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What Causes Crooked or Spaced Teeth?

Dr. Mark Coreil, DDS

Dr. Mark Coreil, DDS

Dr. Mark Coreil, DDS is a Board Certified orthodontist. He is also an Associate Professor of Clinical Orthodontics at the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry.

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Crooked teeth need to be fixed with orthodontic treatment

What Causes Crooked or Spaced Teeth?

There are about 4 million people with braces in the United States*. The most common reasons patients seek orthodontic treatment include crooked teeth, crowding, spacing, or a bad bite. Many patients ask the following questions, “What caused my crowded teeth?” or “What caused my teeth to be spaced?” We will discuss some of the more common causes for both of these problems and also discuss a myth about crowding at the end of the article.

Parents Can Contribute To Crowding and Spacing Of Our Teeth Just Like They Influence Height, Hair, And Our Good Looks

Genetics is the most dominant contributor to problems with our smiles and our bite. For example, what if your mom is petite with very small teeth and your dad is super tall and has very large teeth. When we combine dad’s large teeth with mom’s small jaws we usually end up with crowded teeth. Conversely, the same parents could have a child with mom’s small teeth and dad’s large jaws resulting in spacing between the teeth. What is hilarious is within the same family we can have both of the examples above and everyone is perplexed at how this happened.

Our Tongue And Thumb Can Cause Both Crowding And Spacing Of Our Teeth

Poor Breathing In A Growing Child Can Cause Crowding Of The Teeth

Children often cannot breathe through their noses due to allergies or chronic nasal congestion. In these patients, the mouth must remain open for breathing both day and night. When this occurs the tongue is away from the palate and not pushing outward on the teeth. With the cheeks pushing inward and nothing pushing outward, the jaw narrows causing the teeth to crowd. Crowding of the lower teeth is also very common with children who have difficulty breathing through their noses.

Crowded or spaced teeth can be caused by genetics, habits, or poor breathing. Your orthodontist is the best person to evaluate and treat these tooth and jaw-related issues. If you recognize any of the problems noted above the best place to start is with an orthodontic consultation. When it comes to breathing problems; your orthodontist will likely refer you to an ENT for evaluation and treatment of airway problems.

Now for the Myth: Do wisdom teeth cause the lower teeth to crowd as someone ages? The answer is NO because patients who do not have wisdom teeth have a similar amount of crowding when compared to those that have wisdom teeth. The removal of wisdom teeth remains beneficial for the overall health of the bite and bone support around the second molars.

How Coreil Orthodontics Can Help

At Coreil Orthodontics we use the most advanced technology available to identify problems with breathing that are not seen on traditional x-ray images. We also remain focused on overall patient health as well as tooth and jaw-related issues. With over 30 years of experience treating the most complex cases, I am comfortable with almost any need that arises. I continue to develop new innovations for several companies and stay active in research at the LSU School of Dentistry. In all, we are dedicated to providing the most advanced care available to you the patient. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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