crookedly for a number of reasons, ranging from genetics to mouth deformities and serious oral conditions.

When extra teeth or abnormally large teeth create a malocclusion (crookedness or misplacement), the culprit is usually genetic in nature. Other inherited traits involve jaws that are too small to accommodate a full set of teeth and misaligned jaws that did not form properly.

In most cases, underbites, overbites and crooked teeth are genetic and can’t be avoided. Orthodontic treatment with braces will be necessary to correct the condition once your child is old enough to wear them.

Certain early childhood behaviours may contribute to the development of crooked teeth. Losing baby teeth to decay or trauma before permanent teeth have naturally erupted can cause issues. Baby teeth are like anchors for permanent teeth, they help guide the permanent teeth when they erupt through the gums. In addition, taking excellent care of baby teeth is vital to having healthy permanent teeth free of discolouration or decay. The use of a pacifier, or a thumb/digit sucking habit after the front teeth have erupted, can cause the front teeth to be pushed forward and may also create an open-bite.

This Australian Society of Orthodontists' blog post was based on content supplied by Ocean Orthodontics.