What causes crooked teeth?

Your trusted children’s orthodontist

Here at Charlottesville Orthodontics, we are proud to offer the best orthodontic care to children of all ages through our wide range of services and treatments. We know that braces and Invisalign® can correct crooked, tight smiles, but what causes teeth to be crooked? Here, our doctors provide some answers.

Jaw development

The development of your child’s jaw is one of the most important factors in how their smile will develop. A straight dental arch and a wide palate must be present for straight teeth. For this to happen, the jaw and cranial bones must develop correctly. Your child’s posture, eating, and breathing as a young child all affect jaw development. Keep in mind that jaw development is nearing completion by age 7 approximately, so the causes of crooked jaw and teeth can begin at a very young age.

Lip & tongue posture

When at rest, the tongue should rest up against the palate, or upper jaw, and the lips should close due to the facial muscles that hold them in place. To develop a straight smile, all the muscles that connect to the jaw, base of the skull, spine, and throat should work properly. Low and forward tongue posture can affect how the lips close, causing issues such as flaccidity or lack of mentalis muscle strain. Poor tongue and lip posture can lead to crooked teeth.

Oral habits & behaviors

Common early childhood habits such as thumb-sucking or using a pacifier can cause a child to develop an open bite, leading to crooked teeth. Your baby can still soothe with these methods, however, the key is to discontinue these habits quickly to avoid oral development impairment. Our doctors can provide you with more details on how to work with your baby to create healthy habits that help develop a healthy smile.

How you can help

Some simple ways to help your child achieve healthy jaw growth and straight teeth include:

  • Encouraging your child to breathe in through the nose rather than the mouth.
  • Correcting your child’s posture when necessary and encourage them to sit up straight.
  • Encouraging proper tongue positioning (up against the palate) and closing of the lips when at rest.

Contact your Charlottesville children’s orthodontist today!

From braces to corrective jaw surgeries, Charlottesville Orthodontics is here to help your child achieve and maintain a healthy, straight, and beautiful smile. If you have any questions related to orthodontics, or about your child’s oral development and health, we encourage you to contact us, or request an appointment. We can’t wait to help give your child a smile they are proud to show off for years to come!