There are several reasons why some people’s teeth grow in crooked, overlapping, or twisted. Some people’s mouths are too small for their teeth, which crowds the teeth and causes them to shift. In other cases, a person’s upper and lower jaws aren’t the same size or are malformed, resulting in either an overbite, when there is excessive protrusion of the upper jaw, or an under bite, when the lower jaw protrudes forward causing the lower jaw and teeth to extend out beyond the upper teeth.
Most often crooked teeth, overbites, and underbites are inherited traits just as the color of your eyes or size of your hands. Other causes of misaligned bites are early loss of baby or adult teeth; improper fit of dental restorations (for example, fillings or crowns); gingivitis (gum disease); undue pressure on the teeth and gums; misalignment of the jaw after an injury; tumors of the mouth or jaw; or common oral health problems in children such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, pacifier use beyond the age of three, or prolonged use of a bottle.
What Problems Come With Crooked Teeth and Misaligned Bites?
Crooked teeth and misaligned bites can:
- Interfere with proper chewing.
- Make keeping teeth clean more of a challenge, increasing the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis.
- Strain the teeth, jaws, and muscles, increasing the risk of breaking a tooth.
- Make people feel self-conscious about their appearance and affect their self-esteem.
How Do I Know if My Teeth Are Crooked or My Bite Is Misaligned?
While you can see for yourself if teeth are crooked, your dentist can determine if the problem warrants treatment. Your dentist will look for the following signs:
- Abnormal alignment of teeth
- Abnormal appearance of the face
- Difficulty or discomfort when chewing or biting
- Speech difficulties, including lisp.