While a few people end up with a perfectly-aligned bite without need for orthodontic treatment, most of us need corrective care if we want straight teeth.
So why do teeth grow in crooked? Or become crooked over time? There are several factors at play:
- Genetics – Hereditary traits contribute to overbites, which are characterized by a protruding upper jaw, or underbites, which are marked by a protruding lower jaw. Uneven teeth are also caused by the traits that children inherit from their parents.
- Thumb sucking – While it is normal for young children to suck their thumbs or a pacifier while they are very young, this habit should stop by age 3. After that, the practice begins to skew the dental alignment. If your child is a thumb or pacifier sucker, seek out ways to help your child break these habits.
- Missing teeth – When a tooth is lost, there will be a vacant space in the mouth, and the remaining teeth will likely shift around to fill the empty space. This will cause teeth to become uneven.
- Overcrowding – Sometimes the bandwidth of the new teeth exceed that of the jaw, resulting in a cramped and crooked bite.
- Gum disease – Gingivitis and other gum diseases can exert pressure on the gums and teeth, causing them to shift. The best way to avoid gum disease is to practice good oral care.
- Trauma – An injury or trauma to the face, particularly the jaw, can cause the teeth to move out of place.
The best solution for uneven or crooked teeth is to see an orthodontist who will examine the problem and propose the necessary solutions. The underpinnings of crooked teeth can develop early, even before the age of 7. An orthodontist can detect impending problems. The earlier solutions are provided, the better the outcome will be for your child’s bite.