Teen girl in pool smiling showing teeth

The straight truth about crooked teeth

As a child, a grin with missing front teeth or a crooked smile only adds to our cute charm. Face it, we’re adorable! It isn’t until later in life, when we start feeling self-conscious about our smile or have issues with chewing or biting, that we may start wishing we didn’t have crooked teeth.

In a perfect world, we’d all be born with an amazing smile fit for the Hollywood screens – perfectly straight, brilliantly white teeth. But of course, the world isn’t perfect—and for many of us, neither are our teeth.

Whether you’re an adolescent who’s just beginning to feel uncomfortable about your crooked teeth or have spent decades of your life wishing you could fix your smile, the team at Chapman Orthodontics can help you find the right solution. Keep reading to learn the facts about crooked teeth, why they happen in the first place, and the best ways to fix them if you want to.

Are crooked teeth bad or unhealthy?

Every person is unique, and that includes their teeth and jaw development. Some find their crooked teeth to be an expression of their individuality and wouldn’t change a thing. Can you imagine the movie character Austin Powers without his crooked British smile?

Unfortunately, crooked teeth can lead to numerous oral health issues and other complications if left untreated. Even if improving your appearance isn’t your top concern, consulting an orthodontist about your crooked teeth can save you a lot of health trouble and expense down the road.

Are crooked teeth genetic?

Yes, many people have a genetic predisposition to crooked teeth. If crooked teeth run in the family, a child may end up with crooked permanent teeth as well—even if they have excellent oral care habits. People who are born with smaller mouths, smaller jaws, or larger teeth also have a greater chance of developing crooked teeth, since crowding causes their teeth to shift.

Crooked teeth can occur for many non-genetic reasons as well, including:

  • Thumb sucking: A thumb-sucking baby may be cute, but the result usually isn’t! The thumb’s constant pressure on still-growing gums often causes teeth to grow in crooked, especially if thumb sucking continues into the toddler years. Heavy pacifier use can cause the same problem.
  • Premature loss of baby teeth: Losing a baby tooth early can allow other teeth to shift into the area, crowding the space where a permanent tooth eventually comes in.
  • Tongue thrusting: If you press your tongue against your teeth instead of the roof of your mouth when swallowing, this habit can result in crooked teeth.
  • Mouth or jaw injury: Facial trauma is often the reason for the most severe cases of crooked teeth. When teeth are lost or the jaw is shifted by injury, the remaining teeth will likely move into that open space.

Is it okay to have crooked teeth?

From an aesthetic standpoint, there’s nothing “wrong” about a crooked smile. But crooked teeth can cause significant oral health issues, primarily because they’re harder to clean. Poor oral hygiene often leads to tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even tooth loss. Crooked teeth can also cause excessive wear and tear on the teeth, gums, and jaw muscles, resulting in cracked teeth, jaw strain, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and chronic headaches. Other issues related to crooked teeth include:

  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty with speech and pronouncing certain words
  • Difficulty chewing and digesting food

Will crooked teeth straighten out, or will they get worse?

We’ll answer this question with an industry joke: What did the dentist say to the patient with the crooked teeth? Brace yourself.

People often wonder if crooked teeth can be fixed without braces, but it’s extremely rare for teeth to straighten out on their own. Some choose to forgo treatment if they’re not experiencing health problems or self-esteem issues, but crooked teeth will likely continue to get worse over time.

What are the options for fixing crooked teeth?

Issues like crooked teeth can benefit greatly from early intervention. Thankfully, orthodontic treatment can begin at an early age! In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive their first orthodontic evaluation at or near the age of seven.

  • Braces: This form of treatment includes traditional metal braces and ceramic braces. Braces apply constant pressure on the jaw, causing teeth to move into the desired position over time.
  • Invisalign treatment: Invisalign works the same way as braces but uses clear aligners that are custom designed to fit over your teeth. Can Invisalign treatment fix crooked teeth? Absolutely.

Schedule your free consultation today

Whether you were an avid thumb sucker, injured your mouth, or simply have a genetic predisposition, you don’t have to live with crooked teeth forever. If you’re ready to say goodbye to them once and for all, contact Chapman Orthodontics today.

You’ll experience the Chapman difference on your very first visit with a free consultation that includes one-on-one time with a doctor, digital X-rays, and an iTero® 3-D model of your teeth and gums—all so we can create a treatment plan that works specifically for you. No dentist referral is necessary, so you can visit us at your convenience. Chapman Orthodontics is here to help you get straightened out, so you can get on with life!

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