As your child’s permanent (adult) teeth start to push their way in, you might notice that they look crowded or crooked compared to their baby (primary) teeth. It doesn’t seem too surprising that this is the case as many adult teeth, especially the front ones, are much larger than the baby teeth they are replacing. 

Lack of Spacing

Most often, crooked teeth are due to inadequate spacing in your child’s mouth for the total size of the teeth they are erupting. Since permanent teeth are, in general, larger than primary ones, they may need to work their way in however possible, causing them to lean, rotate, or even become impacted in inappropriate places in the mouth. Think of how you might maneuver through a tight space by turning your body sideways.  Our teeth often do the same thing only they do it without thinking, they just push in any way they can. 

Without intervention, these teeth will not straighten out on their own and may worsen as other, larger teeth erupt down the road.  

What Causes Teeth to Come in Crooked?

  • Jaw size and shape 
  • Premature tooth loss 
  • Tight spacing between baby teeth 
  • Habits, such as thumb or pacifier sucking 
  • Abnormal tongue posture 
  • Genetics 

 Early Intervention and Growth Modification

Oftentimes, the best solution to crooked teeth in children is to intercept them as early as possible. Through growth modification techniques, our orthodontists can guide the teeth into a healthy eruption pattern. In turn, straightening out crooked teeth will aid in the healthy growth of their jaws and facial profile. When teeth move to new locations, they build new bone and can be more in harmony with the soft tissues surrounding them.  These adaptations also lower the risk of speech irregularities, dental emergencies, TMJ disorder, and social issues due to embarrassment about one’s teeth.  

How Can My Child’s Dental Team Help?

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan may use a combination of growth modification techniques, such as space maintainers, palatal expanders, or “Phase 1” braces, to encourage healthy tooth eruption. These resources promote a more appropriate growth pattern, limiting the need for complex orthodontic therapy (or surgery) when your child is older.   

Does Your Child Have Crooked Teeth?

The healthiest thing to do for your child is to see a pediatric dentist or orthodontist for an early childhood screening. Contact Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan if you have concerns or if your child is already seven years old.  The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children 7 and older be screened by an orthodontist for growth and dental developmental abnormalities.  Our examinations are complementary and we are certain you will learn a lot by coming in for a check-up.  Give us a call today!