Are Crooked Teeth Genetic? 6 Signs Your Child Might End Up Needing Braces

Signs your child might need braces

Don’t you love the crooked grin kids flash when they are happy or laughing? Of course, we all do. And it’s not unusual for kids to have crooked teeth when they’re young. But as your kids age, those crooked teeth become less endearing because they can be one of the signs your child might need braces. But what is it that causes crooked teeth in the first place?

These causes of crooked teeth may be signs your child will need braces.

There are many reasons your child might have crooked teeth. And the reasons below could also be signs your child might need braces.

1. Family History or Genetics 

It’s not unusual for patients to ask us if crooked teeth are genetic. Crooked teeth are often inherited from parents or grandparents, affecting the size and shape of your child’s jaw and teeth. This can contribute to misaligned teeth as your child gets older. But crooked teeth are not always due to family history. External factors can be the cause as well.

2. Prolonged Thumb- or Pacifier-Sucking Habit

Prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use can cause misalignment of the teeth and jaw. While using a pacifier and thumb sucking are common in young children and provides a source of comfort, if the habit persists beyond the age of three or four, it can lead to problems with the alignment of teeth and the development of the jaw.

3. Narrow Palate

Your palate is otherwise known as the roof of your mouth. If your child has a narrow palate, their dental arches can become crowded, causing teeth to overlap or come in crooked. This can also cause their upper teeth to protrude too far forward or the lower teeth to be set too far back, leading to an overbite or underbite.

4. Mouth Breathing

Chronic mouth breathing can cause changes in the jaw and teeth development, leading to misalignment. More specifically, when your child breathes through their mouth instead of their nose, it causes the tongue to rest in a low position, putting pressure on the front teeth and causing them to shift forward. This can lead to an overbite or protruding front teeth. In proper oral resting posture, the lips are gently closed, the teeth are slightly apart, with the tongue resting against the roof of the mouth, just behind the front teeth.

5. Bruxism

If your child grinds or clenches their teeth during the day or at night, this is called bruxism. When left untreated, it can lead to various oral issues as, over time, the constant grinding and clenching of the teeth can cause the enamel to wear down, leading to tooth sensitivity, pain, and even cracks or fractures in the teeth. In severe cases, bruxism can cause the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.

6. Early, Late, or Irregular Pattern of Loss of Baby Teeth

If baby teeth are lost too early due to injury, decay, or other factors, the permanent teeth may shift position, resulting in crooked or crowded teeth. This is because the baby teeth help guide the permanent teeth into their proper places. When lost prematurely, the permanent teeth may not have enough space to come in correctly. Further, if baby teeth are lost too late or in an irregular pattern, the permanent teeth may also come in crooked or crowded. This happens when baby teeth stay in place too long, preventing the permanent teeth from coming in correctly.

An early orthodontic evaluation can determine if your child needs braces.

Dentists recommend that children receive an early orthodontic evaluation around age seven. This evaluation is often conducted during your child’s regular dentist appointment. The dentist or pediatric dentist who can practice orthodontics will examine your child’s teeth, jaws, and bite to determine if any issues require orthodontic treatment. In most cases, the evaluation will include a thorough dental and medical history, a visual examination of the teeth and jaws, and possibly X-rays or other imaging to assess the underlying structures of the teeth and jaws.

In most cases, there will be one of three outcomes.

Must Love Kids is your braces dentist in Vancouver.

If you believe there are signs your child might need braces, it is recommended you have them seen by a dentist or orthodontist sooner than later. Early treatment can help save time and money down the road. At Must Love Kids in Vancouver, we offer not only general dentistry for kids but orthodontics for kids as well. Request an appointment for your child today.