Crooked Teeth: Causes and Solutions

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Are you looking for the best explanation and solution for your crooked teeth? If you are wondering about this issue don’t worry you are not alone. A lot of adults and children have crooked or crowded teeth and we have all the answers you are looking for.

While misaligned teeth can give a certain charm to the whole character it’s also one of the bigger insecurities with people, and they are constantly looking for ways to fix crooked teeth.

But is this possible, and how to know which orthodontic treatment will work the best for you?

Keep on reading to find out all the details that will help you understand and treat your crooked teeth in the most efficient way.

What causes crooked teeth?

Crooked teeth are usually already noticeable while children have baby teeth. For various reasons teeth in the jaw can come in crooked or become misaligned teeth due to genetics, small jaw, or repeated actions like thumb sucking.

Even though your baby teeth are crooked, this does not guarantee that the permanent teeth will be crooked. This is great news for parents, but even if your child does have some jaw misalignment, it’s important to understand why and decide the best treatment choices.

Here are some of the reasons why baby teeth remain crooked in adulthood:

Genetics and heredity

One of the big factors that influence tooth alignment is genetics and heredity. Some people are more likely to have crowded and misaligned teeth because it runs in the family. While it can be uncomfortable to know that your children might inherit your crooked teeth at the end of the day you will most likely have a better understanding of the problem.

Poor myofunctional habits

Some children have perfectly straight teeth coming in but create misalignments with repetitive actions like:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Pacifier and bottle using for too long
  • Tongue thrusting

Most of these actions will cause protruding upper teeth and misaligned bites that will result in the remaining teeth being crooked and needing straightening teeth treatment.

Jaw bone size

In cases where the jaw bone is too small teeth don’t have enough room to grow and become crowded. This is one of the main conditions that cause crooked teeth and in order to fix it patients usually need to remove a couple of permanent teeth. This way there will be enough room in the jaw for the orthodontic treatments to be effective.

Tooth decay

Tooth decay and gum disease might not be the first things you consider relevant for crooked teeth, however, this can be a major concern and problem. Once a baby tooth is missing because of poor oral hygiene before it should naturally fall out there is a gap that can create misaligned teeth.

Both baby teeth and permanent teeth need to be in optimal dental health that will ensure a straight and healthy smile.

Misaligned jaws

Your upper jaw should be placed naturally slightly over the lower jaw, making it a perfect fit for all of the teeth. In some cases, lower teeth are protruding more and then the patient has an underbite, or upper front teeth are dominant with an obvious overbite.

Both conditions can cause crooked teeth that are compensating for the misalignment.

Facial injury

Oral health problems can be caused by jaw injury or facial trauma.

When a patient has facial injuries or even cracked teeth it can cause different dental issues and crooked teeth that need additional support to be placed back into the proper position.

What problems come with crooked teeth?

Crooked teeth can cause various problems and they are not just limited to appearance and hygiene. Most of the time people with misaligned teeth look into ways to fix them because they want to have more confidence in their smile, but on the other hand, making your teeth straight can be very beneficial for your overall health.

Here are a few problems that can be caused by crowded and crooked teeth:

Speech difficulties

Teeth that are not perfectly aligned can cause difficulties when a person is trying to articulate sound. This can be a slight lisp or bigger speech impediments that can influence self-esteem.

Lowered chewing ability

Teeth have a big function in the food processing system in our body and the jaws are the first part of the complex digestive tract. When something is not working optimally, like chewing ability due to misaligned teeth the entire system is jeopardized.

Jaw strain

When your teeth are not aligned there is an extra strain on the jaw muscles. This can cause chronic headaches and tension problems that can stress your body. While many patients don’t feel the strain in the beginning jaw muscles become inflamed over time and cause serious pain.

Gum disease

Crowded and misaligned teeth are difficult to clean, so people who encounter this problem often have gum disease, poor oral health, damaged tooth enamel, and even tooth loss. This is all because teeth that are too close together don’t leave enough room for dental brushes to remove the residue from food and drinks. This build-up eventually causes gum disease and another periodontal disease.

Self-esteem issues

At the end of the day when people don’t consider their teeth to be perfect, they are not confident enough to smile often and have self-esteem issues. This is often one of the first reasons why patients look into ways to fix the current state of their teeth and regain that confidence back.

How do you correct crooked teeth?

Once you are ready to correct your crooked teeth you need to get familiar with every available orthodontic treatment and choose the best one to get your teeth aligned. Your dentist will be able to provide medical advice and assess the state of your upper teeth and lower teeth before making the final decision on what is the best thing for your problem.

Here are a few suggestions to consider to get your straight teeth:

Clear plastic aligners

Depending on the severity of your case you might benefit from Invisalign treatment or other removable aligners like Byte and Candid. This is by far one of the most efficient and comfortable ways to get your perfect and straight smile.

This orthodontic treatment is created for each patient individually to perfectly fit their teeth and although the aligners need to be worn for at least 22 hours they are practically invisible and easy to get used to.

Keep in mind that clear aligners are just for mild cases of misalignment and your doctor will decide if this treatment is the best option for you.

Metal braces

When your teeth need a bit more help to get in the right position your doctor might recommend traditional braces. Metal braces are attached to teeth with metal brackets, wire, and bands that pull the teeth into the right position over time.

Unlike Invisalign aligners, metal braces are more visible, but in some cases, they are necessary to correct bigger problems.

Ceramic braces

If you need bigger corrections but don’t like the look of metal braces you might want to look into ceramic braces instead. This is a good option for people who want their orthodontic treatment to be less visible.

But keep in mind that they are usually more expensive and they break easily.

Lingual braces

Another type of braces that might work for some people is lingual braces. They are similar to traditional braces, but they are attached to the back of your teeth thus they are not visible.

On the other hand, the lingual braces are extremely hard to clean and oral hygiene becomes a chore, so a lot of patients are not the right candidate for this procedure.

Teeth straightening surgery

Serious cases of tongue thrusting and misaligned jaw might have to undergo orthodontic surgery. This procedure will be recommended by your dentist if you want to have results faster or need additional jaw and gum correction before you start any of the mentioned treatments.

Do you need to fix your crooked teeth?

This question requires you to consider all the oral health problems you might have because of the misalignment and the effect it has on your confidence. As you can see a lot of people will struggle with various issues and decide to wear braces not only to improve the look of their teeth but also to resolve some other problems.

Your dentist might recommend that you pay a visit to the best orthodontist in your city, or you can choose one yourself if you see the Invisalign logo in their window. This is usually a good sign that they are cooperating with great companies and providing excellent service.


Is it safe to assume that if baby teeth are crooked, permanent teeth will be as well?

No, baby teeth can be crooked because of various reasons but this doesn’t always imply that the permanent teeth will stay this way. This is why it’s important to maintain the dental health of your children and prevent things that cause crooked teeth.

Can you wear braces only for your upper teeth?

Yes, but the final decision will be made after the assessment by your dentist.

While some people will have problems just with the upper teeth it’s important to treat both jaws and other teeth to achieve the best alignment. This is why, even if the patient just needs to straighten the front teeth, a whole set of braces will be created and placed.

Can you wear clear aligners and braces if you have a missing tooth?

Yes, your orthodontist will have the best solution for your missing tooth and you will be able to get a perfect smile. In some cases where the crowding of the teeth is severe, a doctor might recommend removing one or more teeth to make room for the alignment process.

Final Thoughts

There are many things that cause crooked teeth like poor habits, genetics, and injuries. No matter how this condition developed you now know what it is and how to find the best treatment.

While we can all agree that misaligned teeth can be charming there are many health reasons you need to think about before you make the final decision. It’s not just about the physical appearance but also various problems that can be caused by this condition.

Make the appointment with your dentist today and consult with them about what can help you get a more confident and straight smile and most importantly how to improve your oral health.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.