If you have crooked teeth and want a better smile, getting orthodontic treatment can help you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of. During the process of straightening your teeth with braces or Invisalign, you may find yourself wondering why some people have crooked teeth in the first place. The answer to this question is different for every patient and depends on a number of factors.
Genetic Factors Cause Crooked Teeth
The most common reason people have crooked teeth and end up needing orthodontic treatment is due to the genes they received from their parents. Some people win the genetic lottery and have very little instances of crookedness in their teeth. Most people, however, have genes that cause their teeth to grow crooked or unevenly spaced and will benefit from orthodontic treatment. Even people who have visibly straight teeth can benefit from braces or Invisalign as well since some issues are toward the back of the mouth or are hidden below the gums.
Bad Early Habits
While genes play a role in determining if a patient will have crooked teeth, it’s not the only factor. Early habits greatly influence the growth of teeth and the jawbone. Thumb-sucking is one common source of crooked teeth. If it continues after the age of four, it can alter the shape of the jaw and cause early tooth loss. Not only does this lead to crowding, it can also cause impacted teeth (when a permanent tooth has no room to erupt) or bite problems, like underbites and overbites.
Another habit that can interrupt the proper growth of teeth is tongue-thrusting. Normally, children learn to swallow with their tongue planted on the roof of their mouth, not pressing on their front teeth. Tongue-thrusting is an improper swallowing form where the tongue thrusts forward during each swallow. This habit can result in a narrow upper jaw, which often causes a crossbite and crowding.
Injuries to Mouth
Sometimes, external factors can influence the growth of teeth, such as injuries to the face or jaw. In particular, losing baby teeth too early as a result of an injury can lead to crowding. This is because baby teeth are essentially placeholders that allow the jaw to grow properly before the adult teeth erupt. With the baby teeth gone too early, there may not be enough space in the jaw for the adult teeth, leading to crowding and a higher risk for impacted teeth.
How Your Orthodontist Fixes Crookedness
For some patients, orthodontics starts early, around the age of seven. For kids who have jaw problems due to poor habits or genetic factors, orthodontists can prescribe an early treatment plan, such as using a palatal expander or partial braces. Other patients will be able to fix their crooked teeth using braces or Invisalign.
Your orthodontist will take a look at your teeth and jaws using x-rays and a digital scanner. After making an assessment, they will start you on a treatment plan that works best for you, so you can be on your way to a better smile.