At Today’s Dentistry, we get many parents who are worried that their kids adult teeth are coming through crooked, overcrowded, sticking out or gappy. Here, we look at some of the reasons for kids crooked teeth, then in our second article, we’ll talk about why – if your child has crooked teeth – they may need early orthodontic assessment.
My nine-year-old son’s baby teeth were straight, but now he has really crooked teeth. Why?
A lot of kids crooked teeth and bite problems are predetermined by the size and alignment of your child’s jaws. Their teeth sit and grow in their jaws, so the relationship between their upper and lower jaws will predetermine their bite.
If their upper jaw grows too far forward, they’ll have an overbite – people with this often have teeth that stick out or buck teeth. On the other hand, people with a big Roger Ramjet lower jaw will have an underbite. If the skeletal position of their jaws is misaligned, their teeth won’t match and they’ll have a crossbite.
Essentially, though, it’s not so much about the size of your child’s jaws – it’s about how their jaws relate to each other and to other landmarks of their jaws. That’s why we take side-on X-rays at different angles.
Kids crooked teeth: So if my child has overcrowded mouth will teeth need to be removed?
Kids crooked teeth can happen when there just isn’t enough room in their jaws for their teeth to fit normally (whereas gappy teeth can occur when there’s extra space in their jaws).
If your child has crowded teeth or buck teeth, there’s a big chance they’re going to need teeth removed (called an extraction) because you have to pull everything back within the jaw. To do this, they may need orthodontic treatment.
Ultimately, you can only work within the confines of the predetermined skeletal relationship between the upper and lower jaws. Sometimes the skeletal relationship is so severe that surgery needs to be done to move the jaws back into a more normal relationship, in order to fix the bite.
What about thumb-sucking? My daughter’s front teeth are sticking out. She’s now six.
The pressure of sucking your thumb pulls your front teeth forward and your back teeth inward, making the arch of your mouth more narrow and constricting teeth in your upper jaw.
A palatal expander is a common orthodontic device used for younger kids who have crowded teeth and narrow arches. Made from metal, an expander is fixed to the roof of a child’s mouth and uses a key-like instrument to gradually push the back teeth outward and correct that growth discrepancy.
If your child has crowded teeth or buck teeth, there’s a big chance they’re going to need teeth removed
Sometimes we’ll use an expander when a child is aged between eight and 10 years, as an early intervention to a complete orthodontic plan. Some kids may have just one tooth in a crossbite, which we can correct. If appropriate, kids who’ve had an expander may go on to have braces for further correction.