Beautiful smiles come in all shapes and sizes, yet what causes a smile to go a little crooked? While we may not know exactly what causes it in every situation, there are several causes for crooked teeth.

It’s in the Genes

One of the biggest factors of whether a smile is straight or not is genetics. Just like hair color and how tall you are, genetics plays a big role in whether somebody will need braces. It also affects dental issues like over bites and under bites.

Dental Accidents

Another cause of crooked teeth is different dental accidents. One example is somebody with extensive gingivitis that ruined their teeth. Mistakes in dental care like poorly done fillings, misalignment after jaw surgery, or losing baby teeth too early can also cause a crooked smile.

Understanding and diagnosing if a dental accident has caused crooked teeth can lead to easier teeth correction.

Tongue Thrust

A lesser known cause of crooked teeth is tongue thrust, also known as immature or reverse swallowing. In small children, it’s a completely normal practice that they typically outgrow by the age of 6.

However, if people don’t outgrow tongue thrust, it can wreak havoc on their teeth. Because of the pressure exerted during swallowing, it can push and pull teeth in different directions. It’s important for dentists to be aware of tongue thrust because it needs to be diagnosed and corrected before somebody pursues orthodontic work.

Tongue thrust is present in 60 to 80 percent of all orthodontic patients and if left undiagnosed and treated, can cost patients time, money and not fix the problem.

Diagnosing and treatment for Tongue Thrust needs to be done by a trained Orofacial Myologist. At Boise Speech and Hearing Clinic, we have several trained Orofacial Myologists on staff and can assist patients with tongue thrust.

If you want to learn how to identify tongue thrust in your patients, download our guide “5 Steps to Identify Tongue Thrust.” It will guide you in determining when your patients may have tongue thrust.

Image by Jon Tyson

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