Causes of Crooked Teeth

3 out of every 4 children have crowded teeth and incorrectly developing jaws. These problems are evident to many parents in their children from as early as 2 to 5 years of age. Modern research has shown that soft tissue dysfunction such as mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, reverse swallowing and thumb sucking (also known as incorrect myofunctional habits) are the real causes of incorrect jaw development, crowded teeth and other orthodontic problems. The soft tissues in your mouth control dental position and should be treated in conjunction with any orthodontic appliance therapy. Treating the soft tissue inside your mouth is highly important as research shows the position of the teeth is determined by the lips and tongue. Also, positive facial growth depends on correct function and correct breathing.

However, treatment is not usually recommended at this time by the child's Dentist or Orthodontist, rather it is advised to wait until all permanent teeth are present, and to treat with braces and extractions. However, when the permanent teeth erupt at 6 to 8 years of age, the child's appearance often becomes worse. The MRC Clinics approach is to evaluate your child from an earlier age, looking for the causes of crooked teeth, and suggesting treatment for these causes as soon as possible.

Correcting these incorrect myofunctional habits at an early age allows for the child to develop correct arch development, good dental alignment, improved jaw growth and overall, better facial development. Additionally, correction of the myofunctional habits can reduce or eliminate the need for braces.

Marta M. Rivera, DMD is a pediatric dentist specializing in sedation and dentofacial development procedures in Tampa, Florida.
For traditional pediatric dental needs, please visit Pediatric Dentistry of New Tampa at
5326 Primrose Lake Circle, Tampa, FL 33647
(813) 374-0388