When you bring your baby or toddler in for their first appointment, rather than a cleaning, we usually do a simple exam to evaluate the health of your child’s teeth and gums. One of the things the dentist likes to look for, is the spacing between the teeth in your child’s mouth. Ideally, your child will have some spacing in between their teeth. This gives them lots of room to work with as their adult teeth grow in later on. There isn’t anything you can do to influence the way that their teeth grow in, but you may feel concerned if you notice your child’s teeth have grown in crowded together or crooked. So, why does this happen?
In most cases, genetics is the biggest reason that your toddler has a mouth full of crooked teeth. Just because you or your partner has crooked teeth won’t contribute to this, it usually has more to do with the jaw of one of you. If you have a large jaw, but your spouse has a small one, they may have inherited the smaller jaw and your larger teeth. This can lead to crowding, which leads to the teeth growing in crooked.
Another reason that your child’s teeth may be growing in crooked is if they have a habit of sucking on their thumb or fingers. This is because the pressure of sucking on their fingers puts pressure on the back of their front teeth, pushing them forward and out of place.
If your child has crowding in their mouth, don’t worry! It just means that your child will likely need braces as they get older and their adult teeth come in. However, you don’t have to wait until their adult teeth come in to start fixing the crowding problems in their mouth. Talk to your pediatric dentist for recommendations on jaw expansion while their teeth and jaw are still developing.